“For us time is for people, and not people for time!” emphasises Parfait from Cameroon in one of our course live sessions. The space in which he finds himself is a special one: He is connected to his peers and course instructors via videoconferencing aboard a bus. As unexpected as this situation may have appeared for some at first sight, it surely also revealed a new normalcy of lifelong learning: higher education and continuing formation can take place at any time and even under adverse circumstances. Making good use of time, not wanting to miss any of the precious moments and opportunities to learn together with people of different regions, even when separated by thousands of kilometres, and above all, remaining loyal to the objectives of developing one’s own competencies and skills no matter the hindrances that may occur, are some of the lessons this story can teach us.
On the one hand, we realise, in a very concrete manner, how privileged certain educational situations are with high-speed internet connections, well-equipped workstations and specialised (e-)library resources, and, conversely, how the absence of these conditions can hamper a natural learning progression. It poses the question of access to quality education afresh and in a very poignant way: Whose is quality education?
On the other hand, we cannot but recognise the remarkable resilience and ingenuity of people in finding creative solutions to integrate their aspirations for continuing formation in their respective life situations. Quality education would then not be exclusively bound to a defined location and set of material infrastructure, even though these remain desirable goals from the ethical perspective of educational access and equity. Therefore, learning on the bus – beyond all romanticising ideas which need to be avoided – may also be seen as a metaphor and reminder that transformative educational experiences, which involve the whole person, have to lead us out of our comfort zones and into the openness of travelling through new real and intellectual landscapes by encountering other people and building together with them new bridges of understanding.
The Globethics Academy courses endeavour to offer this experience: quality education by an accredited online provider in a unique international and values-driven learning environment.
Amélé Adamavi-Aho Ekué
Photo credit: MOHAMED OSAMA on Unsplash.