|“It is not enough for people to come together in dialogue in order to gain knowledge of their social reality. They must act together upon their environment in order critically to reflect upon their reality and so transform it through further action and critical reflection.”Paulo Freire|
|The GCAS Institute of Critical Pedagogy is dedicated to promote education for participation in real democratic processes. Global unrest in recent years has shown the limits of neoliberalism and has highlighted the need for the creation of a vision and a process of a feasible alternative. Education is a basic sphere for this vision since it has significant impact for future generations. We strongly believe that education is a powerful tool for social change. Following Paulo Freire as noted above, we assert that it is not enough to be educated, but to be educated in order to continue to transform society through a continuing dialectical process of further action and critical reflection. We believe that through interventions under democratic procedures the educational system can foster a democratic society. We aim to create an “educational intervention” that will contribute to democracy building in a capitalist world through prefiguring in the present the future processes we wish to build here and now.The GCAS Institute of Critical Pedagogy has three main sections that support three complementary goals:
Education has always been a top down decision plan. For GCAS the need for education towards democracy can be best served by a more inclusive decision making procedure. Education can serve the need to connect society, and professors, the youth and social struggles.
The Institute of Critical Pedagogy (ICP) at every level takes Paulo Freire’s suggestion namely, starting from praxis to conscientization and then to praxis again, in a process of working towards a fuller democracy.
At the Institute of Critical Pedagogy students’ learning is to be creating knowledge along with the teachers through communication and assessment of knowledge takes a variety of forms and is also to be negotiated and geared to a fuller understanding of critical pedagogy. We believe in order to promote our goals we need to function democratically ourselves to show how the other alternatives we are working for are viable. Thus, the courses to be assigned in teaching will include participatory processes, dialectical, bottom up designed based on the agreed knowledge needed to be promoted to the students by staff and students. The following courses are tentative and exhibit the intentions or suggestions of the GCAS Institute of Critical Pedagogy that will be enriched by staff and students.
Graduate Courses (tentative) offered in:
o Critical pedagogy
o Revolutionary communities in education
o Popular education
o Marxist theories of education
o Anarchist theories of education
o Revolutionary innovations in Education
o The dangers of Fascism in education
o Democratic development in Education
o International collaboration in education
The post graduate courses build on the knowledge that the graduate courses offer and specialize in specific areas:
Masters degree (tentative):
o Teaching for Democracy and Social Justice
o Critical Education Studies
o International Studies for Democratic Cooperation in Education
o Innovations in Education for Democratic Development
FUTURE: MPhil or Doctor Degree (tentative) in:
o Critical Education Studies
o Critical Educational Theory and Policy Analysis
o International Education for Democracy
Further development will be decided upon students’ enrolment. The students will have a decision-making role of the courses to be taught.
At this point there is a need to make a pause and critically engage in visioning another education that is possible, an education for democracy. This quest of the times is significant because it is determinant in the society we imagine possible. If not education then what can bring and stabilize change? There is an emergent need for society to rethink and update its wants, needs and desires for an educational system that would meet the needs for society itself. This time it has to be an educational system built bottom up, with the participation of those involved in education (teachers, parents, students etc) and the intellectuals. There is a need for an education for democracy and that quest has not yet been met. Although cynical, the crisis makes this possible.
The Global Project for Democracy and Education is to assist in meeting this need. Its intention is to:
o Rethink the aims of education at this point of capitalism. Organize conferences to produce and distribute knowledge on this. Work an open forum of ideas for widening concepts and participation in democracy through education.
o Bring together initiatives and experimentation on critical education and education for democracy that have been done until now and do a meta-analysis of what has been learned from these.
o Map the territory of education on a global scale and investigate the connection of society- educational system- knowledge-society.
o Make suggestions to “redesign” the educational system by the cooperation of intellectuals, teachers, parents, society, students, architects, technologists and other interest groups.
o Find resources to fund democratic initiatives and experimentation based on the meta-analysis but also new ideas suggested.
Another aim of the Institute of Critical Pedagogy is to publish a journal of popular publications that will meet the needs of understanding the neoliberal reforms by the teachers and people in various countries and in different languages, which need to make sense of the changes going on. This journal will attempt to publicize and spread through social media and other forms of communitarian means the impact of the theory produced. Other cultural democratic projects and activities that are produced like RSA animations, theatre, song, poetry and other forms of cultural activities will be used to create not just ways of building alternatives “for” but “with” others.
The above sections of the Institute of Critical Pedagogy are inter-connected and reciprocal and will be revitalized by students and staff together engaging in research projects/practices/processes of building alternatives that can then provide feedback into each section of the Institute. We will build as we go on and get stronger by doing. Education is an institution that is in-between the working and middle classes and the intellectuals. If change in society is going to come it must involve the working and middle class people and the Institute of Critical Pedagogy’s attempt is to build bridges within society bringing the social movements, intellectuals, education, working and middle class together to this quest of knowledge for democracy.
The GCAS Institute of Critical Pedagogy is designed to meet the highest possible education for democracy with those who are most vulnerable and expropriated by the system. The educational system as we knew it is demolished by the elite so that in the future it will only involve them, making sure that only those like them are fully educated. The system has damaged education enormously revealing its frauds connected to top down decisions and planning. The question is what new forms of genuinely democratic self-organization of the educational system might rise by society itself instead. The time is now to work for an education for another world, which is possible. We call for cooperation intellectuals and all segments of society concerned for an education that promotes participation for democracy.