How can we reinvent education? Better said, how could we reinvent the world with education? A tremendous question raised by the best selling documentary “Demain” and a disappointing solution: Finland. Not that Finland is disappointing (see one of my past blog entry) but after nearly two hours of film talking about innovative solutions for the energy, the economy, the agriculture, the democracy, you could have expected something more than the so famous Finnish case. Being a reference for the OECD is not necessarily a guarantee of deep transformation. Democratic schools, escuelas nuevas, green schools… and hundreds of teachers that reinvent education every day out of passion and commitment could have been featured in the documentary. Tomorrow’s education is much more than giving more autonomy to principals and teachers. Education is a promise for tomorrow.
Years ago, I was asked by UNESCO to prepare a street chidren educator’s handbook. I asked whether UNESCO and the educators really needed one more manual that was likely to end up unused in the basement of ministries. What could it mean to educate street children? How come could street children engage into education when their lives were about daily survival.? If your main concern is what you will eat and where you will sleep the same evening, how can you prioritize education?
Learners require a vision of the future, not the immediate future but a long term perspective. The objective was then changed. We launched a project to give street children an understanding of the future so that they could understand what education could do for them and their future.
P.A.U. Education started working with street children educators designing a project entitled: the white book of our future. The idea was simple: enable street children to write and publish a book about their future. After 9 months of participatory work with street children in Mali, Honduras or Egypt, books were published. Children “with no name” were credited as “authors”. Invisible children gained recognition and a presence they never had until then. In Mali a law acknowledging their rights was passed.
Education is a promise of a better tomorrow but children needs to be guided to understand what tomorrow could mean for them. This is what innovation in education is about.
Tomorrow… Demain… Now!
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