Rethinking education from an intercultural lens - a contribution coordinated by the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research of Switzerland
“Change needs to be educational, cultural, and political. Action is the responsibility of every one of us.” In the framework of UNESCO’s Futures of Education visioning and research phase, the Swiss association of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR Switzerland) mobilized over 20 key contributors on the ways intercultural competencies can play a role in transformative education, not only to address persistent issues but also to turn forthcoming challenges into powerful vehicles of inclusion.
How should what we learn, how we learn, and where we learn change in the future? How can intercultural education contribute to a more sustainable and prosperous future, for people and the planet? Experts from a wide range of expertise came together to discuss these important issues, building on their experience in the fields of intercultural dialogue, inclusion, diversity, migration, human resources, international management, pedagogy, didactics, online training, and peace education.
Through the organization of focus group discussions, the working group built on a first set of observations to review obstacles to transformation as well as to identify strategic stakeholders that can advance tangible change in education systems. The concept of “global learning” quickly emerged as a universal core value of humanity, representing the “(…) sharing knowledge, educating, and learning in multifaceted networks, beyond physical and mental boundaries.” and being essential to live together in respect of the planet and its inhabitants.
The importance of intercultural understanding though global learning became even clearer while discussing several seemingly paradoxical elements such as the increasing space dedicated to online learning versus in-person projects, the persistent competitive spirit versus cooperation, debates dedicated to “Us” versus “Them”. “We need to combat the ideas that cultures belong to certain people only, that groups can only be defined by their values.”
In addition to the nature of knowledge being passed on that needs to evolve, the ways it is transmitted as well as its purpose need to be re-thought so that learners can feel more inspired at the perspective of learning. How can technology be leveraged? Why should multilingualism become a common practice? What can be a fair and sustainable use of internationalization? SIETAR Switzerland and its working group have been tackling a wide range of questions in order to reimagine the futures of education as a whole: “Education has the potential to be a transformative power if innovation and interrelation of diverse cultural mindsets become the norm in teaching and learning.”
We invite you to learn more about their reflections and recommendations by consulting the report they have submitted to UNESCO and the International Commission on the Futures of Education.
About SIETAR Switzerland
SIETAR Switzerland is a politically and religiously independent association founded in 2015. It represents a diverse community of individuals and organizations, all sharing a strong interest in the intercultural field. All members strive to raise intercultural awareness, taking a stance on intercultural topics in a multicultural society. SIETAR Switzerland is an active member of SIETAR Global Connect which groups over 3000 members into more than 30 national and regional SIETAR associations, spanning all continents.