She is very engaged in the project with the support of the Ministry of National Education, The academy of Paris and The observatory of well-being at School.
“Hell is other people” – Sartre, No Exit, 1943 According to a recent survey, more than half of the French population shares this point of view. This result sheds light on a phenomenon that we unfortunately witness : the brutalization of our relationship with others. Those who have different ways of living, personalities, or life visions, in short, those who are different.
It is in classrooms, amidst recess, in gyms, that it all begins. That’s where we have our first experience of others.
In my home country, Denmark, we cultivate empathy in schools from the age of 6. We learn emotional intelligence. We learn to know ourselves better to understand and accept others. We also learn to trust, to feel legitimate, and therefore, to share our opinions and ideas without fear. We learn to build a society. These are essential skills to create a culture of psychological safety where students feel free to ask questions and dare to answer without fear of error or failure. From the age of five, a child is capable of understanding that others do not think like them, that their worldview may differ from that of some of their peers. In this process, schools have a primary responsibility: to accompany the child’s development, to help them develop listening and understanding abilities. Schools must be capable of instilling empathic faculties in children, enabling them to see, understand, and accept others. To engage usefully in society to build a collective project that benefits all of us.
Schools must not be mistaken about their goals.
In a few years, artificial intelligence and its applications will undoubtedly allow us to achieve all our projects with little effort, quickly, efficiently, and maximizing profits, in complete autonomy. But this will not help us develop solidarity and respectful relationships with others, despite all our differences.
Schools must stimulate emotional intelligence, curiosity, and open-mindedness in students, at least as much as they teach them to handle the Pythagorean theorem. Empathy is essential for human progress. This specific intelligence allows us to see, understand, and accept others and envision their differences as possible versions of ourselves.
Therefore, I advocate for the creation of “empathy classes” within the French school system. France must embrace the challenges of the 21st century, which are not only technical but also human: cooperation, solidarity, inclusion, kindness, and trust – in oneself, in others, and in the future.
A steering committee of leading talents and experts to give this project the best possible chance of success : Committee members (in alphabetical order)