Last November Barcelona hosted the 13th International Congress of Educating Cities, assembling representatives from over 470 cities worldwide. This international event presented 150 educational experiences from 36 different countries focusing on the theme “An Educating City is an Inclusive City”.
People must be taught in ways that enable them to adapt to the globalisation, to bring them to confront worldwide complexity and to allow them to maintain autonomy when faced with an overload of information controlled by economic and political powers.
The educating city becomes a promoter of wellbeing and of life opportunities for citizens; it is organised as an inclusive space for living together, holding dialogues and connecting, while also favouring the growth of innovation and creativity.
Wanting to address the social needs of citizens is not enough. Educating action promotes the participation and empowerment of people, generates links of belonging, recreates community.
The Apropa Cultura programme, the Deslimita’m project and the time exchange initiative at the restaurant La Trobada in Terrassa are three examples of the fight against social exclusion through culture, drama and employment.
Art transcends boundaries, including those within a society. The project teatroDENTRO and the writing contest Vivències have a shared ambition to bring words and culture to new and unexpected places, such as Barcelona’s prisons.
In the town of Viladecans, the project Awi.net gives courses in digital literacy that pair up one senior citizen with one young person, who may or may not be a member of the same family.
Technological progress is good and is here to stay, but we should not accept it as a dominant factor in our lives, as a purpose in its own right, lacking control and short on ethical principles.
Our challenge is bringing education back as a way of life and a route to becoming better human beings, in the Confucian line of thought. With human development as the goal, education will cease to be a mere instrument at the service of the economy.