[OP-ED] Three competencies to survive in the jungle called the world
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As in the jungle, whoever does not have the tools to survive, runs the risk of being devoured today by hyper-modernity. Regardless of age, gender, beliefs, profession, or nationality, technological skills, bilingualism, and inclusion have become an urgent challenge.
We have already experienced how technology has invaded all spheres of life, not only playing music, but also scheduling medical appointments, doing paperwork, going to the bank, and connecting us at work and with our families. It is clear that there are not many analog spaces left.
For this reason, it is a daily occurrence that the most desperate of us have to turn to the help of the young people close to us (children, nephews, nieces, grandchildren, neighbors) every time a goblin goes crazy on our phones or e-mails. We swear, because we believe it, that it was not our fault that the cell phone has been blocked, that it no longer rings or that it rings very loudly. We are even innocent that when we open an email we put our finger in the wrong place and end up with a recipe for rice pudding from TikTok, among other misfortunes.
Now, it is shocking that all this is possible when 21% of the urban population and 56.6% of the rural population in Latin America and the Caribbean do not have access to the Internet, according to a study presented at the end of 2022 by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the World Bank, Bayer, CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, Microsoft and Syngenta.
Another competency that achieves vital status is bilingualism. Hundreds of minutes of awkward silence, untapped opportunities, and unearned income, in Latin America English is still a long way off for the vast majority. It is worth highlighting the efforts of the most proactive who download applications to use them for a week or 'pay a kidney' in fees for courses that they do not take and, in the end, end up thinking that maybe theirs is to learn while they sleep. But it is clear and regrettable that in the educational systems, the debt with the effective teaching of languages needs a shake-up, like the one that the last pandemic left to technological mediation and the adaptation of the academy to the needs of the youngest.
As for inclusion, we think we are the most inclusive because we confuse it with compassion, which I wish it were a virtue practiced by all. Out of an excess of fear, we despise everything that is different from us.
We hide behind principles of double standards so that nothing reaches the small space that makes us rethink or endangers an unsustainable status quo. We insist that we are inclusive, ignorant of the fact that in this matter as in many others, there is no in-between. You are either inclusive or you discriminate, in the same way, that you are either honest or dishonest. There are no gray areas. It is the new generations who, with their example, demand clear and coherent positions, demonstrating that this is the only way for everyone to survive in this jungle.
In the end, the formula may not be to give oneself so much stick, not to go over to the other side, and not to make the effort to have the minimum to survive in a world that became global years ago, for global people. A world in which those of us who are not global suffer the consequences and may become extinct.
(*) Doctor in Pedagogy. Rector of the Colombian School of Rehabilitation (ECR). [email protected]