Education to responsibility and world citizenship

Awakening to the major crisis in our globalized world and to the major challenges we must face—issues of humanity-biosphere interdependences, governance, the œconomy, global community—calls for a systemic change, a “change of paradigm.”

For Edgar Morin, all global humankind’s crises are also “cognitive crises” calling our system of knowledge into question (2011, La Voie. Pour l’avenir de l’humanité). This brings us to the crucial mission of education, which is to explore this new conceptual “paradigm,” and this consists in offering the tools to understand and assume our own responsibility within our community of destiny. A mission to teach autonomy and critical thinking, educate citizens to trust in the value of citizen action, fuel their desire to act, make them to assume their responsibilities, therefore to act at every level, from the local to the global.

Current education, however, does not in any way prepare for these responsibilities because it increases partitioning when we need to learn how to override it— partitioning between fields of knowledge, between knowledge and action, the local and the global, the objectivity claimed by science and ethical commitment, between humankind and the ecosystems.

This is the revolution in education to which we can and must contribute. Experience has proven that education rooted in a specific territory that becomes the door to understanding the world and invites to connect thinking and commitment makes it possible to override all of this partitioning. This revolution is the condition for building awareness of world citizenship, for developing the sense of responsibilities, for reconsidering humankind’s integration in the whole of the biosphere, for being able, through very concrete initiatives, to make the spirit of cooperation prevail over that of competition, and this way, to find the way of the “œconomy.”

The teacher’s task is enormous. Mission impossible? Edgar Morin reminds us that the first educational truth formulated by Plato was that “to teach, you need Eros.”

What concepts, approaches, and methods, what innovative educational initiatives and projects do we need for education to responsibility and world citizenship?

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