Original Research

(Re)Inserting charity in education

Erik Meganck
Transformation in Higher Education | Vol 3 | a38 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/the.v3i0.38 | © 2018 Erik Meganck | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 March 2018 | Published: 08 August 2018

About the author(s)

Erik Meganck, Department of Spirituality and the Social Doctrine of the Church, International Institute Canon Triest, Belgium

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Background: Recently, charity (re)appears in cultural discourse. It is no longer confined to (moral) theology.


Objectives: The aim of this article is to defend the acceptance of charity as a major and fundamental category in the formulation of professional learning goals and in the transformation and development of curricula in higher education, using historical and philosophical arguments.


Methods: I first offer a philosophical survey of modernity as instrumentalisation and of late modernity as where charity (re)appears. Then I translate this analysis into an educational challenge and its promising effects. The transition from a culture that hinges on strict instrumentalisation into one that opens up to charity has not yet been integrated in official pedagogical and didactical directives.


Results: The philosophical exploration of the cultural field shows the possibility as well as a desirability of integrating charity in (not only) higher education. Though the effects of this integration can only be considered forthcoming, a promise without any evidence, this philosophical reflection argues the probability of positive pedagogical results.


Conclusion: The reappearance of charity in culture urges education to also look beyond its modern formats. One possible initiative is the ‘insertion’ of charity. Reflection on a care experience is a pedagogically justifiable form of this insertion. What was deemed irrelevant, private and optional before becomes core educational challenges now. The new meaning of the world, without changing the world, is precisely this: let us keep teaching economy, engineering, law, medicine, etc., but always against the backdrop of charity.


charity; volunteer


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