Education in Values

OPINION

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“Education in values has its foundations in equity, respect, freedom, and love, from a perspective always directed to the common good.”

“Education is an act of love and, thus, an act of courage.”

-Paulo Freire

 

There is a clear need for education in values. We are undergoing a social crisis in which issues such as violence, insecurity, socioeconomic inequality, corruption, and discrimination have permeated our daily lives. They emerge in diverse social contexts, on the streets, in our homes, and even in educational institutions. Nevertheless, the conviction of implementing concrete actions related to these issues can be perceived in a variety of orientations.

According to Bonifacio Barba (Barba: 2005; p. 9), “in an instructive sense of school and its social and pedagogical effectiveness, education is, by nature, a matter of values, a process of moral education.” Efforts made in Mexico to improve the quality of life and access to education based on public policy have not been sufficient. The percentage of 25-34 year-olds without secondary education fell 13 % between 2007 and 2017, which translates into 52 % of our young adults, positioning Mexico as the country with the highest proportion of this population without studies, according to OECD data. This produces greater social immobility.  

“Efforts made in Mexico to improve the quality of life and access to education based on public policy have not been sufficient.”

We need to think about education differently by establishing a definition of values that will make it possible to execute the moral education process described by Barba. Axiology, according to Objectivism, maintains that values exist objectively, that they are external immaterial entities, whether or not people perceive them (Rodríguez, Frade, and Albelo: 1995; p. 22). This means that values are understood intuitively or, rather, through the cognitive capacity that is honed in family and school contexts. These values are related to the natural rights of human beings, which, in theory, are indivisible, inalienable, and universal. We are talking about dignity, liberty, equity, respect, and love, which are innate, so education in values must always favor the common good, based on intelligence, consciousness, and volition.

In the face of this condition, considerable, contrasting difficulties appear when establishing a work focus, a universally legitimate direction. Some people maintain that this is the result of the peculiarity of the field of education, in which, diverse visions of the world, multiple political ideologies, religious beliefs, lifestyles and, in general, cultures naturally converge. Therefore, determining whether we can build based on a collective dimension and unify differences, considering reference frameworks for the collectivity that creates community, is advisable.

In this regard, we can establish two arguments to lead us to this point: first of all, Serafín Antúnez states that “Education in values is justified by individuals’ need to commit to specific moral principles that will help us to evaluate our own and others’ actions,” (Antúnez: 2009; p. 15); while Gerardo Barbera says that “Education in values implies ontological and axiological actions that uphold it as an ethical and political proposal, thus coming to life in a concrete, historical existential community,” (Barbera: 2008; p. 111). Both stances show us that human needs create rights to be met, leading to the emergence of natural rights to address these needs employing the values that translate into natural rights.

This brings us to what is probably the core of this work, i.e., values translated into natural rights that strengthen social life in the community.

The 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Program proposed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which entail a spirit of collaboration to choose the best actions for the sustainable enhancement of life for future generations. The guidelines and goals for their adoption by each country are clear and consistent with the world’s overall priorities and social and environmental challenges. Consequently, governments design their public policies on the basis of these 17 goals and people must respect and realize these guidelines, as long as these agendas appeal strongly to the aforementioned education in values, thus removing the blindfold from our eyes so we can stop perceiving life from an individualistic perspective, while protecting the wellbeing of every person.

Education in values is of utmost importance to ensure that our freedom is not just contemplative, but can act within us to attain a fair and equitable state.

I want to invite all teachers to share their opinions and pedagogical experiences through the Observatory of Educational Innovation

 

About the author

Eduardo Daniel Ramírez Silva (teacherdanielram@gmail.com) holds a B.A. in Cultural Management. He teaches high school classes in the fields of Social Science and the Humanities. He coordinates the debate team and organizes academic and cultural activities that enhance students’ learning experiences.


References

Antúnez, S. (2009). Cómo educar en valores. Madrid: Nárcea.

Barba, B. (2005). Educación y valores. Una búsqueda para reconstruir la convivencia. En Revista Mexicana de Investigación Educativa (pp. 9-14). Ciudad de México: Consejo Mexicano de Investigación Educativa, A.C.

Barbera, G. (2008). Educación en valores. En Revista La Educación en Valores (pp. 110-118). Universidad de Carabobo. Venezuela.

Rodríguez Lozano V., Frade Perdomo P. and Albelo Martín L. (1995). Conceptos fundamentales de la moralidad. En Ética (pp. 19-31). Ciudad de México: Alhambra Mexicana.