Broadening international co-operation in the global village (Jacques Delors)

The Commission noted the growing tendency, in the political and
economic spheres, to resort to international action as a way of finding
satisfactory solutions to problems that have a global dimension, if only
because of the growing interdependence that has so often been
emphasized. It also regretted the inadequacy of results and stressed the
need for reform of international institutions to make their action more
The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to the social and educational
fields. Emphasis has been deliberately placed on the importance of the
World Summit for Social Development, held in Copenhagen in March 1995.
Education occupies a prominent place in the guidelines adopted there and
this prompted the Commission to formulate, in this re s p e c t ,
recommendations concerning:
• a policy of strong encouragement for the education of girls and women,
following directly on from the recommendations of the Fourth World
Conference on Women (Beijing, September 1995);
• the allocation of a minimum percentage of development aid (a quarter
of the total) to fund education: this slanting in the direction of education
should also apply to international funding institutions, first and foremost
the World Bank, which already plays an important role;
• the development of ‘debt-for-education swaps’ to offset the adverse
effects of adjustment policies and policies for reducing internal and
external deficits upon public spending on education;
• the widespread introduction of the new ‘information society’
technologies in all countries, to prevent yet another gap opening up
between rich countries and poor countries; and
• tapping into the outstanding potential offered by non-governmental
organizations, and hence by grass-roots initiatives, which could provide
a valuable backup to international co-operation.
These few suggestions should be seen in the context of partnership
rather than aid. After so many failures and so much waste, experience
militates in favour of partnership, globalization makes it inescapable, and
there are some encouraging examples, such as the successful co-operation
and exchanges within regional groupings, the European Union being a
case in point.
Another justification for partnership is that it can lead to a ‘win-win
situation’: whilst industrialized countries can assist developing countries by
the input of their successful experiences, their technologies and financial
and material resources, they can learn from the developing countries ways
of passing on their cultural heritage, approaches to the socialization of
children and, more fundamentally, different cultures and ways of life.
The Commission expresses the hope that the Member States will give
UNESCO the necessary resources to enable it to foster both the spirit of
partnership and partnership in action, along the lines suggested by the
Commission to the Twenty-eighth Session of the General Conference.
UNESCO can do this by publicizing successful innovations and helping to
establish networks on the basis of gra s s – roots initiatives by nongovernmental
organizations, whether aiming to develop education of a
high standard (UNESCO pro f e s s o rships) or to stimulate re s e a rc h
We also believe it has a central role to play in developing the new
information technologies in such a way that they serve the interests of
quality education.
More fundamentally, however, UNESCO will serve peace and mutual
understanding by emphasizing the value of education as a manifestation
of the spirit of concord, stemming from the will to live together, as
active members of our global village, thinking and organizing for the
good of future generations. It is in this way that UNESCO will
contribute to a culture of peace.
For the title of its report, the Commission turned to one of La
Fontaine’s fables, The Ploughman and his Children:
Be sure (the ploughman said), not to sell the inheritance
Our forebears left to us:
A treasure lies concealed therein.
Readapting slightly the words of the poet, who was lauding the virtues of
hard work, and referring instead to education – that is, everything that
humanity has learned about itself – we could have him say:
But the old man was wise
To show them before he died
That learning is the treasure.


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