This document constitutes a contribution of the working group on Popular Education and Folkbildning to ICAE’s strategic seminar. Analyzing the EFA process by 2015 we have asked ourselves about the contribution that ICAE could also make as the aim is not to expand goals or objectives but to ask ourselves why have the commitments agreed failed or are delayed. The idea is to continue contributing with reflections where it is clear that we want education for life and not for the market, for people and not for things, for being and not for having.
This is a brief reflection on the contribution that Popular Education and Folkbildning can do, alongside other renewed trends, in the struggle for ideas and for a good living. The important thing is that ICAE, along with its networks and sister networks, is involved in other processes such as the World Social Forum and the World Education Forum, and also contributes to the broader social movement for another world and another education.
We also wanted to analyze what is happening with Adult Education, and with this purpose we have made a summary (with the support of the Secretariat of ICAE) of the reports that were submitted by various countries to the UNESCO (GRALE) and that allow us to have an idea of their results.
From these two perspectives, then, we will develop the proposals to enrich discussions within ICAE.
Brief reflection on the context and its impact on education
In various documents of ICAE and its members it has been reaffirmed that we are in a world in crisis, and we witness the economic, political, social and environmental impacts of the crisis of financial capitalism in its neoliberal phase. What is outrageous is that this generates a larger gap between the rich and the poor, deepening the expropriation of the human being as individual and the achievements made in the struggles for emancipation of the last two centuries
The environmental crisis is exacerbated due to the expansion of capital and the indiscriminate use of resources at the expense of human life and the planet, altering its sustainability.
These crises are accompanied by the reversal of values, the market, competition; accumulation rules life, instead of the people and the earth, and justice, dignity, solidarity, the common good, that are horizons of a new humanity, are far away. It is rightly said that we face a crisis of civilization.
According to Juan Martin Velasco, “crisis of civilization” means the failure or exhaustion of the system that made of scientific and technical progress and economic growth the means to meet the challenges and realize the ideals of humanity. Throughout the twentieth century, the gap between the development of these three pillars of modern civilization and the lack of attention to the values capable of giving sense to techno-scientific progress has been reported, with the consequent danger that this unilateral progress goes against its promoters.
In this framework, there are consequences for education that, to respond to the alleged progress, develops broadly into a technocratic education, an education that seeks to link itself to the neoliberal market economy to prepare the population as human capital for the jobs the economy needs.
Other aspects such as the increase of the policies of cuts and the new privatization models accompany these perspectives that are so harmful to people, to education itself, and to our countries.
* The ICAE working commission on Popular Education and Folkbildning is formed by: Nélida Céspedes (ICAE VP for the Latin American Region), André Schlaefli (ICAE VP for the European Region) and Sturla Bjerkaker (ICAE Treasurer).
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