New issue of IRE: Radical futures and the role of education

21 May 2022

The new number of the International Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning reflects on the recently published final report of UNESCO’s Futures of Education initiative, Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education, while its six articles explore many of the issues raised in the report.

The report represents an important milestone as we approach the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic tasked with taking urgent and concerted action to address the climate emergency. While acknowledging its limitations, the Editor, in his introduction, argues that the report warrants the careful attention of everyone in the education community and should be considered a serious contribution to wider debate about the kind of society we want.

The six contributions to this number focus, respectively, on the role of teachers in higher education (based on a study conducted in Botswana); the intercultural competence of students from Turkey who participated in the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (Erasmus); the impact the teaching of literacy to adults has on teachers and facilitators (a pilot research project conducted in Africa and Asia); “change over time” as a dimension of workplace learning (insights from Brunei); learning journeys of higher education students in Malaysia; and the history of adult education in Germany (marking 100 years of Volkshochschule in Germany and 50 years of DVV International).

Insights from the latter article demonstrate how adult education needs to adjust time and again to the demands of new social and political circumstances. The upcoming Seventh International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII), to be held in June 2022, presents an opportunity to frame policy and practice in adult education for the next decade and beyond.

As the Editor notes in his introduction to this issue, ‘The problem with change, for very many people, is not so much the problem of imagining how things could be different, it is the challenge of understanding what can be done in practical terms to make a difference and improve our lives and communities. … We can go in a different direction if we choose. … In these few seconds of light, we need to make sure we turn our wishful thinking into hopeful action. This is the moment.’

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