Leo Semashko. Educational programs for harmonious civilization
Guided by the principle inclusion in a context,the strategic plan of the College Doctrina Vitaetakes its origin in the scheduling documents of the country notably vision 2020, EDPRS, the document of the poverty reduction strategy , sectorial policies of the quality educationnorms in Rwanda, as well as in the development scheme of the Gasabo District.
Inspired by the slogan of planification, as Lewis Caroll said : " If you don't know where you go, then any road will be convenient to you" the College Doctrina Vitae would like to progress henceforth according to a pre-established plan has to avoid all risk of working in disorder.
The document "strategic plan of the College Doctrina Vitae " is the result of a three days session that regrouped the founders, managers and teachers of the College Doctrina Vitae ; structured as agreed during the session.
In addition , the document consists of the history, the mission and the vision of the school(CDV), the diagnostic analysis (situational) : FFOM assorted the problems which has been revealed andtheir solutions, logical interventions setting which activities are established according to the time and priorities.
The College Doctrina Vitae CDV aims the poverty reduction through the complete education based on the quality teaching, creativeness, competitiveness, the moral conscience, and integrates theenvironmental protection, the genderpromotion, fightagainst AIDS, the social inclusion and the youth development.
oThe school (CDV) intends to be the industry which products will be well equipped especially in science and technologyin order to be well quoted on the labor market,
oIntegrated development is the complete development of the person : intellectual, socio-emotional etc.
The College Doctrina Vitae (CDV) has for mission to contribute to the complete development of the citizen endowed with the knowledge, know-how, knowledge-being and knowledge to become allowing him to be quoted well on the labor market in order to answer the major needs of the society.
The CDV would like to found the acquirements of its pupils from a bottom of valuesas loyalty, patriotism, justice, peace, tolerance, altruism, democracy, gender equality …
Democracy and Education: The Culture and the Aspirations of the People
There are at least three ways in which democracy and education can be understood:
a) The administration and spirit of the school considers the views of all concerned: students, teachers, parents and administrators.
b) The school helps prepare students for an active life in a democratic society by an analysis of how the political system is structured and how it works in practice. In addition, the school can develop those skills needed for a democratic society: the ability to communicate ideas by speech and writing, the ability to organize meetings, the ability to communicate across the walls of social class, religion, political views and other categories which divide people.
c) Education and schools can be considered democratic if they express the aspirations and the culture of the peoples.
It is this last sense of democratic education that I will develop briefly, drawing upon my experience of education in tropical Africa.
Every society has ways of preparing the young for adulthood by passing on the skills needed to maintain the society and stressing the values and rules of behavior which provide stability.
Traditionally in Africa, such training was done by the family and by individuals who had special skills such as pottery making, weaving, house -building etc
Education by non-family teachers was introduced from non-African cultures - Arabs for the Koranic schools, Europeans for the European-style school which is now considered as "modern education".
There is a gap between family-clanic-based education and school-based education. All the educational systems are inadequate to prepare young people for African societies which are developing with difficulty. Can the alienation created by these gaps be overcome? This last question will be the focus of the paper.
Editor of "Transnational Perspectives" journal, representative to the United Nations, Geneva for the Association of World Education, France
Faculty of social harmony: humanitarian education for dialog and peace
The university project
The young should be taught harmony and dialog, not war!
Among humanitarian values of the globalization era, the most important one is social harmony, to ensure peace, security, and fair distribution of resources, and to prevent clashes of civilizations and other global confrontations. However, among the great variety of professions for which the educational systems train people, today, the one that is probably the most important is missing - namely, specialists in social harmony, to perform, continuously and on a daily basis, the work of harmonizing societal relations at all levels, from individuals and families to inter-cultural and international levels. (To a certain extent, psychology deals with individual's harmonization, but only at interpersonal levels, and within the boundaries of individuals' psyche.) one of the main weaknesses of education today is its excessive compartmentalization of knowledge. Another is the absence or minimal presence of a humanitarian component. The third, and just as important a weakness, is militarization: training, on a massive scale, of military professionals, specialists in destroying people with a wide array of weapons, from fire-guns to chemical, bacteriological and nuclear weapons. The first, compartmentalization of knowledge, leads to a massive reproduction of branch-based disharmony in society. The second, failure to teach humanitarian ethics, removes positive obstacles to disharmony, resulting in an increase in confrontations. The third, militarization, transforms disharmony into a tangled mess of armed/violent confrontations between various branch-based, national, religious and civilizational groups. Presently, not only every nation, but nearly every industrial branch and corporation owns military-style divisions. Branch-based disharmony, together with militarization and the absence of humanitarian obstacles, creates a permanent threat of armed conflict at all levels. There are more than enough examples of this in the world and in almost every country.
The explosive mixture of disharmony and militarist/violence results in blood-spilling, armed conflicts, crime, and terrorist acts. The monstrous terrorist attacks in New York on September, 11, 2001 and on October 23-26, 2002, in Moscow, like all other similar acts, and like all wars (including the one in Iraq) are nothing but a logical consequence of social disharmony, dehumanization, and militarization of educational systems, today. All of their indisputable virtues notwithstanding, educational systems, because of their excessive compartmentalization of knowledge and dehumanized content, promote social disharmony, while militarism promotes violence and the professionalization thereof. They teach professional homicide (as do the contemporary mass media) and professional disconnect, but they don't teach social harmony, cooperation, and dialog among different professions, nations, religions and civilizations. They don't teach how to overcome disharmony and to prevent violent conflicts and terrorism. What positive aspects can contemporary educational systems offer to counteract those? Perhaps little else than literature lessons in high school, which are becoming increasingly compartmentalized, too. A few off-beat humanities courses at universities teach practically nothing, since they don't teach social harmony and partnership, or how to prevent conflicts and violence.
Social evil has become systemic, it penetrates all of the branches of society, including education and the media, and threatens to corrupt people from the inside. Unfortunately, there's no positive system in place to counteract the evil. State law-enforcement organs fight against its consequences rather than its source. Education and the media, too, do not so much provide equipment to fight evil, as train for it and promote it. So what is the solution? There is one way. The professional and systemic evil of social disharmony should be opposed by an equally professional and systemic effort to achieve social harmony, institutionalized, first of all, in an appropriate system of humanitarian/sociocultural education. Promoting such a system in the globalization era is of paramount importance. Humanitarian education, when oriented toward social harmony as the paramount humanitarian value of today, and, simultaneously, as a sociocultural force and technology, acquires a new quality that is adequate to the demands of globalization.
Traditional humanitarian education, for all of its indisputable strengths, appears to be passive, socially unproductive, technologically unequipped to confront global dangers, challenges, and armed conflicts. Except for good intentions, sporadic protests, and petitions, it has no weapons to wield. Traditional humanitarian education, with its current shape, taken in the 19th century, is outmoded. Educational system needs modernization. This can be achieved by orienting education toward achieving social harmony, which is not so much a knowledge as a value, a creative force, and a cultural technology. This new educational trend should comprise the achievements of social, humanitarian, informational, and organizational sciences and technologies. Social and humanitarian sciences today have accumulated enough knowledge, and created enough technologies, for transition to a new quality of humanitarian education.
Based on this, I propose to establish at every university a new Faculty (Department), "Social Harmony," to train professionals and lead the field in a search for new models of humanitarian education. There is no such model in the world, today. Social harmony departments at universities in different countries would ensure an ongoing quest for it within different cultural and national frameworks.
The professionalization of social harmony, although extremely necessary today, is still non-existent. Initially, this profession can be placed in the category of "social work" or "public relations," and called "social work - social harmony," or "public relations - social harmony". Later, the specialization in "social harmony" can become a separate discipline and, in turn, branch out into separate subfields: health, education, science, culture, politics, international relations, law, government, finances, economics, industry, agriculture, etc. The main objective for these professionals will be harmonization of social relations in branches and spheres within their purview, both at the individual and family levels, and at the level of nations, religions and civilizations.
The main requirement for social harmony departments is that an aspiration for social harmony underlies the curriculum and all of the department's daily functioning. The departments should not only teach social harmony, but live it as well. Every student, teacher, and staff person would be expected to aspire to harmonious personal development. Herein lies the key difficulty of the departments' existence.
The "social harmony" curriculum would include four sphere complexes: "clusters" of disciplines corresponding to the four society/individual spheres:
Humanitarian "cluster": social anthropology, social harmony, psychology, pedagogy, multicultural dialog, social work, culturology, religious studies, social action, socionics, etc.
Informational "cluster": information theory, philosophy, sociology, history, informational technologies, foreign languages, Esperanto, creative writing, or any other creative elective: painting, music, design, etc.
Organizational "cluster": organizations theory, political science, law, management, finances, public relations, conflict studies, international relations, etc.
Material "cluster": natural science and exact science (basics), engineering (basics), economics (basics), medicine (basics), ecology (basics), physical training and athletics, needlework and modelling electives, etc.
All of these "clusters" would be oriented toward the humanitarian "cluster" as the key one.
In the departments, pivotal lecture courses would be these:
Philosophy of harmony
Sociology of harmony
History of harmony
Psychology of harmony
Methods and techniques of dialog: dialogics of harmony
Harmonious commands of dialog
Multicultural dialog of civilizations
Culture of harmony
Harmony of languages
Environmental harmony: harmony of society and nature
Social harmony: preventing wars and terrorism
Conflict studies: conflict prevention through social harmony
Harmony of relations within family and between individuals
Harmony of individual development
Public Relations harmony
Multicultural technologies of social harmony
Each "cluster" has a core of required disciplines/courses, complemented with an array of electives. The educational process consists of four-day cycles: every day of the cycle is devoted to one of the four "clusters" of disciplines. Each day students have three classes (90 minutes each) of theoretical disciplines, and one class of practical training (athletics, technical modelling, or creative class). Besides, if the students so wish, additional practical training classes may be introduced. The overall study period in the department is four to five years.
Instead of passing examinations, students write and defend independent projects in each discipline; dialogic defence of a project amounts to an examination. Professors deliver lecture-dialogs designed to help students elaborate their projects. The professors' chief mission is that of a consultant, student's adviser on the projects, and student's elder friend. Seminars in theoretical disciplines are conducted in the style of command role plays (dialogs) and creative assignments, which can include presentations by students. At the end of each course the professors are to survey students as to how they evaluate their courses. Those students and professors who can't establish harmonious partnerships among themselves are either dismissed from the school or are separated by a special committee (special rules have to be developed for this).
These are the most general outlines for a social harmony department. To start implementing the plan, specialists (professors, instructors, working professionals) should be recruited who are able to put together and teach basic lecture courses in philosophy, sociology, psychology, culturology and harmony dialogics. Such specialists can be found in any university town in the world. It is possible that professors from other countries could be invited for 2 to 3 weeks to teach an intensive course. With these specialists, the department's graduates, and doctoral students as the core, the key programs within the department can be created for a Social Harmony program, with the department's theoretical center in the lead.
Social Harmony departments can be established at any university, for example, at the UN University of Education. After a while these departments can evolve into humanitarian universities of a new kind. These schools can offer one- or two-year degrees to those who have a degree in humanities, and four- or five-year degrees to high school graduates. A tentative title for these universities and departments is "Higher Education in Social Harmony".
Establishing Social Harmony departments is a long and difficult process. But it should be started, anyway, the sooner the better. Specialists in social harmony are in great demand at all levels of management and societal relations. The demand is inexhaustible, and will be forever growing. So, establishing these departments will undoubtedly bring many social, spiritual/moral, political, and commercial advantages. Social Harmony departments are needed first of all by our youth, our children and grandchildren, whose harmony is worth the experimental effort. The young should be taught harmony, not war.
This writer is willing to head a Social Harmony Department at any university and, with the help of two or three assistants, to establish, over a couple of years, the key programs (Social harmony, Philosophy of harmony, Psychology of harmony, History of harmony, and Dialogics of harmony) and to be responsible for personnel, information, and organization.
Please, look on page 4.5 still:
Francisco Gomes de Matos, Brazil
Applying the Pedagogy of Positiveness
© Website author: Leo Semashko, 2005; © designed by Roman Snitko, 2005