Education in a free democratic society
Every person has the right to free access to information and knowledge. This is necessary in a free democratic society to guarantee a maximum of social participation to all people, regardless of their social background. Considering this goal, the main requirement of institutional education is to support the development of responsible, critical and social individuals. The main focus must be on the learners‘ interests.
Free access to information and education is not just necessary with regard to social development, however, but also for the economic development of our society.
Education is one of the major resources of the German economy. Only by preserving, sharing and multiplying knowledge can we secure progress and social change in the future. Investments in education are investments in the future.
The public education infrastructure
Free access to educational institutions is in everyone’s best interest.
Therefore it is the task of society, represented by the state, to fund a powerful, appropriate educational infrastructure and to make it widely available.
Private financing of public educational institutions is favorable, as long as it has no influence on existing curriculums.
Tuition fees of any kind limit the access to education, therefore we reject them in all instances. For the same reason, freedom of educational materials must be supported. The best way to ensure this freedom is to support and develop more free materials for the sharing of knowledge. These free creations are not just available free of charge for teaching purposes, but also allow instructors to adapt them to their lessons without legal impediments.
Even though the government is responsible for public education, learning in public institutions cannot replace parental education. A comprehensive educational system requires that both forms of education complement and support each other.
Education as an individual process
Each human is an individual with personal preferences, strengths and weaknesses. Institutional education therefore intends to support individuals in developing their talents, reducing their weaknesses and discovering new interests and skills. In addition to rigid timetables and schedules, some forms of assessing educational attainment do not meet these requirements. What we reject is an evaluation of behavior based on criteria of conformity, e.g., school grades for work ethic and social behavior.
Curricula must be based on well-founded and verifiable knowledge and must be taught from a neutral standpoint. This requires objective presentation, balanced points of view and a critical assessment of sources.
Democratization of educational facilities
Educational facilities leave a lasting impression on the lives of the students who attend them. Therefore, they must be viewed as a habitat for the learners. Students must be able to participate in the organization and make use of these institutions at all times. A democratic organization of educational institutions must give learners, as well as other interest groups at educational institutions, an appropriate measure of influence. This will teach attendees how to live democratic values, enable higher acceptance for decisions and strengthen the feeling of community within the educational institutions.
Early childhood education
Early childhood education is of central importance for the goals of the Pirate Party. Its purpose is to enable all children – regardless of existing differences – to develop their personal skills in such a manner that they can begin their school career with the best possible prerequisites – despite their social and cultural heritage or any physical and emotional handicaps or deficits.
Therefore, the Pirate Party supports free childcare with optional full-time supervision in childcare centers with reasonable opening hours, located close to people’s residences or workplaces for all children over the age of three. The Pirate Party also demands that the educational mission of childcare centers and kindergartens be recognized that they be financed in a similar manner as schools.
Finding, understanding, assessing and disseminating information in various forms is becoming increasingly important in the future. Over the last years, the amount of freely available information has become so great that no individual could reasonably process it all. Therefore, the semi-automatic selection of information – which makes it easier to understand – is gaining importance. Cultural differences make it difficult for users to understand information by some authors; on the other hand, comprehensive online references allow people to look up unfamiliar terms within seconds. This means that a growing part of the knowledge necessary to understand concepts is not imparted by way of general education, but is acquired as necessary.
In a time where information is practically freely available, it becomes more and more important to evaluate information. Each capable interest group is interested in disseminating its own view of the world through as many information channels as possible. Since costs are negligible nowadays, this has become much easier than in the past. At the same time, the classic media landscape is changing. Tasks that were formerly performed by professional journalists, must now be performed by individual readers. In addition, our natural sense for heuristics, i.e., the tendency to trust certain types of information more than others, has become virtually useless due to advances in imaging and video editing. Advertising psychologists are actively working on influencing people subconsciously. We must educate people and develop their ability to filter medial influences, including music and olfactory stimuli.
Learning goals instead of curricula
Each lesson has the aim of teaching the learners something they did not know before or to reinforce something they already know through repetition.
This is done by letting learners work consciously on a topic or by teaching them to learn behaviors and procedures as they work on a different topic.
Where the selection of topics and procedures is of no particular relevance for the educational goal, the learners will select them.
Learners must be informed about the educational goals they are pursuing. The educational goals should be set in such a manner that general educational goals – under consideration of learners‘ previous knowledge, skills and interests–should be largely attainable.