Reclaiming a future that has not yet been: The Faure report, UNESCO’s humanism and the need for the emancipation of education

Gert Biesta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Fifty years after UNESCO’s publication of Learning to be: The world of education today and tomorrow, the author of this article provides an assessment of this seminal report, commonly known as “the Faure report”. He characterises the educational vision of the report as humanistic and democratic and highlights its emphasis on the need for educational provision throughout the life-course. He demonstrates how the right to education has, over time, been transformed into a duty to learn, Moreover, this duty has been strongly tied to economic purposes, particularly the individual’s duty to remain employable in a fast-changing labour market. Rather than suggesting that Edgar Faure and his International Commission on the Development of Education set a particular agenda for education that has, over time, been replaced by an altogether different agenda, the author suggests a reading of the report which understands it as making a case for a particular relationship between education and society, namely one in which the integrity of education itself is acknowledged and education is not reduced to a mere instrument for delivering particular agendas. Looking back at the report five decades later, he argues that it provides a strong argument for the emancipation of education itself, and that this argument is still needed in the world of today.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning (IRE)
Early online date12 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Oct 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • emancipation
  • Faure report
  • humanism
  • learning society
  • permanent education
  • technicism


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