WORKSHOP - Freedom and Education

Date: 20 September – From Midday
Language: English, Italian and Spanish (Simultaneous translation)

Perhaps it is thought that freedom means doing everything one likes, or seeing how far one can go by trying drunkenness and overcoming boredom. This is not freedom. Freedom means being able to think about what we do, being able to assess what is good and what is bad, these are the types of conduct that lead to development; it means always opting for the good
Pope Francis, Address to the students of the Jesuit Schools of Italy and Albania, 7.06.2013.

Education has always been one of the main missions of society. Parents are the main educators and they should be free to educate their own children according to the views of life, moral principles and religion experiences. The Human Rights Declaration assures the right of education, but also the rights of parents.

Art. 26 of this Declaration states: “§1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit; §2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace; §3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”
Freedom is not only a right. It implies responsibility. So how is it possible to educate for freedom? What is the place for Gospel? Is it clear that Jesus’ love makes people free?

What do we, as Christians, understand, by education? What are the main goals and challenges and what are the difficulties? If education is the introduction to the reality, how is it possible to avoid all the ideological pressures?
How to guarantee the role of family in education, and the right of parents to educate according to their own principles and values?
How can we promote also the responsibility of parents? Dialogue between parents, school, Churches. New-technologies and education. Is there space for differences (migrates, handicapped)?
The sexual education is also a main topic. How should the Christians deal with this? The action of ideological lobbies and the need to have attention. In a pluralistic society, is it possible to have a true freedom of education in all themes?
The financial support of the States, the freedom to teach the matters according to proper understanding of life and values.

A main address followed by an open debate.

Speaker: Mrs. Anne Coffinier, Foundation pour l’École (France)