Education Working Group Annex - Adopted by the 5th EL Congress in Berlin

Education Working Group Annex - Adopted by the 5th EL Congress in Berlin

Education Working Group
Education plays an important role for training citizens and consequently for the society’s collective consciousness.
Nowadays, the neo-liberal objective is to shape women and men interested only by themselves. Education is strongly utilitarian, subjected to free-market imperatives, and above all centred on skills allowing for a quick adaptation to new situations in a competitive economy.
While public education is getting poorer, not only in terms of budget but also in terms of content, schools for elite are being created. Students’ specific needs are not respected: class differences are getting bigger.
Institutions management is more and more following the rules of the new public management and market rules, rather than pedagogy, are becoming a priority. Private financing is accepted and this is a serious change: State is no longer the only one to finance the school institutions. Parents are asked to contribute to the costs and high school registration fees are increasing. As a consequence, some youth are giving up education or families have to get into debt. The right to education is no longer accessible to everybody.


The education politics we want
We demand compulsory education up to the age of 18 and we refuse subjection of education to the rules of neo-liberalism and markets. We demand that State budget is dedicated totally and solely to public education. We want free access to education for each and everyone, at all levels of training and education. We demand that the State dedicates 7% of the GDP to education and eliminate any private financing. This is a fundamental objective.
University and research have to be free from market pressures and from any external constraints. Only in that way can they respond to the needs of society.
We want a free access to all levels of education, to life long training for those who want it.


The education we want
For the EL, education and its emancipatory nature, its accessibility to everyone as well as its democratic characteristics is one of the essential battles.
We are in favour of a lay school subjected to no religious influence.
We want a public, free, democratic and high-level teaching for each and everyone. To meet the new challenges it is important to overcome the dichotomy between knowledge and know-how. Education has to prepare future citizens to become responsible of their life choices, showing solidarity in their involvement in society and respecting environment. While respecting each student’s autonomy, school has to develop the youth’s critical mind and to create a sense of community.
Nowadays, education for peace is essential.
School has to put down gender stereotypes as well as homophobia through an education for equality: a pedagogy which educates the youth to live together with reciprocal respect and the valorisation of cultural differences. Children’s and young migrants’ status must no be an obstacle to their immediate schooling.
We are in favour of alternatives to individualism and competitiveness and we share the principles of the “resistance pedagogy” which makes learning, research, and teaching a process resulting from cooperative work. We are in favour of a school that wants to become a democratic laboratory. The school institutions management, at all levels, has to be under the collective responsibility of all the actors: teachers, students, staff. For us, parents and students are not clients.
The institution’s whole staff has to benefit from working conditions including job and salary security, social benefits and the abolition of meritocracy.


Proposal
We are fighting and we call to fight for a public, free, democratic, high level and accessible to all education. We have to overcome a defensive attitude and denounce the commodification of education.
We propose that in 2017, on the occasion of an EL forum, there will be a day of reflection and mobilisation on education organised in collaboration with all the concerned forces.
School is the main instrument to fight against social inequalities. We cannot remain silent and inactive.