The work of education is cultivating the signs of healthy, flourishing, and engaged children. In the Platonic sense, education endeavors to nurture logic (truth), ethics (goodness), and aesthetics (beauty).
Concentrated poverty, unchecked climate change, “the globalization of indifference,” an extreme form of which is modern child slavery, thwart the opportunities for the flourishing of children. Indeed they represent a significant undertow towards meeting the millennial development goals of reaching universal basic education.
It is by nurturing socio-emotional learning including, in the words of Pope Francis, “patient listening, constructive dialogue and better mutual understanding”, the values and virtues of engaged citizenship, and by imparting the tools to prepare youth for the world of work, that schools become meaningful vehicles for collective empowerment and positive social action.
Formal public education must endeavor to inculcate in children and youth the love of life, humane sensibilities, empathy and perspective taking, communication and collaboration skills, higher-order cognitive skills for critical thinking, as well as the metacognitive abilities to become lifelong learners and civic agents.
Leading scholars whose basic research spans Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East will participate in Education: The Global Compact. Together we shall examine new levers to make education more humane and equitable, more engaging and fulfilling, and more relevant to the disparate needs of sustainable economies and societies around the world. We shall examine, inter alia, the new science of Mind, Brain and Education, the promise of technology to reach and engage children who currently have little or no opportunities for learning, and the education of special populations. We shall address the effects of growing inequality and unchecked climate change on education as well as the tools to reverse the effects of both.