GENEVA (8 December 2017) – Education experts meeting at the United Nations in Geneva have agreed on a framework aimed at reforming school systems around the world, based on balanced and inclusive education.
"The unity and diversity of human beings must be recognized in education," said Edgar Morin, French philosopher and sociologist. The UNESCO Chair of Complex Thought, who is considered the founder of the field of transdisciplinarity, said education had so far failed students in teaching them to understand their own humanity and to cope with uncertainty.
Morin called for greater links between disciplines in education and added that despite increased communication tools such as the Internet, education had not made progress in teaching students to understand other cultures.
Morin was speaking at the Palais des Nations a day after the Global North Round Table Discussion on Balanced and Inclusive Education, the last of a series of Regional Consultation Meetings of 2017 hosted by The Education Relief Foundation (ERF) and Globethics.net in cooperation with the University of Geneva.
Abdeljalil Akkari a faculty member of the Psychology and Sciences of Education and Research Team in International and Comparative Education at the University of Geneva, said "Many people don't see school as for them and by them. ERF's importance is in asking what kind of impact education can have on communities in the north and the south."
The meetings brought together decision makers within governments, development partners, research institutions and civil society organizations.
President and founder of ERF, Shaikh Manssour Bin Mussallam, said "we must abandon the imperial industrial understanding of education as a one-size-fits-all approach."
He pointed to ERF's regional stakeholder meetings in Bangkok, Nigeria and Panama City throughout 2017 as revealing the need for an overhaul of education, saying, "We must look at each other's respective histories to unveil our historical and civilizational inter-indebtedness."
Policy briefs and reports produced after the regional meetings form the basis of the recommendations supported at the meeting in Geneva. The recommendations will be taken up by a Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG) at ERF, in collaboration with the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) and other partners, with a view to creating a Guide for a Code of Ethics on Balanced and Inclusive Education.
Referring to previous ERF meetings, Bin Mussallam said, "If ERF's 2017 regional stakeholder meetings have demonstrated anything, it is that models of education consistently taken as exemplary, such as the Scandinavian and Singaporean models -- commendable as they may be -- are not equipped to address the diversity and challenges facing the Global
South, nor to the growing interactions between the Global South and the Global North."
The ERF plans to convene a meeting of stakeholders in 2018, where it will present its guide to balanced and inclusive education.
The overall aim is to develop strategies for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
Endorsements of the framework include Ministries of Education in Malaysia and Uganda,
UNESCO IBE and the Union of University Social Responsibility for Latin America (URSULA).
The Education Relief Foundation
(ERF) is a tax-exempt not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation (NGO) registered in Geneva. It serves to develop and promote a new approach to education that emphasises the importance of balance and inclusivity in the curriculum offered to young people. Its work is based on four pillars: intraculturalism, transdisciplinarity, dialecticism, and contextuality.
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Dr. Najia Musolino