The last couple of weeks there have been a discussion in Sweden regarding a survey made by the company World Values Survey. The company made a survey amongst 1200 people and among them youth aged 18-29 years. 2 of the questions they got was regarding democracy’s right to be and if they got paid or someone got them a job, would they give away their vote in an election. Sadly 1/4 of them said that if there would be a strong leader they could accept a dictatorship and sure, many of them could consider giving away their vote. That result is something that should bother the ministry of education and the school, because as I see it, they have been unsuccessful in their work.
Many suggest that the survey is not that reliable, because of the amount of participants (1200), among them some Parliaments Party’s Youth Associations. From the quantity perspective point of view you can understand their thougths, but it is not just this survey one should look up on, when it comes youth and their doubts about democracy. The unstable wind of racism that is blowing over Sweden is also a bedding ground to strengthen young people’s history-knowledge and the knowledge about the world surrounding them. These winds is unfortunately also blowing in many parts of the world and therefore we can not let these alarming events be due. We have to go to the bottom of this and create a school that is founded in and starts from the human rights, in every society.
In the society of today, many children and youth see the own material welfare as most important to be succesfull in this world. That is one problem, as I see it, for them to learn more about the world surrounding them. It is my guess that many people that leave school do not know who Adolf Hitler, Martin Luther King, Robert Mugabe, Ratko Mladic etc. were or is. The responsible for education anywhere has to act, because it is through education that we can put out the mischievous flame of ignorance that is burning when it comes to human being’s equality and dictatorship.
It is not enough to once a year, arrange during a day or a week, where the students live like “they” do on the other side of this planet to get sympathy for less fortunate individuals. The ones responsible for education have to find other forms in their work to improve the knowledge, by, for example, invite human beings that has lived under a dictator and can tell about their experience. That will bring a better prerequisite for the stories told about violations against the humanity to stick in the memory of the young.
Another thing to do that will improve the results of history-knowledge is to make use of young people’s technical knowledge and create interactive channels, where they can follow historical course of events in a way that they can assimilate. In these channels the children’s and youth’s idols should be used.
The concluding suggestion on how to handle the above question is the use of unemployed academics in this world and especially those in the field of Human Rights, International Relations etc. I am one and I know I can do a lot when it comes to human rights. Just let us into the play and we will bring the world a miracle.