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A Living Tradition​​Part 2: The New Reality of the World, Section 2

Education

Availability [25]
  1. There has been remarkable progress in education over the past thirty years. The number of children and adolescents who were out of school has fallen by half since 2000.
  2. The greatest progress has been achieved in gender parity.
  3. Yet, there are still fifty-eight million children out of school globally and around one hundred million children who do not complete primary education.
  4. Inequality in education has increased, with the poorest and most disadvantaged shouldering the heaviest burden. In many countries, there are widening gaps in achievement and opportunity.
  5. Conflict remains a steep barrier, with a high and growing proportion of out-of-school children living in war zones.

Exercise 13. For discernment:

In your region of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
Technology [26]
  1. In many parts of the world, we have already seen enormous changes in our schools. Students have access to information without ever leaving their classrooms. They can actively think about information, make choices, manipulate or display information.
  2. Through the use of the Internet they can access a comprehensive resource to conduct research more easily than they would with books and paper resources. Learners are more interested in, focused on, and excited about the subjects they are studying.
  3. Students more easily are able to get direct, individualized instruction and learn at a pace that is attuned to their development. With flipped classrooms [27] ready access to curricular materials and blended and online models of education, there are now challenging and interesting alternatives to the “bricks and mortar” models of education that Jesuit schools historically helped to shape and in which most Jesuit schools stand today.
  4. Technological advances also present some significant challenges for educators. Along with the possibility of a digital divide that favors the wealthy over the poor, technology can hinder the mission of Jesuit schools to combat superficiality. In 2010, Father Adolfo Nicolas wrote:
  5. “When one can access so much information so quickly and so painlessly…the laborious, painstaking work of serious, critical thinking often gets short-circuited.” The same holds true, Father Nicholas observes, when it comes to human encounters mediated by technology. Relationships risk becoming superficial when we evacuate from authentic human interactions “the hard work of encounter or, if need be, confrontation and then reconciliation…” [28]

Exercise 14. For discernment:

In your region of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
Value of an Education
  1. Over the past thirty years we have seen a number of developments in the value of an education.
A Fundamental Human Right
  1. On the positive side, there is the growing global recognition of education as a fundamental human right [29].
  2. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has reaffirmed that a humanistic and holistic vision of education is a fundamental human right and essential to personal and socio-economic development.
  3. UNESCO affirms that in addition to the acquisition of basic knowledge and cognitive skills, the content of learning must promote:
    1. Problem solving and creative thinking;
    2. Understanding and respect for human rights;
    3. Inclusion and equity;
    4. Cultural diversity;
    5. A desire and capacity for lifelong learning and learning to live together.
  4. In the past fifteen years, efforts across the globe have ensured significant progress in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: to increase participation in education, ensure equity of access, and transform social structures to enhance human dignity.
A Marketed Commodity
  1. More cautionary, many schools have experienced the impact of market-oriented reforms, which can reduce the richness and dignity of the educational enterprise to data points on standardized assessments.
  2. This competitive climate encourages an exaggerated individualism that does not reward the process of growth of each student but compares students with each other.
  3. Parents become consumers and marketing concerns overshadow substantive values.
  4. It is costly to compete effectively in this type of marketplace; operating costs rise, fees and tuition increase, and access decreases.

Exercise 15. For discernment:

In your region of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?