C. Co-ordination of educational and cultural policies
9. Many speakers referred to the mechanisms for co-ordination of educational and cultural policies in Their countries. In some countries this co-ordination was achieved by integrating the responsibilities for educational and cultural policies within one ministry at the national level; in others where the central or national government had only limited jurisdiction over education or culture, the responsibilities for co-ordination were decentralised. One delegate suggested that in this area the principle of 'subsidiary' - to regulate or co-ordinate at a higher level only those questions which could not be decided more easily or effectively at a lower level - was particularly relevant, since there were advantages in leaving the decision-making responsibilities relating especially to cultural activities close to the citizens and private associations who were directly involved and willing to pay for them.
10. Many, if not most, speakers informed the Conference of the policies adopted in their countries towards cultural minorities and of the role assigned to education in ensuring that their cultural identhes would be preserved while enabling them to participate fully in the life of the wider society. One delegate, referring to the 77 national languages now taught in the schools in his country including 12 different languages used as the medium of instruction, evoked the metaphor of education as 'a garden where many beautiful flowers bloom'; previous policies apparently had been based on the concept of a 'melting pot' which, he said, had had 'devastating consequences' in the case of many rare languages and the levelling of cultures. Another speaker evoked Mahatma Gandhi's metaphor of the different cultures of humanity showing their faces like the leaves of a big and sarong tree.
11. Delegates from a number of developing nations observed that there was often a wide and deliberately created gap between educational systems modelled on those of the colonializing power and designed mainly to provide the clerks and low-level civil servants required by colonial administrations and the cultures of the formerly colonised peoples in which the educational system was immersed. At independence, they explained, it had become necessary to redesign the functioning of the education system and the purposes it served in order to adapt it to the indigenous culture and enable it to meet emerging national needs. The introduction of national languages was cited by several speakers as an essential step in this process. Delegates from recently independent countries observed that this difficult process of adjustment was still under way and represented one of the most important tasks that had to be accomplished in order to increase the contribution of education to cultural development.
12. Several speakers reminded the Conference that 'education' was a broader concept than 'schooling'. Non-formal and out-of-school education, they said, could play a very useful role in contributing to the overall cultural development of a society. Some speakers mentioned that adult education programmes in their countries were extremely active in the cultural domain, in certain cases even compensating for the deficiencies of the regular school system in that respect.
13. Some speakers noted that an awareness of the cultural dimension of education was a necessary corrective to purely quantitative approaches which regarded ever-increasing access to education as a goal sufficient in itself. Qualitative aspects were central in any conception of the role and purposes of education and these aspects could not be formulated without reference to the cultural dimension.
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