The Seminar will be held in English. There will be simultaneous translation channels to listen live in Spanish and French as well.
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Mathias Urban, PhD, is Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education, and -as said- Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre (ECRC) at Dublin City University, Ireland, Professor of Pedagogy at the University of Stavanger, Norway, and Affiliate Professor and Fellow at EDPolicyFORWARD: The Center for Educational Policy at George Mason University, USA. He works on questions of integrated early childhood systems, diversity and equality, social justice, and professionalism in diverse socio-cultural contexts. Mathias has over 20 years’ experience in designing and leading international collaborative research projects. He was awarded the ‘Marianne Bloch Distinguished Career Award’ by the international Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education network in 2018, and the DCU President’s Research Impact Award 2020.
Mathias is the lead author of the 2018 (Argentina), 2019 (Japan), 2020 (Saudi Arabia), 2021 (Italy) and 2022 (Indonesia) G20/T20 early childhood development, education and care policy briefs, and a member of the European Commission expert working group on Early Childhood Education and Care.
The opening will be in charge of Mercedes Mayol Lassalle, OMEP World President. The closing remarks and moderation will be in charge of Rajakumary Michaelsamy, from the Right to Education Initiative (RTE).
Mercedes Mayol Lassalle is the World President of OMEP (World Organization for Preschool Education) since January 1, 2020. National Normal Teacher, Graduate in Education Sciences, University of Buenos Aires. Former Director of the Early Childhood Education area of the City of Buenos Aires. She was Professor in the Regional Program for Training in Planning and Management of Educational Policies, IIPE-UNESCO Buenos Aires, Office for Latin America. Currently, she is a Professor in the Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Buenos Aires and Elected member of the Coordination Group of the Collective Consultation of NGOs on EDUCATION 2030 – CCNGO / ED 2030.
Rajakumari Michaelsamy is a human rights professional with over 15 years of experience in various aspects of human rights including human rights education, research, monitoring, training, intervention and advocacy. Being an ardent advocate of right to education, she has closely worked with children and educators in India from pre-primary to secondary level. She joined RTE in February 2021, and has previously worked with a range of national and international NGOs and organizations, including Pax Romana -IMCS Asia Pacific, People’s Watch-Tamil Nadu, Indian Social Institute, Child Rights and You, and Amnesty International India.
She holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights from the University of Essex and a Postgraduate Diploma in International Human Rights Law from the National Law School of India University.
Education for the ‘common good’ must be significantly promoted through support of progressive initiatives that are currently marginalised. Mathais Urban makes an important argument for this. Education for Sustainability and Resilience Education provide overall frameworks and justification for this. Within western contexts there are also progressive moments and opportunities to be exploited from within. However much we deplore the sometimes uncaring and crass brutality of the capitalist system, if we understand it then we can find the means to undermine its worse excesses:
Historically, the political philosophy of Social Justice has been progressively founded upon notions of ‘natural rights’, ‘welfare and mutual advantage’ and ‘contractual fairness’. Social justice from a modern ‘contract’ perspective is considered to be achieved through ‘fairness and impartiality’ and through a consensus where everyone agrees that working together improves chances of everyone achieving their individual goals in life. Inequalities according to this model are considered acceptable as long as they work out to everyone’s ultimate advantage and welfare priority is given to the interests of the very worst-off. There are many problems that have been acknowledged with this model of social justice. Despite its potential difficulties the contract model may be considered to reflect the democratic consensus across the western world. As its major architect, Rawls has the unique distinction among contemporary political philosophers of being frequently cited by courts of law and referred to by practicing politicians in the United States and United Kingdom.
Notions of equality of opportunity and individual freedom therefore provide major principles of contemporary philosophical and political consensus. From the perspective of the social contract the role of the State in education and in the social services is therefore accepted as one that should provide a ‘level playing field’ which is designed not so much to achieve equality of outcomes, but rather an equality of opportunity to be successful. ‘Success’ whether it be considered in material, economic and/or other terms of self realisation is, according to this consensus view, seen as the inevitable result of the free choices that individuals make in their lives. In educational terms the most significant of these choices may be considered to be the deferred gratification that individuals accept in foregoing the short-term rewards of idle play or an early income to achieve long-term educational achievements. But it is important to recognise that in their early years individual children are not yet in any position to make such a choice. Household poverty or other barriers in early childhood often act to exclude the very possibility of making such choices.
The major issue to be addressed in this context is that if one is to ensure that children are in a position to take advantage of a level playing field provided in their subsequent schooling, then at first equality of outcome in the pre-school period must be achieved.
(Taking Children Seriously – How the EU can Invest in early Childhood Education for a Sustainable Future, EPSD – European Panel on Sustainable development Report 2010)