Education and Societal Change

Recognizing the need to create a global society to serve the essential needs of education, a group of young people decided to answer the call of their time by establishing a not-for-profit public-benefit organization for the advancement of education. As a human-centered entity, INDIE Education Initiative (INDIE Ed I) adopts a broad and expansive understanding of education where teaching and learning do not occur only within an institutionalized context. Education, from this point of view, is a phenomenon that is fluid and can take place anywhere. It is an action that involves people on multiple levels who work to create the spaces for learning to occur in a way that is most natural to a learner. Working in collaboration with local and international partners, INDIE Ed I aims to foster, through studied resourcefulness, a cooperative educational environment worldwide that empowers learners, develops their potential, and cultivates their character.

INDIE Ed I creates such cooperative educational environment using an educational model based on questions rather than preconceived solutions. INDIE Ed I believes that the challenges of education differ from place to place and that, effective solutions are those that are organically designed within a situated context. Drawing upon the vast global experiences and local expertise, INDIE Ed I develops innovative approaches that expand opportunities for educative experiences.

There is a clear need for the kind of holistic education that INDIE Ed I provides. Although on the surface, the purpose of education in each country may seem different, a deeper level of analysis shows that education systems around the world serve two broad purposes: educating individuals to become law abiding citizens, and getting learners to support the economic system of their nation-state.  However, studies are increasingly showing that nation-states are not gaining the maximum value for investing in the education of their citizens. Many studies have been commissioned over the last decade to help policymakers understand why countries are not enjoying the education dividend that earlier proponents of public education promised. The key findings of some of these studies suggest that a significant majority of the students are not learning[1].  For instance, about 200 million young people leave school without acquiring the skills they need to excel in society; an estimated 250 million children worldwide cannot read, write, or count well, and an estimated 775 million adults – a significant majority of whom are women – lack the most basic reading and writing skills globally[2]. Similarly, most of the learning taking place in these institutions are not enabling people, especially in underserved communities, to actively and consciously participate in the sustainable development of their community while acquiring the skills needed to enhance their lives and that of others.

The sad truth is that if current trends persist, it is hard to see how the human race will be able to end poverty and hunger, improve health and wellbeing, make communities sustainable, combat climate change, protect oceans and forests, reduce inequality, achieve gender equality, and build peaceful society as envisioned by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

By broadening the definition and purpose of education, INDIE Ed I aims to create conditions by which individuals can facilitate for themselves the ability to learn and the desire to become conscious participants in the affairs of society. Although INDIE Ed I’s approach to education would equally make people smart and knowledgeable, it would also awaken in them a strong recognition of their own humanity and the need for knowledge to be used wisely to enhance their own lives and that of others.