The value of a holistic education that prepares children through Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) has gained attention and fanfare over the last several years in the Western hemisphere. Programmes, research centres, and organisations, including the UN, are acknowledging that the focus on teaching for the test is insufficient and that education needs a thorough “rethinking.” Enterprising initiatives stress the “new” focus to teach what have, in previous iterations of schooling, been considered the “soft skills” of character education to help young people navigate the vicissitudes of life.
We emphasize the word “new” here because ideas of holistic education that address the interplay of mind, body, and spirit, are not new. Aspects of SEL, including critical inquiry, mindfulness, compassion, and empathy, are part of learning systems in many world cultures. What is new in the greater scheme of human history is the industrial age shift to education for worker and civic development. In this sense, SEL is indeed a rethinking because it requires a return to globally diverse paradigms of learning and serves as an intervention towards correcting some of the damage done by education-for-hegemony or sameness……………………………………………………………………….
The Flexible Learning Strategies for Out of School Children programme is a UNESCO initiative with the aim of supporting inclusive and quality education for every child in the region. Our goal is to reach the remaining and most vulnerable 5% of children with no access to education in the region and support quality improvements in learning for every child.
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