Joint press release of the Alliance for Humane Education and the ELIANT Alliance from 21st January 2021
Humane education requires non-digital learning
Petition for screen-free kindergartens and primary schools
96.294* people from all over Europe have signed up to a campaign organised by the Alliance for Humane Education demanding:
The right to choose and have continued access to screen-free kindergartens and primary schools.
Teachers and educators should be able to decide for themselves whether and for what purpose digital aids are used in their work. “This particularly applies to the first twelve years when sensory-motor skills and the first steps towards social and emotional maturity are developing”, explained Prof. Ralf Lankau from the Alliance for Humane Education and paediatrician Dr. med. Michaela Glöckler, President of the European Alliance for Applied Anthroposophy (ELIANT). The two organisations are jointly responsible for this petition.
Background: The EU Commission has adopted a “Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027)”. At its core is the “Promotion of a high-performing digital education ecosystem” and the “Enhancement of digital skills and competences for digital transformation”. In this context Lankau und Glöckler emphasise that: “With regard to digitalisation it is vital that the human and real-world educational needs of children are taken into account”. To this end the Alliance and ELIANT are bringing their own suggestions to the EU parliamentarians currently working on the “Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027)”.
The Alliance and ELIANT recognise that schools need to teach digital skills but, as Lankau says “Everything has its right time.” Children have a right to develop at their own pace, master their real-world environment through movement and creative play and use all their senses. That is why kindergartens, nursery and primary schools should remain screen-free. A one-sided digital focus should be avoided. According to Dr. Glöckler: “It is only through the interplay of sensory and motor experiences that children can be healthy and feel secure in their temporal and spatial surroundings”. This is what makes age-appropriate, physical and spiritual development possible. It is precisely this right to have time for development, that this petition is calling for. “Over 95,000 signatories indicates strong support for this demand” said Prof. Lankau.
*Number of signatures increased at the last minute from 95,852 to 96,294!
In 2006 ten organisations active throughout Europe came together and founded the “European Alliance for Applied Anthroposophy” (ELIANT). The alliance is campaigning for an improved quality of life and cultural diversity in Europe.
Alliance for Humane Education:
College professors, scientists and concerned citizens founded the Alliance for Humane Education in 2017. Their conviction is: Education cannot be digitalised! Digital tools can only be used to support educational processes. Alternative approaches are called for.