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close this bookLearning: The Treasure Within (UNESCO, 1996, 48 p.)
close this folderPART THREE: DIRECTIONS
View the documentFrom basic education to university
View the documentTeachers in search of new perspectives
View the documentChoices for educational: the political factor
View the documentInternational co-operation: educating the global village

From basic education to university

· A requirement valid for all countries, albeit in various forms and with different types of content - the strengthening of basic education: hence the emphasis on primary education and its traditional basic programmes - reading, writing, arithmetic - but also on the ability to express oneself in a language that lends itself to dialogue and understanding.

· The need, which will be still greater tomorrow, for receptivity to science and the world of science, which opens the door to the twenty-first century and its scientific and technological upheavals.

· The adaptation of basic education to specific contexts, the most deprived countries as well as the most deprived section of the population, starting out with the facts of everyday life, which affords opportunities for understanding natural phenomena and for different forms of socialization.

· The pressing needs of literacy work and basic education for adults are to be kept in mind.

· In all cases, emphasis is to be placed on pupil-teacher relations, since the most advanced technologies can be no more than a back-up to the relationship (transmission, dialogue and confrontation) between teacher and pupil.

· Secondary education must be rethought in this general context of learning throughout life. The key principle is to arrange for a variety of individual paths through schooling, without ever closing the door on the possibility of a subsequent return to the education system.

· Debates on selection and guidance would be greatly clarified if this principle were fully applied. Everyone would then feel that whatever the choices made or the courses followed in adolescence, no doors would ever be closed in the future, including the doors of the school itself. Equality of opportunity would then mean what it says.

· Universities should be central to the higher level of the system, even if, as is the case in many countries, there are other, non-university establishments of higher education.

· Universities would have vested in them four key functions:

1. To prepare students for research and teaching.
2. To provide highly specialized training courses adapted to the needs of economic and social life.
3. To be open to all, so as to cater for the many aspects of lifelong education in the widest sense.
4. International co-operation.

· The universities should also be able to speak out on ethical and social problems as entirely independent and fully responsible institutions exercising a kind of intellectual authority that society needs to help it to reflect, understand and act.

· The diversity of secondary schooling and the possibilities afforded by universities should provide a valid answer to the challenges of mass education by dispelling the obsession with a one-and-only educational 'king's highway'. Combined with more widespread application of the practice of alternating periods of education with periods of work, these approaches can provide effective tools for fighting against school failure. The extension of learning throughout life will require consideration of new procedures for certification that take account of acquired competences.