In these times of uncertainties and fear brought  by the Covid-19 pandemic, Pope Francis brings a message of hope in his recent address on education. The Pope’s video message was broadcasted during the Global Compact on Education at the Pontifical Lateran University, an event promoted by the Congregation for Catholic Education.

During his speech, the Pope reminded us that the rapid switch to online educational platforms stresses already existing problems in the equal access to educational and technological opportunities of persons. This situation prompts some to speak of an “educational catastrophe”, especially when we bear in mind that ten million children were forced to leave school as a result of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, in addition to over 250 million school age children excluded from all educational activities.

Facing this challenge, the Pope proposed to rethink the model of our society. This new model should be based on the dignity of the person and his ability to affect the heart of society. We should make the person the center of every educational program and encourage full participation of girls and young women while also listening to the children and the youth when it comes to their needs. This model should be based on an integral and circular economy where, through education, we accept our vulnerable members. Pope Francis reminded us that that family is the first and essential place of education where, apart from first encounter with the Gospel, children learn that “education is above all a matter of love and responsibility handed down from one generation to another “.

Pope Francis suggested that all people of good should join the Global Compact on Education, a pact to encourage change on a global scale, so that education may become a creator of fraternity, peace, and justice. An even more urgent need in these times of pandemic. 

These values are not abstract. They are a call for concrete actions. Let’s devote our energy and talents to pursue the Pope’s hope and support the role of the family in its educative mission!

Learn more about FAFCE’s current work on issue of education in European Union institutions: