The Error of Training Professionals
Social Scientist Calls for Open-Minded Teamworkers
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Education is focused on "employability," such that society does not seem to concern itself with training persons, but rather professionals, says a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
José Raga, economics professor at the Complutense University in Spain, said this today when he presented conclusions from the academy's plenary assembly, which ended Tuesday.
Raga was the coordinator of the plenary session.
The professor spoke of four elements: a) Economic aspects; b) moral considerations; c) social framework; and d) education fundaments.
Regarding the last element, he said that education is continually spoken of, and yet, "faced with the turbulences of life, it seems that the man finds himself without a response, without the instruments to confront adversity."
Instead of responding to the economic crisis with a spirit of fight that leads to action, Raga observed, there is often discouragement.
"Therefore," he proposed, "it is interesting to ask ourselves: What is the education that we are providing to young people? What is the real goal of the educational process? Do material elements and short-term, continue to be the objectives of educational action?"
Raga contended that even a superficial look at the educational process reveals that "the profession is the spotlight that illuminates the educational process. That is to say, in all probability, we are not training persons, but rather professionals, and these we shape free of commitment to the society in which they will exercise their function."
It cannot be surprising, then, "that in the current crisis, there has been an abundance of cheating and fraud and excessive regard for the short-term coupled with disdain for that which belongs to the long-term," he said.
Raga lamented that the "concept of community or that of society is absent."
Moreover, he said, in such a scenario "knowledge and the enjoyment of knowledge and its discovery does not appear to hold a preeminent place."
"The fact is that knowledge as an input in the formation of the personality is not even considered to be appropriate," Raga declared. "Knowledge is defined as what might be considered useful for the practice of the professional activity. Hence, the term most employed in educational policy today is 'employability.'"
The consequence is employment seekers who "lack the basics of who they are and what their purpose is."
"If what we sow is materialism, if predominance is granted to utilitarian schemes as opposed to greatness of the heart and commitment to the good of others, we cannot wait anything other than what we have contemplated in the current economic crisis," he said.
Instead, Raga called for "open-minded people, with the capacity to integrate into working teams and with ability for reflection; we aim for people who are convinced that the world is so complex that only with the cooperation of others will we achieve the fruit of our labors; moreover, that only with a joint vision will it be possible to find a solution, through the cooperative interaction of those who commit in it."
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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29157?l=english