We are Charlie

12 people died yesterday in Paris, most of them illustrators and journalists. 12 people killed by two terrorists claiming they were avenging the Prophet Muhammad. 12 people that speak for our freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of thought.

Lincoln once said “if you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. Is it all about ignorance? Is it about their ignorance? Or about our own ignorance? Are these illiterate murderers the symbol of our failure to educate them?

The journalists that died were defending a simple truth: we can laugh at everything, at everyone. Do we really learn this at school? Are we brave enough when defending the core values of our democracies? Are we brave enough when we dissimulate the truth to sell more geographic atlases in a given region of the world? Are we brave enough when we let mobbing, racism and sexual harassment enter our classroom? Are we brave enough when we discuss how religion should be taught and not how democracy should be taught?


I write every week in this blog about the value of open education and innovative learning. Open education should enable knowledge and values to be shared massively. Innovative learning should be about giving anyone a chance to succeed in school and in life. We discuss endlessly about efficacy, cost effectiveness, adaptation to the job market. We don’t speak enough about simple things such as love, care and respect. How many MOOCs and OERs have been produced on democracy, free speech… and are really used? How many web skills are needed to succeed in life? And how many personal skills?

Education is only a promise that needs to be reaffirmed continuously with or without technology. Two terrorists that were brought up and went to school in France broke this promise with their bullets.

For them education is not the answer. For us it is THE answer, more than ever.

We are Charlie.

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