Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

 

rebecca purton grayscale

Recent events have sent much uncertainty through Britain’s public sector, with far more questions than answers about what implications Brexit will have for the future. Rebecca Purton writes:

Although Britain will not officially leave the EU for around two years, there have already been, and will undoubtedly continue to be, consequences for our key societal institutions. One such area that will be affected is education, an important structural force in shaping the attitudes of society. There is much discontent between age groups, with many young voters accusing older generations of dampening their future prospects by voting out. But will these fears over the EU negatively impacting education and job prospects for future generations be realised or are they futile?

With such a huge divide in opinions, shown by the exceptionally close Brexit vote, it is clear that relationships have been fractured over this important issue. Though we do not know the precise future for education, we can confidently say that education has been, and will continue to be, the foundation upon which we reproduce knowledge and skills as well as being an effective pathway to personal and societal advancement  from generation to generation. Our differing opinions on Brexit, and the importance we attach to many of the issues it concerns (immigration, employment, the economy etc), is testament to our diverse backgrounds and life experiences thus far, affected in part by our educational experience. This is, of course, not a bad thing. But wouldn’t it be remarkable if we could educate the next generation to value acceptance, unity and love above everything else? After all, this is the only way we will be able to heal the rifts caused by recent decisions.

“Whichever way you voted last week, it is clear that politics, and democracy in general, have failed to be a unifying force, an avenue for meaningful participation in communities and government. It is a reminder that our social fabric must be rooted in something much deeper so that the quality of our relationships, one with each other, is the building block of a cohesive and loving society; where we care because we first know and understand the people around us” – Rob Loe

After such an impassioned referendum, it would be easy to harbour grudges. But the vote has taken place and the population have chosen to leave. So now we must accept this decision and each one of us attempt to go forward with a positive outlook and conviction to strive to build a successful and secure future together. But what does this look like? And how can we unite to ensure we make Britain’s independence great.

Education could be the leading institution in repairing our fractured society. Relational-focused education in particular teaches how to deal with disagreements and differing opinions, encouraging students to be accepting and respectful of diversity in viewpoints and more fundamentally to know each other deeper and with a great authenticity day by day. The way we learn to conduct relationships in our early years inevitably affects the way we choose to interact with others for the rest of our lives. Therefore if we learn to be tolerant, or even better, embracing, of different opinions when we are young, it bodes much better for the harmony of society in the future. Relationships form the base of every institution in society, which is why it is so vital that we make positive connections to others, both to benefit ourselves and those around us.

Let us be positive where there is negativity, loving where there is hate, and united where there are divisions. But let us not think that this will happen as a nation through rhetoric or good intention. Relationships are built one at a time and therefore, unlike a simple organism, healing won’t occur naturally nor will time be the greater force in this. We must be agents of reconciliation and our schools facilitating environments for a wider social healing.

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