In their book "Education for Citizenship", Jo Cairns, Roy Gardner and Denis Lawton give us a guide about an innovative educational system. They talk how most of schools shown little interest in children's rights in the past. All the time we hear many people talking about human rights.
But how many times these rights are respected? And the question that I always do, how many schools around the world have in their academic curriculums subjects such as leadership, human rights, global citizenship, social justice, something that can improve, enabling students to wake up the desire to undertake projects that benefit their communities.
Nowdays many schools teach only subjects that in many cases do not have real weight in the development of attitudes and aptitudes of students. In this area countries like England, Canada, United States and Australia take the lead in this new model of education.
What is it the most important? Having deep academic knowledge, strong technical skills, great imagination, creativity or have degrees from the world-class universities if all these talents, skills, attributes are used to do harm. They are used to destroy rather than build, to disintegrate rather than integrate, to misinform rather than inform.
New Way of Thinking
It is not difficult to find “educators” that do not offer their students the best of them. They keep part of their knowledge only for them. They do not want to share what they call “privileged information”. "I can't facilitate you that information because for me you are a future rival" introducing their students to a new world where only the most powerful and selfish can succeed and as a result the wave of negative thoughts and attitudes led many students to learn very well the lesson: "If I want to climb rapidly and be the best I have to be selfish, I do not have to share my knowledge with anyone, that is only for me".
Many of them have the vague idea that will reach the sky with their hands but unfortunately they never end realizing, and when they do, it's too late. They were engulfed in a world of darkness, selfishness, loneliness, intrigue. Those young people who are now "professionals" lack of safety, value, suspicious even of his own shadow!!!
Universities like Harvard, Georgetown, Miami, Lancaster just to name a few, have been offering for many years master degrees in leadership, showing us the huge interest in this area. Latin America, Africa, Asia emphasize more and more on these kind of programs in order to find a new generation of young leaders who can bring fresh ideas to route these regions towards a better future.
I want to include a small fragment for describing in depth, how the teaching of citizenship can affect people's personality, in other words, how it could help taking out the human part of each and every one of us.
The prefatory page to the Citizenship Order of 1999 says:
"Citizenship gives pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding to play an effective role in society at local, national and international levels. It helps them to become informed, thoughtful and responsible citizens who are aware of their duties and rights. It promotes their spiritual, moral and cultural development, making them more self-confident and responsible both in and beyond the classroom. It encourages pupils to play a helpful part in the lives of their schools, neighbourhoods, communities and the wider world. It also teaches them about our economy and democratic institutions and values; encourages respect for different national, religious and ethnic identities; and develops pupils' ability to reflect on issues and take part in discussions."
Times have changed, technology is advancing at a rapid pace creating it that new generations have more curiosity, have more opportunities in societies where taboo subjects are re-employed by those that are of great importance for the intellectual enrichment of our youth. We must put greater emphasis on building strong leaders in classrooms and communities.
I believe that only cultivating love, peace, happiness, kindness and social responsibility in our children; we will start building a new kind of tolerance with the different religions, viewpoints, ideas we will find along our paths and we will able to fight against the major difficulties in which we live.
If we want to avoid wars and decrease rates of violence; we necessarily have to do something today, here and now.