From Subjects to Citizens, the Great Transition. Education for Citizenship

Monday, February 20, 2012

Until not long ago humanity had always been dominated and controlled by the absolute power of males. And a very few men carried the reins of our common destiny in their hands.

Confined both territorially and intellectually, human beings have lived in subjugation, to the point of having to sacrifice their own lives for the policies of those in power. And without opposition.

In 1945, at the end of a horrendous war in which the most abominable methods of extermination were used, the United Nations –the “We, the Peoples…”- were founded, as was a few months later UNESCO, whose Constitution sets forth the “democratic principles” –justice, equal dignity, liberty and solidarity- that should guide all governments, and underscores that education is essential in forming “free and responsible” people. Educated people, that is, ones who act upon their own ideas, and not upon the dictates of others, and who are not bound or frightened by dogmas, threats or blind obedience…

For that reason, as is the case in countries with the highest quality education, it was so important that Education for Citizenship had been implemented in Spain, transversally. Along with parents, a vast majority of teachers –in general excellent, and truly devoted- were quite happy to contribute to ensuring their students’ “freedom and responsibility”, while counteracting standardization, herd mentality and submission.

But there is now a plan to eliminate citizenship and return to subjugation. With an unfortunate sweep of the pen we will be returned to the condition of subjects, instead of attempting to achieve the status of full citizens.

If we don’t react, we will have taken a step backwards, and we will then be forced to devote our time to obsessively observing the fluctuations of the risk premium (fascinating!), the European summits and sports events… As passive spectators…

Let’s react. Let’s get involved. Education for Citizenship is essential for the change that, in any case, is needed in our educational system, whatever the composition of the government.

Do they really want us to “know the values of Western civilization”, when we have replaced them with the values of the stock market? All civilizations and cultures have aspects that merit being preserved and transmitted.

We are not citizens of the “West””. We are citizens of the world. We are citizens and not subjects.