FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DES MOUVEMENTS DE L’ECOLE MODERNE PEDAGOGIE FREINET
Document for those who believe that education can change the world
Building a different world is possible starting with an education capable of changing things. To achieve this goal it is necessary to promote within the school system an education towards full and global citizenship within the scope of continuing education. ( Edgar Morin- Les 7 savoirs fondamentaux).
FIMEM's General Meeting convened in Dogbo, Benin by the XXXIst RIDEF « Educating towards citizenship for participatory democracy. Building another world is possible » emphasizes the fundamental role of education to change the world as Nelson Mandela, Malala, Edgar Morin remind us as well as UNESCO in the document on education for all (Dakar,2000).
The school education we are working towards must be public, inclusive, democratic, active and participatory, secular, cooperative and open to society at large.
Such school education is possible if governments commit themselves to guaranteeing :
- an education open to all ;
- decent school facilities ;
- sufficient resources for quality learning ;
- well-trained and focussed teachers ;
- not too large classes.
In hardly any of the 30 countries in which there are Freinet movements are these conditions met. More particularly policies are contrary to children's rights in states where :
- neoliberal policies widen the gap with a minority getting richer and richer and a majority of people getting poorer and poorer ;
- neocolonialism and the exploitation of resources prevent many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America from developing ;
- bogus democracy represses and sometimes kills any opposition from teachers and students who merely ask for the right to exercise their rights;
- no measures are taken against corruption ; war and social unrest are encouraged ;
- no participatory situations are created to favour dialogue with teachers and children ; excluding instead of inclusive methods are put forward ;
- funds for public schools are cut down and private schools favoured.
In our countries,it is the duty of each one of us committed to the defence of a quality school education and children's rights to denounce the political choices going in a differnet way and to
try to change them.
For several years now the world has been going through a deep economic and financial crisis creating new forms of poverty with the complicity of conniving governments :
- 1 % of the world population owns
- 46%of the planet's riches ;
- 9 % owns 34 %;
- another 40 % (the middle class) owns 14 %;
- 50 % of the world population is left with only 6 % of the world's resources.
The world's future is at stake, the system is unsustainable. Neoliberalism is getting more and more competitive and aggressive, undermining the bases of social support. Everything is gradually being privatized : water, health, education. The arms trade is one of the world's main markets. One F35 plane bought for Defence costs as much as the management of a small hospital in Benin for 219 years.
This reality shaped by neocolonialism leads mankind to certain destruction. Practising and defending participatory democracy is the only way to put an end to this absurd race.
Building democracythrough education is our only hope. The Freinet movement clearly asserts that it is only by educating children and young people to participatory democracy, commitment, common responsibility that this situation can be reversed and that a more human world can be built.
From the Door of No Return in Ouidah (Benin) where through centuries millions of slaves have been torn from their homelands to serve rich countries and never returned, in memory of their pains and struggles, we request all those who believe in a different world based on solidarity and justice for all to commit themselves, to promote a liberating education in their respective countries.
Only education can save the world.