11 de maio de 2020, Universidade de Coimbra

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The mere act of referring to the value of education spontaneously derives the exploration of several possible meanings for the theme. As it is the case that by its obviousness the question of its importance immediately prompts. However, a second meaning only appears through an effort of deepening. Educating requires courage. Courage on the part of those who educate and on the part of those who educated themselves. But when assembled, these interlocutors can catalyse – which means to activate – a plurality of values.

Foremost, by taking the person – in his/hers categorial multidimensionality – as the purpose of education we express his/hers value for envisaging his/hers emergence and desirable fulfilment. The person is value, is a carrier of values, is an accomplisher of values, longs for values and is a creator of values. How, then, could education fail to engage with such dynamics?

It has been unfazedely asserted that the crucial “telos” of education is human perfectibility. And, in fact, the almost axiomatic character of such proposition creates a pregnant clearing in the field of education, both in the theoretical and in the practical plan. What really happens is that as we sate it, instantaneously, a series of conceptual configurations are thus given to be seen. In particular, we seek to concomitantly think on how perfectibility cannot fail to suppose and claim for freedom in education. The freedom to educate and, above all, the freedom of the student to build himself as a person in, by and for freedom.

Here, the two invoked educational parameters almost leave us satisfied with the openness to the multiplicity of educational problems – theoretical and practical – that is allowed and gives rise to reflection and commitment. However, as the person, as existence, is weaved through a narrative whose present, burdened with a past, glares the future, longing for meaning, we cannot fail to notice that the person always supposes and imagines an ideal. May it be the “end of all ends” or the “ideal of the imagination” that everyone seeks? If education, roaming freedom, was left exclusively to perfectibility, would we not run the risk of descending into a perverse process framework which, supposedly wishing to be of improvement, could yet be alien to the happiness of the educand? Were not some children made genius pianists by practicing to the point of exhaustion? Can not a child learn by heart the book of tables by means of lived or promised punishments?

In times of “speedy without heading and powerful without cause,” under the empire of the “instrumental reason” and the disorientation of the “critical reason,” in which we become blind to the “usefulness of the useless”, thus obliterating narrativity in all grounds and sowing fragmentation, the question of the values ​​of education emerges with great urgency. What to educate, how to educate, what for to educate? Concerning the answers, we look forward to the polyphony of voices that DPR has always embraced and wants to continue to welcome, opening a stage for difference and its possible conjugation within an open society looking for hope.