Social Change Starts with Education
With Mandela Month drawing to a close, the global focus is on social change and community upliftment. With this in mind, it is becoming more and more important for educational institutions to help their learners contribute to the future of society by teaching them values needed for social change.
Purpose of Schools
The purpose of schools is changing. Traditionally, schools have been places where the youth gain knowledge; advances in technology now means that students have more access to knowledge than ever before. With this changing landscape, schools need to focus on the social impact that their students, as future citizens, will have on the world. In order to prepare students to be active and model citizens, schools need to facilitate opportunities for learners to engage with the real challenges facing our society.
Of course, the development of skills, like learning additional languages, technology, cross-cultural understanding, and social-emotional awareness, are essential when preparing the youth for the ‘real world’. However, all of these skills can be incorporated into a classroom environment where lessons focus around the challenges of living in a global society in the modern age. Two birds, one stone.
The Educational Eco-system
Schools form only a small part of the educational eco-system. Bringing the outside world into the school, and vice versa, is extremely valuable. Merging school and the ‘real world’ prepares students for the future in a way that the traditional classroom experience can’t. This approach, as well as service learning, is slowly becoming a well-used tool in some schools. This approach to education allows students to become aware of how they can build and work within communities.
Making the world a better place to live in for everyone is no easy task. This means the solution isn’t easy either. If we want more model citizens, we have to guide them there. What better stage of a person’s development is there than school? Yet, the traditional schooling system still solely focuses on our future citizens acquiring knowledge – not on fostering the kind of values that we, as a society, need to achieve real social change.