Introduction by Jaroslav Anděl, series editor
We are living in a period of an unprecedented speed of technological change. This acceleration prompts critical questions about the sustainability of our institutions and way of life. It presents a challenge to systems of education created for the needs of the past, rather than those of the present and future. This series of online roundtables seeks to engage invited thinkers and the public in an effort to find answers to one of the most challenging questions of the present time: What education do we need?
The acceleration of technological changes generates contentions regarding the goals as well as the means of learning and education. Consequently, debates about education often result in fragmentation and polarization. To address this challenge, this series focuses on topical issues in education, including democracy, machine learning, and sustainability, by relating them both to each other, and to the question: What education do we need?
The system of liberal democracy seems to be on the retreat. We are witnessing the rise of populism and doubts about the sustainability of liberal democracy. Various scholars (for instance, Seymour Martin Lipset in 1959 and Edward Glaeser et al. in 2004) have pointed out that the democratic values we live by directly correlate with our education. As John Dewey argued more than a century ago, the quality of democracy depends on the quality of education. Democracy and education are intrinsically related. For this reason, the question “What education do we need?” must first be posed in relation to the current state of democracy.
Banner image: stills from Sit Straight (2008) by Eva Koťátková. 4 videos, Courtesy Hunt Kastner Gallery, Prague