“All over the world, formal education supplies the economy with workers who will increase productivity. Its purpose is to fuel the economic machine rather than to alter its inner workings. But this machine now threatens our very survival. If the entire world reaches the levels of consumption seen in high-income countries today, we’ll need multiple planet Earths to supply the resources. The absurd idea of infinite growth within a finite territory is at the heart of our economic system.
To keep this machine running, formal education generates ever more efficient “human capital.” Increasing productivity metrics—such as revenue per employee or return on investment—rather than the individuality of students, drive our civilization’s approach to schooling our young people. Whereas the Sustainable Development Goals call for turning education into a force for sustainability, the opposite is often true: the ways Western societies have come to think about education undermine our ability to deal with the environmental crisis. To get through this crisis, we need to cultivate our imagination, not undermine it.[…]
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