|A Sense of Belonging - Guidelines for Values for the Humanistic and International Dimension of Education (CIDREE - UNESCO, 1983, 31 p.)|
A number of major trends and developments in society require that more careful attention be given to the international and humanistic dimensions of education systems. For example:
· technological developments and the processing, storing, accessing and transmission of information of all kinds continually present new possibilities and challenges, many of which impact on the nature of relationships at both a personal and a societal level.
· the information revolution that has taken place creates a danger that Jerome Bruner describes as the shift from mind and meaning to computers and information8 where the concept of meaning is replaced by the concept of computability.
8 BRUNER J Acts of Meaning Harvard 1990
· modern media present a disconnected, fragmented and unmediated view of the world with the potential to diminish the individuals sense of purpose, meaning and interconnectedness.
· ecological issues are reaching critical stages. Developments in bio technology, resource consumption and sustainability present challenges of enormous proportions.
· an overall decline in religious faith has led to a more fragmented quest for spiritual fulfillment.
· individuals beliefs and understandings of themselves and others from similar and different cultural backgrounds are built on a wide and undifferentiated range of information and experiences. This can lead to misguided and narrow views of individuals and groups in society, as well as limiting the opportunities available to some.
· industrial restructuring in response to the economic need to seek world rather than local or national markets and its impact on employment patterns have given rise to wide scale social distress and anxiety.
· associated with this, the concepts of work and employment are now seen in a much wider frame than before, creating more flexible patterns of work but often doing nothing to reduce the exploitation of certain groups of workers.
· the participation and contribution of women in work and the concept of equal opportunities has had a significant effect on social thinking and policy.
· relationships within families are more complex than hitherto and a cluster of interpersonal and psychological factors associated with the nature of family groups have become commonplace.
· pluralism, ethnic and cultural, while always present in any society, are growing realities that impact increasingly on the lives of young people.
· social and economic disadvantage is a continuing reality for many ethnic and cultural groups. The unequal distribution of economic wealth continues to exacerbate issues of disadvantage.
· national boundaries are changing and reappearing along different lines.
While there is generally an encouragement to look outward beyond national borders there are also darker signs of cultural elitism that could damage the ideal of international peace and understanding.