Education is Intended for Inclusion

VATICAN CITY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017 (Zenit.org).- One of the salient points of the new Document of the Congregation for Catholic Education, presented on September 22, 2017, in the Vatican, is that education is not intended for selection but for inclusion. Those in charge of the Dicastery explained that education must encompass “all” human “dimensions, it must accompany “the process of humanization.”

The Document “Educate to Solidary Humanism: To Build a ‘Civilization of Love,’ 50 Years after the Encyclical Populorum Progressio,” which contains “guidelines” for solidary humanism, will be sent to all Episcopal Conferences. Thus it will reach 215,000 Catholic schools — touching more than 60 million pupils of any faith and ethnicity – and 1,760 Catholic Universities in the different Continents.

Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, recalled that the Document was elaborated for the 50th anniversary of the Conciliar Declaration Gravissimum Educationis (1965-2015) on Christian education, and the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio (1967-2017), “programmatic document of the mission of the Church in the era of globalization.”

The new Document highlights seven points: Present Scenarios, Humanize Education, Culture of Dialogue, Globalize Hope, For a Veritable Inclusion, Networks of Cooperation and Perspectives.

When UNICEF raised the alarm for the 60 million children who might be excluded from basic education over the next 15 years, the Vatican stressed that it’s “urgent and necessary to humanize education, by fostering a culture of encounter and dialogue.” It advocates an educational vision that is distinguished by “a living, courageous and perseverant testimony – in at times very difficult contexts, where the evangelical message cohabits with ways increasingly marked by secularism, relativism and fundamentalism.”

Not Selection but Inclusion

 Monsignor Angelo Vincenzo Zani, the Dicastery’s Secretary, stressed three points of the Document, beginning with the appeal to “humanize education”: namely, “to put the person at the center of education, in a framework of relations that constitute a living, interdependent community bound by a common destiny.” “Education must be at the service of a new humanism, to promote every man and the highest aims of humanity.”

To humanize education calls for “updating the educational pact between the generations,” for considering “the personal, moral and social habits of all the subjects taking part in the educational process: professors, students, institution of the territory, places and areas of encounter, for an education that isn’t selective but open to solidarity and sharing,” he continued.

The second point highlighted by Monsignor Zani: an education founded on the culture of dialogue, because “it’s in the nature of education to be able to build the foundations of a peaceful dialogue and to make possible the encounter between diversities to enhance the common good.”

Finally, the third point: “The principal and priority end “of education is not “the selection of ruling classes, but inclusion, which enables every citizen to feel actively participant in the building of solidary humanism.”

Process of Humanization

 Monsignor Zani also gave keys of reading for the Document, which addresses all persons engaged in different capacities in the area of formation”: it’s about promoting an education “that responds to the fundamental right of every person, beyond differences of age, sex, culture, religion and tradition” and, at the same time, “open to fraternal cohabitation” for unity and peace among peoples.

He explained that, for the Church, education must be “founded on an anthropology inspired in evangelical values” and must encompass “all” human “dimensions” and all stages of life: it must accompany “the process of humanization.”

The Dicastery’s Document pauses on the principal present challenges, namely, relativist identity and culture, dialogue in a social, multi-religious and multicultural context,economic and professional inequalities, humanitarian urgencies and marginalizations, as well as the ecology.