Aaron Benavot, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report, examines the shortcomings of education systems and points out that achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Commonwealth is heavily dependant on a new approach to learning.
Going to school has always been seen as something that helps us acquire knowledge and skills for work; something that helps us earn a decent wage, and provide for ourselves and our families. But if education systems are designed with only economic purposes in mind then we are doing ourselves, our communities and our planet a disservice.
As we know, it is often the most educated nations that are coughing out the most carbon emissions. It is also no secret that elitist school systems in some contexts are contributing to inequalities. In addition, education systems often preserve one dominant language in schools, rather than recognising cultural and linguistic diversity. In doing so, they can dampen down the aspirations of ethnic or linguistic minorities, and inadvertently destroy traditional or indigenous knowledge systems. Textbook content can reinforce stereotypes and exacerbate ethnic tensions, resulting in intolerance, discrimination and political grievances.
Combined with the knowledge that our planet is suffering the way it is largely due to individual and collective actions, these examples show education can undermine our collective ambitions. Clearly this is a time for rethinking its purposes, contents and design…
Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report