Tag Archive for: Education
On the 15th anniversary of the Escola Europea…
-“Farewell,” said the little prince sadly.
-“Farewell,” said the fox. “Here is my secret:
Only with the heart can one see well; the most important is invisible to the eyes”.
-“Only with the heart… What is most important is invisible to the eyes….”
– repeated the little prince to remind himself.
-“What makes your rose important is the time you have devoted to it.”
-“It is the time I have devoted to it…” repeated the little prince in order to remember it.
-“Men have forgotten this great truth,” said the fox. “You must not forget it! You are responsible, forever, for what you have cared for. You are responsible for your rose…..”
-“I am responsible for my rose!” -repeated the little prince to remind himself of it.
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“We learn together” is a declaration of principles and an arrow into the heart of someone who has dedicated a large part of their professional life to education and training. In 2017, the BBVA bank, in collaboration with the Spanish newspaper El País, launched the educational project “Let’s learn together”, which aimed to pave the way for a better life, and which materialised in a series of easily accessible videos on the internet featuring interviews, stories and workshops with the participation of well-known people in the field of education, teachers, intellectuals and a long etcetera. It was a marvel that I recommend without reservation. In one of them, Nuccio Ordine, a professor at the University of Calabria and writer, takes part. In a brilliant talk, he quotes several times from The Little Prince to refer to the relationship between people and the cultivation of these relationships. In doing so, he refers to the passage of the encounter between the little prince and the desert fox. I wanted to begin this article by taking the last part of the encounter in which beautiful things happen. The first thing is that it tells us is that what is most important is invisible to our eyes. We already knew that, but we need to be reminded of it often so as not to forget it. Secondly, that what is important is what we have dedicated our time to, the scarcest and most precious resource we have. And that when we have established an emotional bond with the other, we are also responsible for it.
Think for a moment that the rose is our Port Community. With it, with its members, we can have a distant and indefinite relationship. Or, alternatively, a close relationship with strong ties in which we recognise and need each other. One in which we collaborate and help each other, without ceasing to compete in what we must compete in. To get to know each other we have to spend time with each other in reciprocity, including education.
To build this relationship we need time, rituals, symbols, and values to share and to recognise each other. I hardly ever talk about time because it is generally interpreted from the point of view of the priority that we give to things. In other words, we have time for what interests us, and we prioritise it as such. Rituals, on the other hand are more subtle. They are articulated by joint activities that are carried out. Here I would highlight the Port Community Governing Council. The working groups that have sprouted over the years play a fundamental role. One of the most effective, in my opinion, groups is the Telematic Forum, to which I belonged for many years, and which plays a fundamental coordinating role in the smooth running of the sector’s operations. In recent years, I have promoted what is now the Occupation and Training Working Group, in which the main actors of a Port Logistics Community participate and are represented together with representatives from the world of employment and education – members who have never before maintained a direct and continuous link with the port. This benefits everyone. It is a clear example of the PPP (public private partnership) that has characterised the way many of the western port communities have operated in terms of port development investments for decades. And it is through these groups that we can say that we learn together.
I have long maintained that these relationships produce synapses and shape a collective intelligence that enriches us and makes us stronger. The Port of Barcelona‘s Strategic Plan identifies competition between gateway logistics chains as the fundamental factor for the future. In my opinion, this involves competition between logistics-port communities, which must be capable of creating solutions that adapt to the needs of each moment, through a dynamic disappearance process, and altered to the evolutionary needs of the market. This is something that John Gattorna defined as living supply chains. These communities must increasingly become so, also from an international point of view. Our trade missions must serve to promote real cooperation between operators in each port. This will certainly involve setting up systems that allow for permanent and sustained contact over time. The recent cooperation agreement between the Port of Barcelona and the Port of Busan in South Korea serves as a good example of the start of a network with such characteristics.
In 2022 an event took place that I believe will mark a turning point in relations in the world of education and that will become a symbol in time. With the start of a new academic year it was announced that, after the summer, a public high school will be set up in the port. It will offer a higher degree in logistics, transport and international trade. It will extend the training to cover everything from initial training to occupational training. My idea for this institute in the port is that companies should be involved from the beginning. The training should be dual, and students should do part of their training inside the companies. It will also be essentials for the teachers to be able to make short visits to the companies to meet the people who manage them and to discover their day-to-day operations first-hand. Moreover, the professionals from these companies should also be occasional teachers at the high school. This would allow the students to gain knowledge directly from the sources of the information.
Ideally I would also like for it to be a great centre of education that defends values. That we would all be able to learn and educate together, with shared responsibilities and commitment. At the Escola we have always said that we provide education and values that identify with creativity, innovation, dialogue, self-determination, work, commitment to people and the environment, and knowledge. We hope that we can help everyone share such goals’ and that the effort will make us stand out for having tried to do things well.
“My flower perfumed my planet …
I couldn’t understand anything then! I should have judged her by her actions and not by her words. She perfumed and illuminated my life! I shouldn’t have run away! I didn’t know how to recognise the tenderness behind her poor astuteness! Flowers are so contradictory! And… I was too young to know how to love her”.
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Learning and moving forward together is the challenge that we must work towards, because together we are strong. Building our Community has to be a priority and that means dedicating time and effort to it. We need to be aware of its contradictions and shortcomings, and appreciate what it does for us. Even if we may find it hard to recognise and sometimes only become aware when we go out to other ports in the world. We have a treasure that we must nurture in order to continue learning together.
While unemployment continues to follow an upward curve, a large majority of companies complain of talent shortages, and of having difficulty finding candidates with the right set of skills.
The education systems of many Mediterranean countries are producing many graduates with skills that do not match those demanded by businesses and which are needed in a competitive labour market. We are talking about a generation of graduates without adequate training and skills to contribute productively to the modern-day economy.
To solve this pressing issue, governments, businesses and the education world must join forces to align skills with needs. Businesses can play an important role in the job creation process by properly tapping into their own ecosystems. The academic sector needs to adopt a more practical approach and develop appropriate training programmes, focusing on immediate priorities while driving long-term systematic reforms. Governments also need to change the framework: from a position of command and control to one of communication and convening. A new paradigm is needed and only by working together in a multi-partnership can we hope to achieve meaningful results.
Education is a powerful force that can accelerate economic growth, improve income distribution, facilitate social mobility, and reduce poverty: something that should be high on the political agenda.
The Mediterranean must prepare itself to handle the global battles of innovation, knowledge and sustainability. In the region, the most immediate economic challenge is not diversification, or new tax regimes, but namely the creation of enough productive and sustainable jobs for its youth. At the same time, there is the challenge of equipping ourselves with the mix of talents and skills that will make us more competitive in the digital revolution and the Industry 4.0.
Change is a pre-determined state; we must learn to prepare for it, and we are facing unprecedented changes, some of which bring with them threats of a global magnitude and on scales that can be measured in decades. The scope of the current COVID-19 pandemic, for example, is a wake-up call.
In this context, education becomes an increasingly important resource if change is not to be feared or unexpected, and this raises the question of universal access. The more of the world is well educated, the more likely it is to be able to cope with changes that offer opportunities and challenges.
Schools must provide an education that produces students who take risks without fear of change: innovative, creative, analytical, techno-enthusiastic, ethical and resilient. These are the young future leaders of tomorrow. A good education is as important and vital a provision as having a home, food or healthcare.
Young people are ready to move society and the economy forward, yet without access to quality education and training opportunities, they cannot participate in the 21st century workforce. The passport to winning is to offer them education in the most challenging environments, with the skills and certification they need.
Economic progress is related to training and innovation activities, and there is a correlation between social progress and entrepreneurial activity. Innovation is the path to survival and development, the fuel for constant progress, and the model for the rise of a company or a nation.
The main key to innovation is training. Companies that invest in providing their employees with the right skills are the ones that grow. Governments must do the same, improving skills and encouraging innovation among their employees and in the education system. Governments also need to rebalance spending, as well as invest in the tangible such as infrastructure, and equally in intangibles such as education, research and development.
Simultaneously, within this framework, universities must bridge the gap between the classroom and businesses through practical programmes that develop the skills for business creation, decision-making and risk management.
Harnessing a country’s human potential means having a long-term strategy to cope with a rapidly changing environment and to ensure that the rights of groups and individuals are respected.
It is necessary to define the characteristics of national or regional policies on human capital management for sustainable development, to articulate the commitments and practices of political and economic actors in the fields of education, training and employment, and to take stock in terms of improvements between what can be done and the prospects to be envisaged.
The events of the last few years on both shores of the Mediterranean are setting the direction that governments must take: boosting lifelong and vocational training and creating jobs capable of playing a role in an open and global world. The challenge is to build together a society of knowledge and innovation based on equal opportunities for men and women.
So, without good instruction there is no order of instruction and without good instruction there is no good training and without good training there will be no economic development. Education and training are the key values for the success of any nation. The opposite condemns a country to remain underdeveloped, even if the country has natural resources or wealth.
This article appeared originally in Spanish on the Atalayar website.
Anwar Zibaoui is the General Coordinator of ASCAME and a columnist for various media outlets.