Sunday, September 2, 2007

OpenEd: Right to education is not enough....

In your opinion, is the "right to education" a basic human right? Why or why not?
Yes, definitively. But it can't be considered separated from other human basics rights.
Right to education is basic and necessary to get effectively right to a job and another social-level rights.
But right to education can be obstaculized by poverty in some ways:
-poverty is linked to child labour. Education prevent children to be a source of incomes for a family
-education can be "expensive" in some other senses: culturally, a educated person may became rejected socially because her/his differences
-education may be expensive because aditional cost to support it.
And we can't foget that education is not equal to indoctrination
I'm agree with Tomasevski's idea without reserves. The global perspective she had about the problem trascend the local or regional points of view.
However, the application and concrection of the main ideas needs to be adjusted to a real and localized situation

Generally, it has been necessary that governments around world converts the right to education in laws to ensure that every child receives a basic education.

Society is about how to handle the relationships between people, protect the more indefense and to take the best from the best in every's one benefit.
Compulsory education is a mechanism to do this.
But there are more than one way to do this.
In a less-advanced society, the right to education accomplished by a compulsatory education law can be a must, if it is accompanied by an integral framework of finantial, legal and social considerations.
In more advanced societies, the Constitution or a similar high grade law, establish the right to education by stipulating that no child can ve deprivated of schooling. It minds that the scholling can be achieved by homeschooling, by public organization or private ones, (only to say some ways to do it)

I'm surprised because I've not idea that European Convention on Human Rights changed the positive afirmation "every person has right to education" by a negative form: "no person shall be denied the right to education".
I understand that in rich societies, the compromise the government can suscribe with the society has certain limits and if they use the positive affirmation, probably they have not enough resources to secure the education along the life it supposed.
But anyway, in present advanced societies, to ensure this can be a matter of technology and organization.

In your opinion, is open *access* to free, high-quality educational opportunity sufficient, or is it necessary to *mandate* education through a certain age or level?
Generally speaking, I think it is necessary that the goverments establish a compulsory educational periode for children.
Overall, the governments have the obligation to provide schools and education for children in conditions their and their parents could afford.
Sometimes education is a mechanism to reproduce societies. But frequently education is a way to change societies.
From the times of the french revolution, the State, personalized in the government, is a creation of the people who stablish rules to give the people that they need, not only to survive but to progress individually and colectively.
The US constitution begins:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
It is a nice way to say what the government is for, and who is actually the government.
Education is not a goal. It is a way to improve the people welfare and the progress os the society.
And governments need to ensure that every child receives the best education possible.

In Spain the compulsory education is from 6 to 16 years. Below 6 years old, early childhood education is not compulsory but the government has the obligation to provide it for free.
A few years ago, the early childhood education was not regulated and there was no necessary to obtain an university degree or diploma to be a teacher (!) in such level of the education.
Now, The government has the obligation to offer the children the possibility to access to a "escuela de educacion infantil" (early childhood school) and the government controls that teachers and curricula in those childhood schools are qualified.
BUT the coverage of those schools is not universal... A lot of parents choose a "nursery" because is near from their homes or jobs or they are cheaper than a "early childhood school" or because in the neigborhood there are not any of this schools....
Some associations of teachers are asking for a compulsory early childhood education (3-6 year old) as a way to force the government to extend those schools for all territory.

Speaking about "open access to free, high-quality educational opportunity" needs to be specified to a concret situation. Is it for children? is it for adults?

Michel Keller told me in one oportunity that "libraries are the universities of the poorest".
In some way he was right. It consist on "open access" to knowledge.
By having access to the knowledge -whatever it be- is a way to educate yourself. But most of times, it is not enough. The knowledge needs to be organized in some other way than an alphabetic sort.
"Open education" (in the sense thar is organized knowledge) can be useful to achieve the goal to satisfy the right to education for some people, like adults looking for knowledge in a life-long-learning situation
Open education projects -the third article speaks about it- lie OCW can help into the way to make the right to education an integral right, not only for children but for people.

A comprehensive law to develop the right to education should be considere:
- a compulsory education for children until they have the minimun age for employment.
(Access to "open education can help to reduce the investment in to general curricula).
- the access to education for adults in spite of their economic condition.
(Access to "open education" can help to fit the different needs of the people).

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