The next edition of the Green European Journal will explore a crucial question facing society: that of education. Are today’s education systems meeting the needs of individuals and communities? What should education look like in the 21st century? Through looking at the challenges facing education systems in Europe, the next edition will analyse key trends shaping the politics of education in Europe and explore perspectives, ideas, and proposals that Green politics can bring to the debate on its future.
From battles over which books should be read and which should be banned, to what items of clothing can be worn, and how much time should be dedicated to each field of study – what happens in the classroom is the subject of impassioned debate. Moreover, education was one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic as repeated waves of lockdown and isolation shut down classrooms and in-person learning. The abrupt shift exposed many of the stresses facing education systems at all levels; from inequality in access, to the digitalisation of teaching methods. But if the pandemic and polemics have made education a hot topic, the challenges it faces are much more profound.
Many of the certainties that education systems were built around no longer hold. From a model of school education that resembles the rhythm of 19-century factory life to approaches and disciplines that divide rather than bring together, education’s form and content do not always reflect the realities of our interdependent world. Rigid conventions around what constitutes knowledge and how it should be imparted create barriers to recognising the plurality of ways of thinking and learning. If education was in the past a tool to teach religion or convey the sense of “imagined community” on which nations depend, what is its purpose today?
If the answer is to provide opportunity to all, its meritocratic promise is belied by growing inequality across the Western world. So how can we reform our education systems to take us closer to the kind of society we aspire to live in? If we let go of the traditions and rules that have governed our education systems to date, can we imagine a form of education that would meaningfully equip people to tackle the material and social challenges that lie before them? Beyond the pressures scarce public funding in recent decades place on education systems, this next edition intends to investigate these more fundamental political questions around education today.
The recognition of the ecological crisis is one of the starkest differences between the outlook for society in the 21st century compared to that which preceded it. Shared institutions will have to be rethought to ensure societies can live well and prosper without destroying the natural systems that sustain them. Education is no exception. A means to prepare people for their lives and livelihoods, support change throughout life, and empower the individual, education is one of the keys in the transition to a more sustainable society.
What would you like to write about? Here are some ideas:
- The politics of education – How is education pulled into political debates in Europe? What is contested within education and why?
- Education and employment – Is education equipping people for a prosperous and secure future? Is it geared towards socially useful work? To what extent should education be tailored to the needs of employment and the economy?
- Demographics and education – What impact do demographic trends such as societal ageing and migration have on education systems? How might education systems be rethought to adapt to such trends? How do migration and displacement affect access to education?
- Education and inequality – What is the relationship between education and inequality? How is education reinforcing patterns of inequality? Is education a means for social mobility or a barrier between rich and poor?
- Falling trust in institutions – What explains the decline in public trust in institutions when it comes to systems of knowledge and how does it relate to our education system? How can forms of knowledge beyond formal study or credentials be built into education systems?
- Ecology and environment – How can understanding and awareness of the natural world be built into education systems? How can education become a means to deepen understanding of processes such as climate change in a bid to find solutions?
- Shared narratives through education – How can education be a means to overcome divisions between and within societies? How can education contribute to the development of a society free from discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, and sexuality?
- The Green New Deal, just transition and education – What role should education play in proposals for a Green New Deal? What is the place of education and training in experiences of and proposals for just transition? What lessons?
- Europe, globalisation and education – What should be the place of Europe in education systems?
- Book reviews and political ecology thinking – Who are the key thinkers shaping political ecology thinking on education? What are the fundamental questions and ideas that can inspire green visions for education?
We do not just want theoretical or academic articles for this edition of the Green European Journal. We are looking for lively texts that will stimulate debate and imagination, and we are also open to formats such as interviews, photo essays, infographics, and comics. All contributions that take a fresh approach to understand the questions set out in this call are welcome.
The Green European Journal strives to be an inclusive space, bringing together a diverse range of voices and perspectives. We welcome contributions from everyone. Contributions from those belonging to the following groups are especially encouraged: women, people of colour, people with a physical or mental disability, LGBTQI+ individuals, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. Contributions from southern and eastern Europe and from outside the European Union are particularly welcome.
If you would like to make a submission but require some support to do so, we invite you to contact us directly. Send us a summary of your proposed contribution and introduce yourself before submitting a draft. We’re happy for contributors to write in a language of their choosing. Before contacting us, check our editorial guidelines carefully. Submissions may be published in print or online.
The deadline for pitches and ideas was 18 March 2022.