Proclaimed as Educationally Interesting by Buenos Aires City’s Council, this event hosted by Universidad Austral’s School of Education was organized under the heading, “Managing Socially-Responsible Educational Institutions –Learning, Serving, Innovating” and was attended by a large number of experts, officials and opinion leaders, who came together at IAE Business School’s Auditorium.
“Can We Afford to Be Socially ‘Irresponsible’?” With this question in mind, Julio Durand, the School of Education’s dean, opened the debate. “Although it might be hard to admit it, we often act –both personally and institutionally– as if we were not to be held accountable for actions and their consequences. Albeit not explicitly, we are constantly exposed to a life that reduces or curtails the scope of our gaze to our own selves, to our own close circle, our own ‘small cosmos’, and, as a result, we fail to notice what lies beyond that narrow scope. Perhaps unintentionally, as teachers and officials, we may validate a selfish, short-term and short-sighted approach in our educational communities. Sooner or later, such an impoverished view of the educational mission ends up unleashing challenges and complaints that quite frequently lead to painful clashes with a reality that we strive to neglect.”
Dr. Abel Albino, founder of CONIN, started the dissertations, discussing how important affection, education and nutrition are for children’s development.
“The basic needs of over sixty million children are unmet,” he claimed. “It is important to fight poverty and ignorance. A country’s key wealth lies in its human capital, and, if that capital is damaged, we have no future.”
In his lecture, he expanded on what he calls the “Five Steps to Build a Great Nation” –namely, preserving the brain, educating, providing sanitation, running and hot water, and electricity. In addition, he also underscored the importance of love for human beings as well as the crucial role played by families in people’s growth: “The family is the only school of humanity there is,” he noted and stressed the fact that we are all able to help change reality, to build a country with equal opportunities. “We don’t come here to rest; we come here to do great things,” he concluded to an overwhelming round of applause.
Thus, a call was made to reflect upon Educational Social Responsibility (ESR) and its three cornerstones. As Julio Durand put it, “We need to recognize that we have to ‘learn’ to embrace, exercise and practice ESR. What used to be enough for any educational institution seems, in many ways, to fall short or prove insufficient to face the demands of a much more complex, fragmented and conflictive society. ESR prompts us to engage many more stakeholders, who become institutions’ counterparts and force them to change, to focus, to improve, to learn, while bringing fresh air to their classrooms, to teachers’ hopes, to students’ learning.”