We are living in a world characterized by change, complexity and paradox. Economic growth and the creation of wealth have cut global poverty rates, yet vulnerability, inequality, exclusion and violence have escalated within and across societies throughout the world. Unsustainable patterns of economic production and consumption promote global warming, environmental degradation and an upsurge in natural disasters. Moreover, while we have strengthened international human rights frameworks over the past several decades, implementing and protecting these norms remains a challenge. And while technological progress leads to greater interconnectedness and offers new avenues for exchange, cooperation and solidarity, we also see proliferation of cultural and religious intolerance, identity-based political mobilization and conflict. These changes signal the emergence of a new global context for learning that has vital implications for education. Rethinking the purpose of education and the organization of learning has never been more urgent.
This book is intended as a call for dialogue. It is inspired by a humanistic vision of education and development, based on respect for life and human dignity, equal rights, social justice, cultural diversity, international solidarity and shared responsibility for a sustainable future. It proposes that we consider education and knowledge as global common goods, in order to reconcile the purpose and organization of education as a collective societal endeavour in a complex world.