The world in crisis: what about learning?

The world is in a crisis, larger and more global than in the thirties of the 20th century.
What does it mean for learning and education?
At least some tendencies, discussions and political moves can be observed.


Economic aspect.

One of the first reactions is to emphasize the importance of schooling. Many governments are willing to invest in education. The United States wants to spend 150 billion dollars to improve education and in Europe France and Germany are willing to spent a considerable amount of money for improving their educational systems too. Other countries, like the Netherlands for instance, spent nothing. The crisis reveils that Europe is far from united in her educational policy and philosophy of education. As there is a lack of money, attempts are made to look for cheaper solutions. E-learning, in combination with mathetic learning (without a teacher intervention) sounds attractive for some politicians. No need for schools and teachers. Just provide learning environments and content. In some countries the role of home education is part of the discussion. As parents take the role of school, it is cheaper. But there is no garantuee for a desired national quality. These solution are economic oriented and therefore interesting for politicians. However the dilemma is the control on succesful desired outcomes.

Content and moral aspect.

Another reaction and discussion is about the contents and tasks of a school in a period of economic crisis. The latest report of the American center on Education and Economy reveils some of the ideas. A distinction is made in "hard skills" (mathematics, language education and other traditional content areas) and "soft skills" (problem solving, being able to work in groups, being able to learn new content and skills, creativity and others)
How learning should take place is highly influenced by the culture of the educational system of the country. Some countries like a more restricted educational climate for their pupils, with a minimum of freedom, where others are in favour of more freedom and responsability for their educational system.
In some European countries the idea is that the school is the place where children should feel safe and can have some hope for the future. Growing up without any hope and perspective is one of the main threats for a moral and economic climate. This task includes specific capacities for teachers.

Access to sources is crucial.

The role of ICT and multimedia as tools for learning and also means of dealing with the crisis is highly agreed by almost all countries. As we are living in a global economy, but not in a global moral society, we have a large task in using the tools and possibilities of the ICT world.

Learning mathetic, independent, could be of great worth in a time where waiting for help is not always possible. Doing this by using elearning and ICT tools is almost inevitable. Having access to internet is therefore necessary to have enough chances for these learning processes. Those who have no access are very endangered in a time of global economic crisis.