I’d like to suggest some basic principles for education in a good society:
1. Equality: we should all be regarded as being of equal worth, in terms of our political and economic rights, our access to educational opportunities and the respect due to us. Education should promote greater equality.
2. Universalism: we should understand our common humanity in order to put our differences in perspective. Values and rights need to apply to all to be effective. Education should be a global human right, provided on the same basis to all.
3. Democracy: we all have the right to be heard, individually and collectively and to play an equal part in creating our shared world. Education should develop the skills we need to bring about social change and help us understand the use and abuse of power, debate the world and use democratic methods to shape it.
4. Solidarity: we should work with each other for the common good. Education should develop and support our consideration and understanding of others and our ability to exercise and challenge power collectively.
5. Usefulness: we do things for a reason. Education should be really useful to us in meeting our individual and social needs.
6. Sustainability: we need to make the best use of the finite resources at our disposal and consider our impact on others, including future generations. Education should promote an understanding of the ways people, processes and resources are interconnected.
7. Tradition: we should value and share our common intellectual and cultural heritage. Education should offer us a good understanding of what is known and has been done and help us exercise our judgement in learning from our past to support the creation of new knowledge and insights.
8. Inquiry: we should be capable of questioning the way things are and exercise judgement based on evidence. Education should encourage curiosity and rationalism and develop us as critical and questioning learners.
9. Liberation: we should be free to shape our own lives and consider different ways of living and doing things. Education should empower and emancipate us.
10. Transformation: we should understand and be open to change, in the world and in ourselves. Education should promote the possibility of social and personal transformation and creativity and develop our understanding of historical change and the development of ideas.
What sort of changes would we want to make to our education system if we adopted these principles?