“Education, A Pathway to Systemic Change in our Communities” (Pdf) is the title of a document circulated by the AIC as part of their preparation for the 2013 International Assembly. It was written by Fr. Eli Chavez , CM who is currently a member of the International Curia of the Congregation of the Mission in Rome.
“Throughout history, education has been predominantly understood and practiced in a way that is obviously very vertical. The person being educated is a receptacle for knowledge, a sort of “recipient” where we “deposit” a piece of knowledge; the teacher is the one who speaks, knows and chooses the subjects to be covered. The teacher imposes the rules, the objectives and his or her conception of the world upon the pupil. The role of the person being educated is to accept everything passively, to adapt themselves to an established order which has been created through a process that eliminates creativity and critical thinking and prohibits dialogue. It’s a form of education which runs from “top to bottom”, which imposes or reproduces the dominant social, economic and cultural model and establishes an authoritarian relationship of domination.
Free education is a type of education which respects the liberty, autonomy and knowledge of the people being educated. This form of education aims to be more humane, the pupil is not the object but the subject of the educational process. The human being can only truly be understood if we put him or her in a historical context, in a concrete reality.
The fundamental objective of education is the thoughtful organisation of knowledge. Providing people with the means that allow them to liberate themselves with a true vision of reality means they can develop a critical mind when faced with real life situations. Education needs to lead the person to discover and become aware of his or her personal reality and historical background, as well as to have a critical opinion on this reality and the power to transform it.
A new pedagogical method establishing dialogue, reciprocity, communion and liberation is currently necessary:
Education as a liberating process rests on the concept of the human being in his or her historical context. The human being doesn’t just evolve in the world, but with it, through reflection and action. The human being must understand the world; he or she must act so as to transform it, to make it more humane and free. One must understand the meaning.”
In practical terms, we invite you to work on education as a reciprocal change:
●● Identify and value the competencies and potential of everyone.
●● Encourage interdependence: “You have something that I need, perhaps I have something that can help you”.
●● Promote co-creativity: “If we focus our competencies and capabilities, we can commit to building a fairer world”.
To achieve this, it will be necessary to strengthen AIC training:
1. Spiritual, ethical and Vincentian.
2. In techniques, particularly in communication and visibility.
The document is available in multiple languages in the download section of their website.