3.5 Education

In the period between four and twelve years the prefrontal cortex (PFC) will develop. That is the part of the brain that was added lately in evolution. That part of the brain is larger in humans than in animals. In a cat the PFC takes the 3.5 percent of the brain; a dog PFC 12.5%; a chimpanzee 17% and in humans the PFC takes 29%. In animals the prefrontal cortex is at birth already almost finished. The PFC-part of the brain in people grows until the eighteenth year! (Van der Linden, 2006, 92). The prefrontal cortex plays an important role in the following:

  • choosing from alternatives;
  • combining different possibilities;
  • troubleshooting;
  • planning actions;
  • the conscious handling of emotions.

All these options are covered by the heading of creativity. Creativity is needed to direct our society and global world in politics, finance, arms trade and energy. At the same time and equally important these capabilities represent a basic behavioral form: self discipline. The neurons that make this possible, take shape in the period between 4 and 12 years. You could say that creativity and self-discipline are two complementary forms of conduct that have developed in the final stage of evolution and that we have to develop our PFC before we are 12 years old. In “How to change our human nature” you find basic information about this subject.

UNESCO strives to build networks among nations that enable this kind of possibilities, by:

  • Mobilizing for education: so that every child, boy or girl, has access to quality education as a fundamental human right and as a prerequisite for human development.
  • Building intercultural understanding: through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity. UNESCO created the idea of World Heritage to protect sites of outstanding universal value.
  • Pursuing scientific cooperation: such as early warning systems for tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreements, to strengthen ties between nations and societies.
  • Protecting freedom of expression: an essential condition for democracy, development and human dignity.

Have a look at: Building peace in the minds of men and women