‘Learning to know’ is acquiring a package of knowledge that enables you to better understand yourself, to better grasp the society in which you live and to prepare yourself for the labour market. Consequently, given the upheavals, ‘learning to know’ is also learning to learn, having a thirst for knowledge and continuing to learn throughout life.
‘Learning to do’ is slightly different. At the beginning of industrial society, in the times of craft industries, it was about knowing how to transform a material into a product, or knowing how to make repairs. Today, ‘learning to do’ means acquiring an intellectual or practical set of skills that enables you to meet your job requirements. Of course, skill has broader and richer connotations than knowledge.
‘Learning to live together’ has been on the agenda for a long time when speaking about unequal opportunities. How can we enable so-called gifted and less-gifted children, children from wealthy, educated families and children from poor families to coexist? These were the questions that arose and are yet to be answered, particularly for me as a person who is very concerned about the fight against unequal opportunities. But another factor has been added to this: the opening-up of the world. The fact that there are children and teenagers in our classrooms, who were born in countries outside Europe. I never say foreign countries, as this, in my opinion, is contrary to the perception we may have of the world. These young people who come from other countries, who bare within themselves other cultures, other types of education and with whom we need to work, co-exist at school and also teach. They should be taught in the same way as others. ‘Learning to live together’ is therefore learning tolerance and mutual understanding. In other words, being able to live in the increasingly multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious societies of most European countries today. It's all the more important that I should now allude to the danger posed by the rise of ideologies that reject others.
And finally, ‘learning to be’. UNESCO has been interested in this topic for some time. Mr Edgar Faure presided over a commission, just prior to mine, which dealt with this issue. ‘Learning to be’ is about how education can help us - not to live happily, as there are too many definitions of happiness - but how it can help us overcome the problems of our existence, problems in our personal lives and problems in public life.”