Permanent education : a comparative study of selected national systems of education and their relevance to Chile
It could be argued that since the 1950's and 1960's the need to re—examine the role of education in society has become an urgent task. The need for educational change includes the learning of new job skills, acceptance of new responsibilities, the knowledge of prospective manpower needs and job opportunities, etc. So, modern educational policy should above all be characterised by a deep understanding of the fact that in today's world there are and should be many more varied ways of providing instruction and that educational needs cannot be satisfied by the school alone. In other words, what might be necessary is the adoption of an educa— tional alternative that represents an attempt to adapt education to the conditions of modern life, that sees all educational trends and practices not as isolated, independent and without relevance to each other, but as corresponding in each case to one aspect of the overall innovative patterns imposed by modern conditions. This alternative could be permanent education. In a permanent education system the education must form a coordinated totality in which all sectors of society are structurally integrated. It will be universalised and continual. It may be observed that in order to build a firm theore— tical basis for permanent education one does not have to start from scratch. At present there exists a vast and relevant amount of knowledge about the foundations of education, human development, learning processes, etc., which should be usable, subject to its refinement and reinterpretation. But it is necessary to stress that it is unrealistic to expect permanent education to transform the educational practice of a society, in any case, no wholesale adoption of all aspects of permanent education can be realistically expected; but its acceptance as a principle could certainly contribute to fostering the conditions in which education was accepted throughout life, and in which existing practices were more open to other learning influences. In other words, it would transform what already exists, in order to make experiences favourable to permanent education easier for people. It is also necessary to enphasise that educational prac— tice varies in different contexts, depending upon determinants and influences such as a country's geography and history, technological development, socio—political and economic system and many other factors. Thus no single set of prescriptions for educational prac— tice can be given which can be applied in all countries, or even in a single country at different times in its historical development. For example the perspective of permanent education in a country with a per capita income of 300 dollars or less is, obviously, different from that in a country where the average income os 4000 dollars per annum and where 70 per cent of the population have received secondary education. Consequently educational prac— tice in the perspective of permanent education will differ from society to society according to a large number of local conditions and traditions and, because an educational system is a national res— ponsibility, a complete educational policy will include political, social, economic and cultural, as well as purely educational objec— tives, promoting the kind of educational changes required to adapt the educational system of the changing world.