Generation ECo-C: ECo-C at Schools

15.09.2011 11:00

A very simple question: what do children learn at school? Most adults are, have been, or will be parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents; as such, this question is of vast significance to them.

The western tradition of schooling is steeped in the perpetuation of a specific social and civic model: this is where children learn their letters, it is the agent of social learning, where children evolve in a community of their peers, yet under strict guidance by people who know how to forge their young minds.

And yet, in western societies, there is increasing awareness of a disconnection between the alleged goal of schools, which is to create happy-well-adjusted individuals who are able to tackle life, and the things these teach.

In most schools and school systems, there is an emphasis on objective, hard skills; in France, schools were meant to perpetuate a model, the model of the "Instituteur" of the IIIrd Republic; in short, it was never meant to produce people who would dynamically adjust to the real-life situation they were in, but to produce powerful minds that would arrange the world to match their mind-view. Although slightly more dynamic, the German-speaking education systems separate children by aptitude at the early age of 10 or 11 years old, setting youths into their life path, defined once again by academic achievement. In short, it is at odds with the desires of parents and children today, because rather than teach children how to deal with all the aspects of life, it teaches them how to enter a certain world, and perform in a certain direction.

As a result, children often evolve into a world where social competency is skewed, and the consequence of this is the invention of the "teenager", a person who is not an adult nor a child. With no awareness of social requirements, children forge their own- whether rolling up  uniforms to create "innovative" dresses, bullying each other, or creating new behaviours characterised by the rejection of anything more adult. And this, despite the fact that eventually, they are meant to join the world of adults, and thus must comprehend its rules.

Alternative school and pedagogues have often discussed the need for reform. We at the would like to see this reform aim to create well-adjusted individuals who would not be out of their depth once they leave the trappings of childhood. We would like to see less emphasis on spoilt, whiny teenagers, and more emphasis in the fact that children are actually smart young people who will take their place as our successors in society, understanding its rules and able to work maturely in a professional setting.

It would seem others are in accord with those aims, as a pilot project has led to the integration of the ECo-C Communication module and exam in two Austrian schools: a Hauptschule in Lower Austria and a particular Gymnasium in Styria: the young people who attend these will take some modules of the certificate, before going on to take the full examination later. We would like to wish them the best, and hope that this project will help address the need for a transition between education and workplace.

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