This week we were assigned to comment on thoughts about education and educational rights as well as the historical legacy of the enlightenment philosophers.
I think one has the right to develop oneself to ones potentials. Living in a society where education is considered a right as well as a duty, I think education has two sides. The right to develop as a person as far as one wants to go, and as a member in society, to be able to contribute in ones social environment.
As we learn more we get a wider perspective and hopefully develop in a positive way. We are also able to rely more on our own beliefs and react on our own prior knowledge rather than having to rely on what others tell us to do.
Some of the ideas of the enlightenment philosophers developed to take an important role in our society and many of their ideas have taken some time to develop into practice. Many of the pedagogical ideas we use as innovative today actually date back a few hundred years. Other ideas, as Grundtvig´s Folk High School have developed into movements that are still up to date today. Some philosophers and educators serve as a link between old philosophers and the educational systems of today. Ellen Key´s thoughts on children and education, partly influenced from Rousseau through Emilé. She was known as an author, educator and feminist and she had a large impact on the thoughts of education of children mainly in Sweden. The idea of the child´s own development in focus moved on from Rousseau through Key into many pedagogical practices of this age and time. As other ideas from the time of enlightenment, they are the foundation we stand on today.
In the Finnish society education has become more and more obligatory. We talk about lifelong learning and adult education – this means that in almost all lines of work education is continuous. We have nine years of compulsory education and often 3-10 years of various educational programs after that. Then we have to keep up our skills and renew them as technology and society develop –this means either studying while working or taking time of for studying. For some people this has also been a strain – the trough of having to educate oneself trough life. But I think as attitudes change we will see education as a continuous process, not something you do in the beginning of your life and then “move on”.
The similarities behind all educational movements are of course education in one form or another, and that society offers people different ways to develop. The ways and motives might vary, and also the access to participate. The access to libraries and information is probably something that connects different educational systems – the access of information. Through internet the information and development of information is widely accessed and offers anyone to participate in the development contrary to before, where only some had the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas through books.
Education is a wide definition, everything from basic caretaking to rocket science. Education is everywhere where people are. Education and knowledge is a part of life and is continuously developing and it has to be passed on and developed further in social contexts – the only reason for someone to deny the access of education for someone is the fear of losing power.