Should We Sue the School System?

According to Jacques Delors (1996), the education contains a treasure within, so for the XXI Century it had to be based on 4 pillars: learning to do, learning to know, learning to be and learning to live together. We’ll focus on 2 of them: Learning to be, because education should include learning about Human Rights and Values as an appropriate means to contribute to the overall development of the person, so that he/she reaches his/her fullness. Learning to live together, because by the responsible participation of each person, in the exercise of their rights and duties, it is to build a more ethical and fair society.

However, when we analyze the prevailing educational model in 2016, we see that its characteristics do not conform to the above, since it basically lies in enclosing in a class a group of children of the same age, to develop exactly the same activities, listening to a teacher about what he knows rather than what might of interest to them, and they need to learn in order to be, and to live together in society.

That is, it seems that our school systems try to shape the students to a particular model of coexistence; and not to a harmonious cohabitation between a variety of people of various ages and skills, developing personal paths, and working together to help each other and as a group. The opposite would be an Inclusive Educational Model, which once again, and after the failure of the Millennium Development Goals 2000-2015 (the 2nd of the 8 goals was to achieve Universal Primary Education), it is referred to, in the 4th of the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, consisting of: “Ensuring an inclusive, equitable, quality education and promote learning opportunities throughout life for all”.

On the other hand, we live in a culture of competitiveness. This does not have to be necessarily negative, but we must be aware that competitiveness has the potential to become a destructive force. If we think of the consequences of this in relation to the human spirit, we can conclude that this negative version doesn’t require empathy (a Human Value against Violence) with the needs or emotions of others. Consequently we measure people with a scale of results, and not from a scale of values. As we do not think for the full and complete development of our children, we do not think long-term, so we set very specific goals, never adaptable to the needs of an overall learning and development. In fact, the socio-emotional dimension of the person is a crucial factor to consider in a comprehensive education system oriented to the overall development of the students. However, competition and academic performance is prioritized. Therefore in 2016, our schools maintain a dynamic in which all teaching activities are prepared in response to programming protocols, where the first that counts is the definition of a handful of objectives to be considered as mere quantitative indicators.

One of the negative consequences for not considering the education of all human dimensions – intellectual, social, emotional, affective, moral and spiritual – is found in the manifestations of patterns of anti-social and aggressive behavior that influence human behavior. Excessive competition can generate exclusion, and this in turn, violence; specifically a type of sectarian violence spreading worldwide today also generating a great conceptual confusion about personal identity.

Although proposals have been made to try to remedy these situations, almost all have been limited to change aspects affecting only academics. We can mention ideas to void the assessments, cancel any type of homework, or to adjust the level of demand for the entire class to avoid comparisons. Despite this, the current social dynamics and the inclusion of the information and communications technology (ICT), make children continue to compete, now exclusively focused on personal comparisons that can lead to bullying and cyberbullying behaviors. In short, we have a school system clinging to an outdated structure that has shown obvious limitations, and growing problems for the development of a Global Humanized Citizenship.

Faced with this situation, and facing no opposition from the institutions who have spent years knowing these problems without putting solution, rapper Prince EA gets to sue the school system. A video we encourage you to watch in classrooms and collect the reactions of the students (although it may have consequences … they may feel the same way, but please let us know what happens).

In sum, the current education system reproduces patterns of social disadvantage, some of which have been accentuated since the incorporation of new technologies in our lives, (the same rapper denounced the loss of the “Human Touch”) so we understand necessary to change the basis thereof; as well as the teacher training, to make more flexible educational proposals that allow the inclusion of continuing education in human values, to introduce dynamics that foster cooperation and teamwork, to use methodologies focused on the overall development of the person … All this, from a principle: to have the Best Interest of the Child taken as a primary consideration. Not doing so, would incur the violation of children’s rights, in addition to the disobedience of the International Convention on the Rights of the Childlegally binding on States that have ratified… Should we then sue the school system?

Author: Dr. Gonzalo Torquemada

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