According to UNESCO, “Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility”. In view of its primordial place in our society, the General Assembly of the United Nations initiated the 5th International Day of Education on January 24th. Today, we still face inequalities in access to education in the world. Almost 244 million children do not go to school and 771 million adults are not literate. Despite the progress made in the last 20 years (over 400 million children not in school in 2000), the pace has slowed considerably in recent years. (Source: UNESCO )
As a higher education institute, IFA Paris Fashion School is sensitive to the issue of education for all and works towards greater openness and inclusiveness in access to professional training. IFA Paris contributes, in its own way, with its scholarship and financial aid program, the adaptation of its premises to accommodate students with disabilities or its collaboration with the United Nations agency in the Western Balkans.
As part of this International Day of Education, we wanted to highlight the vision of our Academic Director, Albane Forestier.
What is your vision of education and how is fashion a vehicle for it?
“For me, education is a way of life, a way of learning and developing professional and personal skills throughout life.
It is also a way of interacting with others in tolerance and respect that comes from knowledge. We never stop learning.
This is all the more important in the fashion industry, which, as a creative and cultural industry, thrives on exchange.
However, even today, access to artistic professions and studies is not open to all, whether for reasons of gender, age, migratory status, disability or simply for financial reasons. Some young people do not have the support of their families either, as they sometimes tend to favour scientific studies, which are supposed to offer better professional opportunities.
As an educator, my role is to show how fashion is a sector of the future, open to all, and inclusive. The fashion garment that makes our young people dream so much is at the same time a reassuring object of everyday life, the fruit of passionate craftsmanship, and a luxury object, which makes people dream and fantasize. It must be said: fashion in France is a dynamic and attractive sector, which represents nearly one million jobs!
The measures we are putting in place so that students from diverse backgrounds can access these professions can be practical: offering scholarships, adapting our workshops and classrooms to accommodate students with disabilities, giving our students access to the services of a psychologist, offering French courses to international students, etc.
But more than that, for me and my colleagues, it is a matter of establishing an inclusive pedagogical project, consisting of democratizing the acquisition of a cultural capital allowing all our students to enter a professional field often considered closed and elitist, and this, regardless of their origin or background. Our training is not limited to developing technical and professional skills, but also aims to promote a certain familiarity with the arts and a taste for culture.
This is my concept of education in a nutshell.”