International Day of Education – Libraries Contributing to a New Social Contract for Education
24 January 2022
On the International Day of Education (24 January), the UN calls for transformation – a reimagining of the world’s education systems to realise the fundamental right to education for all and build a more inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable future.
This call echoes UNESCO’s recent publication, the groundbreaking Futures of Education Report. This report, written in the context of compounding global challenges, calls for a new social contract for education.
A social contract is an “implicit agreement among members of a society to cooperate for shared benefit”. Designing a new social contract for education requires a collective effort to reimagine how our education systems can help people work together to address the most pressing challenges of our times.
This report starts a dialogue that reevaluates how knowledge and learning can create a better future for humanity and the planet.
The Futures of Education Report Vision
The Futures of Education Report calls for an expanded vision of the right to education as a right that persists throughout life. In this, it seeks to strengthen education’s place as a public, common good.
To build a better future, education must be based on the core principles of collaboration and solidarity, and an urgent rebalancing of humanity’s place in an inter-connected ecosystem.
With the goal of achieving meaningful change by 2050, this report is intended to act as a catalyst for dialogue, research, and action. It does not seek to replace current education systems, but instead explores the following essential questions: What should we continue doing? What should we abandon? What needs to be creatively invented afresh?
In addition to, and in combination with, these questions, we add our own:
What is the role of libraries, librarians, and information professionals in imagining and co-creating this new social contract for education?
Libraries and the Futures of Education Report
This report is rich with exciting ideas that reimagine how and when education occurs. It envisions inclusive and dynamic learning communities, focussing on collective fulfilment, co-creation, and experience. It encourages learning communities to act as models of environmental sustainability, cooperation, and multicultural respect.
Libraries around the world already embody these values. They are collaborative learning spaces, enabling access to culture and information, and helping learners of all ages access, create, and benefit from knowledge. Libraries will be essential players in the design and co-creation of future education systems that benefit all members of society.
To help explore this further, IFLA has created a brief on the UNESCO Futures of Education Report:
Download the Brief: Libraries Contributing to a New Social Contract for Education
This brief provides an overview of the report, highlighting areas where the library field has an important role to play and encouraging reflection on how library professionals can be involved in the creation of a new social contract for education.
We encourage you to use this brief as a starting point for planning engagement and advocacy in support for the library sector’s involvement in co-creating the futures of education.
- Access the full Futures of Education Report here.
- Access the Executive Summary here.
- Watch: UNESCO Explains the Futures of Education Report [YouTube]
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