Education, Co-operative

Education has always been central to the global aims of the co-operative movement. For Robert Owen (1771–1858), a key figure in the emergence of the co-operative movement, education was critical to his project for the reform of society. As a utopian socialist influenced by the sciences of his day, he saw human nature, and more particularly the poor, as open to being shaped by their environment and thus capable of being formed in rational people that the state finds useful and effective. The 28 Rochdale Pioneers—whose business, established in 1844, became the model for the world movement—set up schools throughout the 19th century, many of which were later brought into the mainstream of state schooling so that by the 1980s they were no longer in ...

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