Education is much more than an entry to the job market. It has the power to shape a sustainable future and better world.
Education policies should promote peace, mutual respect and environmental care.
I call on world leaders and all involved with education to join this initiative and fulfil the promise to make quality education available to all children, young people and adults. Together, we can empower individuals to transform our world.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, September 2012
I don’t see governments and international organizations paying sufficient attention to this huge transformation that is coming. And we need to make sure that when we talk about education, when we talk about skills, when we talk about our policies, that we take into account not only what is happening today but what we now can foresee will happen, and will happen quite soon in the years to come.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, September 2017
Chair and Opening words by H.E. Ms. Pilar Saborio de Rocafort, permanent mission of Costa Rica to Austria
Peace does not come by itself. Peaceful behaviour is learned and something to strive towards every day. Compassion is a key component in creating peace.
People need civic skills to participate and develop a sense of identity and belonging. This helps to develop a sense of responsibility towards the world that surrounds us.
Civic education is about strengthening the feeling inside oneself that “I am part of the whole. I am not only affected by my surroundings, but I can have an effect too”. We can be the co-creators of the world around us.
Civic Education should also include learning skills for conflict resolution (nonviolent).
Gilberto A. Duarte Santos introduced a recently developed Educational program from UNODC: E4J –Education for Justice”:
Adopted at the conclusion of the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Doha Declaration highlights the importance of education as a tool to prevent crime and corruption. It emphasizes that education for children and youth is fundamental in promoting a culture that supports the rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice.
In support of this, the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative – under the Global Program for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration – has been developed to create and disseminate education materials in UNODC mandated areas of crime prevention and criminal justice across the primary, secondary and tertiary education levels. Online tools and academic resources will be made available free of charge, while workshops, conferences and symposia will be organized for teachers and academics to learn and exchange ideas and research.
Ms. Izabella GORCZYCA, Director of NO BELL school in Poland. NO BELL won the EDUMISSION Award 2017 as a most innovative school.
Dir. Izabella Gorczyca, explained that technology has developed very quickly during the last century, but while we are developing intellectually, emotional development is lagging behind. This is as true for adults as it is for children.
The desire at NO BELL has been to come up with a way of teaching that encourages the development of personality, social behaviour and everything that encompasses “emotional intelligence”.
Teachers work diligently to provide creative ways of learning, studying, and researching. Much of the decision-making responsibility is given to the children and young people.
No Bell Schools, Konstancin-Jeziorna, Poland
Investing in relationships with students pays off. The awareness that students must
learn the difficult art of making choices calls for a change in teaching methods and in the ways in which we assess our students. Only if these elements change can we create a pupil-
friendly educational space.
Even though we have had this realization, the question that continues to come up is: how do we start? Our answer is by withdrawing power from the teachers and transferring power to students. We do this by giving up our tools of institutional control and domination over our pupils and treating them as independent subjects, opening up to their needs and expectations.
“Stay with us and you will see that withdrawing from power does make a lot of sense”.
Ms. Zita Kiedler has been teaching middle school students for 6 years. She informed the participants about her experience in teaching the subject “Happiness”, which we were all very excited to hear. “Schulfach Glück” is a subject that promotes life skills and happiness. Schools need space for character education and teamwork. Through this subject, adolescents are supported in creating an active and self-reliant life. The concept is about experiencing joy through living and also through one’s performance, overcoming and understanding challenges and experiencing the unity between mind and body. Resilience, self-confidence, creativity and reliability are part of the curriculum. The different methods create key-experiences that can trigger personal growth and self-awareness.
Dr. Maria Riehl took us back to the origin- the family. She reminded the audience that we did not create ourselves- in contrary are coming from two origins – our parents. We are all created beings. None of us created ourselves.
She also commented on the fact that, contrary to animals who need to be self-sufficient from the time of birth, every human being is born completely helpless. They are completely dependent on a caregiver, on a family to care for them.
As a grandmother, Dr. Riehl described the huge impact that everyday life in the family has for a child especially with siblings growing up together.
She mentioned four realms of love that can be learned in a family starting with the love of a helpless child towards their parent, and then the precious love among siblings, then growing to the love among partners and finally to the love of parents towards their children.
After the official part of the meeting, the discussions among participants continued for almost 2 hours over coffee.
Renate Amesbauer and Carolyn Handschin
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