Listen. Where were you in 1973?
I am just about to start school, but I already know the letters and numbers. I am eager to learn, to become a grown-up.
The same year, the first issue of this publication Adult Education and Development (AED) sees daylight. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) puts a stranglehold on the West for supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War; we get the first oil crisis. The US withdraws from Vietnam. The World Trade Centre in New York becomes the world’s tallest building. Indira Gandhi is still prime minister in India; Nixon is president in the US. Martial law is declared in Greece after student riots. Pinochet seizes power in Chile.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. We have come a long way since then, yet we are still stuck in the same place.
The first article in the first issue of AED is called A Short Review of the Most Important Decisions of the Third World Conference on Adult Education, Tokyo 1972. Looking back at 1973 makes me dizzy. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
In your hand you now hold the latest incarnation of the journal Adult Education and Development. We have rethought, redesigned and restarted, with the ambition to be in touch with our times. Our editorial board, with members from all over the world, has decided on a topical approach. From now on, Adult Education and Development will be published once a year and will focus on one topic per issue.
You noticed the cover, right? We are pretty proud of it. Each cover will be a unique piece of art, created for the journal by a different artist. Oh, and there are tons more of changes and innovations, for example an accompanying virtual seminar organised by our cooperation partner ICAE. But I invite you to explore the journal and see for yourself.
However, before you start, I would like to explain why we chose the topic for this issue.
We made this publication about Post 2015. It is about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the global discussion on what should happen after 2015, the year the MDGs expire. To do that properly, we need to understand what brought us here.
What you will see on these pages reflects our attempt at making sense of a very complex issue. One thing will come back in article after article: Education is a Human Right. This is true today, this was true in 1972 when the World Conference in Tokyo stated that:
Learning is life long; the education of adults and of children and youth are inseparable. But to be an effective agent of change, education must engage the active commitment and participation of adults. It should seek to improve living conditions and the general quality of life. Apathy, poverty, disease and hunger are major human evils facing the world today. They can be eradicated only by making people aware of what causes them and how to conquer them. Social improvement and Adult Education are thus complementary. [...]
Experience shows that the provision of more education in most communities tends to favour most the already well educated; the educationally underprivileged have yet to claim their rights. Adult Education is no exception to the rule, for those adults who most need education have been largely neglected – they are the forgotten people.
Thus the major task of Adult Education during the Second Development Decade of the United Nations is to seek out and serve these forgotten people.1
We are still struggling with the same problems. I hope we can contribute to serve the forgotten people through the publication of our journal.
1 / UNESCO (1972): Final Report. Third International Conference on Adult Education. Available at bit.ly/1blv3vg