The following evaluation of the current education system and the principles necessary to guide education in the 21st century have been distilled from the guidelines and articles of the CHARTER FOR 21st CENTURY EDUCATION proclaimed by THE COUNCIL FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION and the UNICEF forum 'Teachers Talking About Learning'.


The current education system is inadequate for growing up and living as an adult in the 21st century. The following shortcomings in education have necessitated the need to reconsider the goals to which education is geared and a re-examination its underlying premise and ethics.

1. It is based on the material and economic needs of an industrial model of society and modifications and innovations have been insufficient to meet both individual and societal needs of an emerging global community,
2. Reforms have been hard to implement and innovation has been limited by policies that extend and perfect an archaic and dysfunctional system of education derived from the 19th century industrial revolution, with its complete framework of requirements, teacher training and assessments,
3. The rate of change in the scientific, technical, economic, social and political arenas have been rapid and education has kept up with the expansion of knowledge and societal needs,
4. There is increased evidence of a self-centered approach to life which primarily considers the rights of the individual without due consideration of the individual responsibility to the good of the whole of society,
5. There has been loss of a sense of purpose and increased hopelessness amongst children and youth, with many failing to find fulfilling lives, an increase in addictions, violence and lawlessness, and whereas human beings are endowed with a dual nature, which can range in expression from baseness to nobility,
6. There is a worldwide decline and a moral decay in values hitherto considered as the primary purview of religious and family institutions,
7. Advances in technology have enabled the emergence of global community sharing all aspects of human endeavour.

All of these shortcomings have demanded that we redefine the content of education with a common global standard of guiding principles and shift its focus to the development of human capabilities rather than just the study of subject disciplines. Education should therefore be structured according to a common understanding that nature of being human and the development of fundamental human capabilities is of the greatest importance to the advancement of the educational process, building a spirit of community and service into educational processes and rethink of the role of education to address the spiritual, moral and ethical development of the child and the life long learning of adults.

New curricula should reflect the needs of the community served by the school and the global interdependence of people in a new global community who are interdependent with each other and all other beings. The goals are to teach young people to respect the world's ethnic diversity, imparting skills to build harmonious relationships of co-existence between neighbours and nations so as to encourage equal sharing of the planets limited resources, taking no more that Earth can supply in perpetuity. A core practical principle is that successful learning in the classroom is dependent on the values and involvement of families, community leaders, and other members of the community.


Article 1.
The Four Building Blocks of Education provide an essential framework in the defining of curriculum content. Universal Values, Global Understanding, Excellence in All Things, and Service to Humanity must not be seen as options but need to be made part of every child's education. These principles should be nurtured in all subject areas, at all ages, and for the entire learning period of the student.

Universal values are values common to all human beings, much like the laws of physics that apply to the governing of our physical environment. Whether their origin is seen in the great religions of the world, or their rationale found in social pragmatism, these universal values form the most important aspect of a child's education in the next millennium. Examples of universal values are respect, responsibility, honesty, empathy, courtesy, reverence for life and kindness. Each country and each community can decide for itself the values they wish to emphasize. However, a values framework must not be been seen as optional but an essential element of a child's education.

A program of character and values education should therefore be integrated within the framework of the learning environment. Teachers and adults around the child must strive to be role models before children and youth. Training must be provided to the teachers from the earliest stages of their education to see their role first as character educators before subject pr content providers. They should be equipped to prepare a systematic plan to implement these elements, to help create a climate and a culture of these values in the school community.

Distinction needs to be made between religious and spiritual education. The teaching about religion must not be confused with teaching about becoming a spiritual human being. In countries where religion is taught as a matter of course, this distinction needs to be clarified and additional emphasis needs to be placed upon character and values education and upon becoming a spiritual human being, to live the teachings of religion.

Article 2.
Governments are gatekeepers to a system of education for their people. All policy makers in all governments throughout the world shall strive to nurture and develop, both financially and spiritually, innovative models of education which seek to bring our children into the 21st century through new and unique programs that meet the goals of this Charter.

Article 3.
Children are spiritual and material beings who must have their total being developed. Schools shall focus first, and primarily, on the spiritual development of the child, molding the material development only after spiritual realization is attained.

Article 4.
Education must be remodeled to allow our children to pursue their own interests, and not the career paths set forth by parents, teachers and the community.

Article 5.
Our children must never be under-estimated and must always be encouraged to reach their full potential, not the expectations of a community. Children must receive all basic education in the 5 R's and then allowed to enter the service field at age 14, pursue a field of personal interest to the student, and return to the university level at age 18 to complete their formal education.

Article 6.
Every student has a right to free education regardless of sex, race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background, nationality or any other category. No child should ever be discouraged from learning because of his or her status within society.

Article 7.
Every child is potentially the light of this world, and if nurtured correctly, has the potential to be tomorrow's Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, or Mother Teresa. No child should ever be considered to be anything less.

Article 8.
Every child has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; every school, classroom, teacher and administrator must respect this right.

Article 9.
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.

Article 10.
Parents have a right to choose the best education for their child.

Article 11.
Our schools must make clear the connection between history and ethics, in order to prevent incidents of genocide and war such as the crisis in Kosovo.

Article 12.
Every teacher must receive proper training to instil fundamental values and capabilities in his or her students, and must serve as a facilitator for learning and a role model for all children and the community at large.

Article 13.
Every member of the community has a stake in education, from the businessman whose future workforce and consumer base depends on today's education, to the parents, who must nurture and grow their children to reflect all that is the best in the world.

Article 14.
Every parent must be a full and active participant in his or her child's education. Parents should reflect the school's values and home, and send consistent, positive messages to the child.

Article 15.
Behind every great nation there is a great system of education. Every nation shall strive to develop and maintain an educational system which reflects the best of the nation, and inspires its children to excel both academically and morally.

Article 16.
The center of any educational endeavor is the teacher. All teachers must be constantly trained on the latest techniques and lessons appropriate for their classroom.

Article 17.
Education must be a central issue in every nation's conscience and remain close to the hearts of all people. The discussion of education must extend to every home and every business in every land, and remain a top priority for everyone, including public officials and policy makers.

Article 18.
Every system of education must have a passion for humanity, use the arts, music and dance as displays of the soul, and emphasize peace and a lifetime of learning.

Article 19.
There are twelve fundamental, guiding principals of education relevant in all societies and nations. These are:

* Teaching by example
* Parent-Teacher Partnerships
* Mentorship Programs
* Teacher/Student Motivational Schemes
* Learning by Doing
* School as an Extension of the Family
* Cultural Exchange Programs
* School Mottos and Ideals
* Schools must be an Inspiring Physical Environment
* Learning through art, music and languages
* Continuous improvement and Use of New Technology
* Consultation and Cooperation

Article 20.
Every child is entitled to reach his or her full human potential without interference from any government, individual or institution.

Article 21.
No nation, organization, business or individual shall take any action to prevent any child from receiving an education as outlined in this Charter, and all children shall be free to prosper, grow and develop spiritually, emotionally, and academically.

http://www.globaleducation.org/charter.htm
http://www.unicef.org/teachers/