Stars in the sky

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, September 2019

Have you heard of the “Democratic Voice of Youth”? It is an association of young people who have grown tired of waiting for us oldies finally to wake up.

These young people wrote a very interesting manifesto in as long ago as 2017 – that is, measured by the length of their life, a long time before Greta focused public attention on the “voice of youth” – of which I would like to quote some sentences from the preamble here: “It is clear that education has to be completely rethought. That is why we want to make a move. We young people have ideas about what needs to change, where that might lead, and we have visions of what education should look like if it is to do justice to children and society, indeed humanity. We see these visions as stars in the sky, they seem unattainably distant, yet they are visible and we want to set out to reach these stars. In long and numerous discussions we found out that we are not all looking at the same star but that they are quite close to one another in the sky. So as we embark on our journey, we travel a long way towards our visions together until we have come so close to them that they point us in different directions. ... But before we reach that point, there are important steps which guide us all in the right direction. In what follows, we want to draw a map so that everyone can find this path. We are, of course, referring to the stars towards which we are travelling, which guide us, but also to the path which needs to be embarked upon. We name a few milestones which we can reach in the near future. We wish the reader of this manifesto of youthful visions a sure step and a clear, starry sky.”

Beautiful, isn’t it? And what are a few milestones we can reach in the near future? These, for example: liberalisation of admission to higher education; equal funding for independent schools; reform of teacher training and selection; a different understanding of learning achievements; a culture which allows for constructive learning from mistakes; abolition of mandatory testing; upgrading the teaching profession; building democracy.

Followed by very many stars, each one beautiful in itself – also for us. The Waldorf schools have resolved to make this year one of new departures in which we project our hearts, with all the experience and knowledge which the past century has given humanity, ahead into the new century in order to find answers to the really important questions of education of our time. I believe that the young people who wrote this manifesto have identified some of these answers with great precision. They are political answers to fundamental, philosophical questions.

If you want to get to know the young people, come on 19 September to the Youth Pavilion at the Waldorf 100 Festival in Berlin’s Tempodrom. And if you want to read more, you can do so here: demokratische-stimme-der-jugend.de

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