We are experiencing a real tsunami in education systems and schools. The pandemic of COVID-19 has suddenly changed the routines in place and has left perplexed institutions and social actors, students, teachers and families. 

In January, at a meeting in Rome, the ACISE Administration had drawn up a work plan for 2020-2021 in which it chose as the central theme for all activities “Integral education in the digital age”. So, this will be the central theme of the 31st International Scientific Conference of ACISE, which will be held in Porto, Portugal, from 8 to 10 April 2021.

It was a choice that now turns out to be very pertinent and timely. This is the favourable time, there is no other. We must therefore reflect deeply on the opportunities that are opening up, on the constraints and impasses that are accumulating, such as the increase in inequalities, and face the challenges of this hour. 

Although the changing circumstances of the pandemic do not allow us to predict if we can or cannot hold our Conference in person, it is certain that we will hold it. I therefore call for the participation of all members and the dissemination of our initiative. Certainly the sub-themes chosen interest many protagonists who build more and better education for all, in the service of freedom and integral human development.

Because it aims at the “integral development of the person” (Ex corde ecclesiae, 20), education seeks the means to accompany each person in his personal fulfilment while contributing to the achievement of the common good.

This mission today faces an unprecedented challenge posed by the omnipresence of digital technologies and resources in educational processes. In the digital age, it is therefore a question of understanding this challenge in order to propose the educational means by which human persons and societies can continue to develop “in responsibility, values and awareness” (Laudato si, 105).

Joaquim Azevedo

ACISE President / Président / Presidente