Last month a conference on Just Governance For Human Security took place in Coax, Switzerland and Abroadship had a say in it by introducing ideas and practices for advancing Human Security through non-formal education.
The emergence of human security as a paradigm that not only further develops but also challenges the long ago established concept of national security, has been one of the most needed and significant ‘arrivals’ to the saturated with vulnerabilities world we are all part of. What is more, it has been an arrival to life itself.
On September 25th, 2015 countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. This United Nations initiative is part of a fifteen year agenda focused on the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals and their success. The new goals call for action from all countries to address ending poverty through building sustainable economic growth and addressing social needs without losing focus on climate change and environmental conservation.
For these goals to be reached, the UN seeks to have everyone play a role, whether government, civic, or private sector. The Pillars (Good Governance, Sustainability, Social Inclusion, Inclusive Economics, FoodSecurity, Healing Memory) are used as a base for identifying how the SDGs work together to create a holistic approach towards change.
We finally have pillars looking beyond military capabilities and state borders. Field glasses undeviatingly staring at us – the individuals. All those pillars and SDG goals are carriers of great contradictions – transparency, humility, heartache and grief, but most of all they carry hope. Hope that the directions are set and they are very likely to take us someplace beautiful just by deciding to step forward.
There is a field within the global goals that encompasses all of the pillars and is believed to carry the greatest potential of helping us reach faster each and every one of them. Education. ‘The way we live, what we value and how we are educated must be revised for us to transition into a paradigm of sustainability’. Only by cramming ourselves with knowledge, we are able to get rid of the cognitive biases, reach our fullest potential and accomplish something more than mere existence during our short stay on Earth. The access to education influences our actions both individually and collectively, and allows us to live authentically – a right every human being should be entitled to.
Indeed, knowledge is a stepping stone not just for fighting injustice, corruption, ignorance and inequality. It is ingrained in every single aspect of life even if we are not able to recognise its influence straight away. Take agriculture, for instance. Farmers who are educated implement new practices and technologies leading to far better production, which eradicates or at least reduces hunger. This single example also relates to the pillar of Food Security, which is on its way of tackling another world plague.
Here at Abroadship we believe we play a very special role at advancing human security through the provision of knowledge to youngsters across Europe and hopefully beyond in the future. Our projects enable youth to practically engage through workshops and interactive games with the issues we face today and become inspired to make the first steps of tackling them. We do believe in the bottom-up approach. The little-big change-makers around us have deprived us of any other choice.
The initially set goal of achieving equitable and inclusive access to education refers not only to initial enrollment but also to regular attendance, retention, attainment, and achievement. An individual’s abilities to access, to participate in, and to succeed in school each represent distinct degrees of social inclusion (UNESCO, 2017). UNESCO suggests that inclusive education has a simple central message:
“Every learner matters and matters equally.” (UNESCO, 2017).
Government policies should enable education systems to support the diverse needs of their students. The role of education should be used as an effective vehicle for overcoming marginalization and enhancing inclusion instead of as a means of perpetuating disparities (UNESCO, 2017). Integrating the principles of equity and inclusion into education policy means the following:
“Building a common understanding that more inclusive and equitable education systems have the potential to promote gender equality, reduce inequalities, develop teacher and system capabilities, and encourage supportive learning environments.These various efforts will, in turn, contribute to overall improvements in educational quality” (UNESCO, 2017).
However, instituting equitable and inclusive education policy is not a simple task. It requires engaging other sectors, such as health, social welfare and child protection services, to ensure a common administrative and legislative framework for inclusive and equitable education. Thus, under Target 4.C, The United Nations aims to improve the capabilities of schools by substantially increasing the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States by 2030 (UNDESA, 2017).
The achievement of SDG 4 calls for a comprehensive analysis of the education system as well as of other public service sectors to ensure all children, adolescents, and youth have an equal opportunity to learn and successfully transition into the workforce.