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Education for Social Change

September 18, 2012

Education has long been recognized as a major tool for social transformation. The latest edition of Forcing Change, which has been up for a while and available for download to Forcing Change members, focuses on this education-transformation paradigm.

Here are some quotes, from diverse sources, highlighting education for social change.Image


1. “I have suggested that the textbooks be rewritten in terms of right human relations and not from the present nationalistic and separative angles… To all of these I would like to add that one of our immediate educational objectives must be the elimination of the competitive spirit and the substitution of the cooperative consciousness.”

– Alice Bailey [a leading occultist who influenced Robert Muller, founder of the United Nations World Core Curriculum], Education in the New Age (Lucis Trust), p.74.


2. “Educational institutions play an important part in most societies as agents of social control, cultural change, and, not least, social selection.”

– A.H. Halsey, “Education and Social Selection,” Power and Ideology in Education (Oxford University Press, 1977), p.167.


3. “…since the world to-day is in process of becoming one, and since a major aim of UNESCO must be to help in the speedy and satisfactory realisation of this process, UNESCO must pay special attention to international education – to education as a function of a world society.”

– Julian Huxley [first UNESCO Director-General], UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy (Public Affairs Press, 1947), pp.29-30.


4. “Looking beyond our borders, our students will be encouraged to ask even harder questions. Are nation states actually feasible, now that they have the power to destroy each other in a single afternoon? Can we agree on something else to take their place, before the balance of power of terror becomes unstable? What price would most people be willing to pay for a more durable kind of human organization – more taxes, giving up national flags, perhaps the sacrifice of some of our hard-won liberties?”

– Garrett De Bell, “Education and Ecology,” The Environmental Handbook: Prepared for the First National Environmental Teach-In (Ballantine/Friends of the Earth, 1970), p.145.


5. “The task of education for the immediate future is to assist in activating an ethic of planetary sensitivity that will assist us in practicing disciplines that protect us from the allurements of our morbid commodity culture… We have to completely revise our western understanding of what it is to be an inhabitant of the planet Earth… We must pass from a human-centred to an earth-centred sense of reality and value.”

– Budd Hall and Edmund Sullivan [Professors of Transformational Learning], “Transformative Education and Environmental Action in the Ecozoic Era,” Empowerment for Sustainable Development (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 1995), p.102.


6. “…global education must transcend material, scientific and intellectual achievements and reach deliberately into the moral and spiritual spheres.”
– Dr. Robert Muller [former UN official and developer of the World Core Curriculum], New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality (World Happiness and Cooperation, 1982), p.8.


7. “The principle of the oneness of humanity must be wholeheartedly embraced by those in whose hands the responsibility for decision making rests, and its related tenets – including the concept of world citizenship – must be propagated through both education systems and the media.”

– Jaime Duhart [representative of the Baha’i International Community], Social Priorities of Civil Society: Speeches by Non-Governmental Organizations at the World Summit for Social Development (UN NGLS, 1996), p.2.


8. “Education has been advanced as significant in bringing about changes in attitudes, behaviour, beliefs and values… In order to redirect behaviour and values towards institutional change for sustainable development there is a need to investigate strategic options in relation to educational philosophies, scope for propagation and adoption, and groups most likely to be susceptible to change.”                  

– Naresh Singh, “Empowerment for Sustainable Development: An Overview,” Empowerment For Sustainable Development (Halifax, NS: Fernwood Publishing/Winnipeg, MB: International Institute for Sustainable Development, 1995), p.27.


9. “The role of the teacher will inevitably have to change. They will become more involved in facilitating changes of attitudes and guiding students to gain values rather than merely teaching factual knowledge.”

– Dennis Chisman and Jack Holbrook, “The Future Direction of Sustainable Development in the Curriculum,” Sustainable Development for a New World Agenda (STAM/CASE/ICASE, proceedings from the World Environment Energy and Economic Conference, October 1990), p.237.


10. “…we can glimpse the potential of a new creation – earth citizenship – in the third millennium, born of seeds and embryos contributed by the 20th century. And education, which both transmits the old and opens the mind to the new, is at the heart of this new mission.”

– Edgar Morin, Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future (UNESCO, 1999), p.36.


11. “…the potential of education is enormous. Not only can it inform people, it can change them. It is not only a means for personal enlightenment, but also for cultural renewal… Education increases the capacities of people to transform their visions of society into operational realities. It is for this reason that education is the primary agent of transformation…”

Educating for a Sustainable Future: A Transdisciplinary Vision for Concerted Action (UNESCO, 1997), p.36.


12. “Today, the fundamental global objective of all education aspiring not only to progress but to the survival of humanity is to Civilize and Unify the Earth and Transform the human species into genuine humanity… The education of the future should teach an ethics of planetary understanding.”

– Edgar Morin, Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future (UNESCO, 1999), p.39.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2012 12:01 pm

    Reblogged this on MidnightQ.

  2. July 31, 2013 10:48 am

    Make sense for changing the textbooks and curriculum. If not, the United Nations (UNESCO) will never reach their 8 millennium goals together with those other goals behind the 8 goals. That’s what school is about, right – whole system reform for cultural change.

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