Chairman of the Interstate Committee for the dissemination of knowledge and adult education of the CIS, Doctor of Philosophy.
and the problems of sustainable development of the country
Developed infrastructure and economic stability are effective tools of the non-productive sphere, without which the sustainable development of any country is impossible. I want to consider another tool of the non-productive sphere, without which, according to the UN, the sustainable development of mankind on the planet is impossible. It is a fundamentally new, non-traditional concept of planetary education — «education never ends. It is a concept of education for adults who have extensive professional experience, a good education and a desire to understand the world, the ability and desire for self-fulfillment. Adults are mediators — between the past, the present and the future. When they leave life, they take away with them a whole library of acquired knowledge, accumulated skills and life wisdom. Sometimes they can not find themselves in a rapidly changing world, do not find a common language with the younger generation. The conflict between «fathers» and «children» in the context of post-industrial society and globalization processes acquires civilizational significance. One of the main reasons for this conflict is the different starting conditions for obtaining and supplementing education.
880 million totally illiterate people and 4.5 billion hopelessly lacking modern knowledge is the path to planetary tragedy. Literacy and competence must be integrated into all the efforts of nations to confront the looming and long-unresolved problems. From the experience of rebuilding societies devastated by conflict, the UN has learned that peace requires much more than the absence of war. The roots of conflict lie in an inadequate understanding and management of the situation. The seeds of war mature from uneven and unequal development. The prevention of hatred is in education and knowledge.
The first ingredient of political stability is an informed citizenry. The first ingredient of economic progress is a skilled worker. The first ingredient of political justice is an enlightened society.
Education is peace-building. It is also the most effective form of protection. Investing in education yields a far greater return than any other.
A global family of educated and learning adults will not make strategic fateful mistakes.
Today the world is ruled by unconscious ignorance of people, their incompetence, so the traditional formula of society life «Education — for life» needs to be replaced by the formula «Education — through life. In the face of the third millennium which has just begun, all of us together must revolutionize the traditional view of our education, rooted among the dogmas of the passing century.
We simply will not have a future through the methods of education of the past twentieth century.
Everything else is human resources.
Adult education today is not an integral part of basic education, it must become the main continuous activity of the entire adult population, combined with science, production and services throughout life. And by alternating lifelong education and work, we will become effective, long-lived and happy, needed by each other, by previous and future generations and by the country, and we will return the planet slipping into the abyss to a sustainable development option.
Since the crucial decisions of the development of society are the sole prerogative of the adult population of the country and even the planet, adult education becomes a separate independent super branch in the life of human society. This most promising industry on the planet has the power to change today’s dangerous trends in the geopolitical map of the world. The main task is to form in the public consciousness the attitude to lifelong education. It is necessary to constitutionally support the equality of all types of education before the law and the right to education at any age. Two-week refresher courses are not adult education, but a bureaucratic, ignorant eyewash.
UN in its declaration recommended the governments of all states to consider adult education as a priority of state policy. And a major step in creating such a system in the CIS countries was the «Agreement on Cooperation in the Sphere of Dissemination of Knowledge and Adult Education», signed by the Heads of Government of the CIS in January 1997.
To implement this Agreement was formed the Interstate Committee of the CIS on the dissemination of knowledge and adult education, whose main tasks are:
— Creation of national structures for adult education,
— coordination of the preparation of laws in the field of adult education in the CIS countries and constitutional changes in it,
— transformation of awareness and educational activities,
— creation of data banks for the distance form of adult education, the integration of business information space,
ensuring the sustainable development of the planet.
In some countries, such as Cyprus, the question of the division of powers and responsibilities between the systems of basic education and adult education, as well as the cooperation between them has already been resolved. The doors of schools, colleges, universities as a training base for adult education are open there.
Therefore, the task of our Committee today to change the constitutions and laws of the CIS countries to be able to sustainably credit the continuing education of the adult population.
Solving these issues, we will change the very paradigm, which was predicted by futurologists in ancient times about the possibility of the end of the world… As long as people strive for education, there is development, and therefore there is no and can not be the end of the world.
The planet has become weaker than the contradictions tearing it apart, the world is speaking more firmly about the unsustainable development of life on earth.
The younger generation makes its future not on the shoulders but on the belly of its creator and no longer guarantees to its descendants the resource of habitat that it itself had the opportunity to consume.
The unsustainable development of humanity is a disease of civilization whose incubation period is not yet known. The UN adopted Agenda 21 and recommended looking for new ways to implement the basic principles of sustainable development. Among these principles a special place belongs to lifelong adult continuing education. Today, when knowledge on the planet is updated by 15% per year, i.e. every six years, traditional basic education does not keep up with the changes of the world. Many people, having acquired a high social position, become immediately intellectual bankrupts, only in high rank, which is very scary.
A new social problem has arisen: each successive generation underutilizes its resource, experience, energies. There are attitudes to the need to make room and, as a consequence, unclaimed, natural fading of entire generations. And as long as the system and technology of education will lag behind the speed of knowledge renewal, the coefficient of usefulness of each new generation will be constantly decreasing.
Therefore, adult education, along with the economy and nation-building, is today the most important factor and one of the main arguments and tools of social development. On the historical stage in the future there will be only those countries and those peoples who will be able to provide a higher level of organization and skill in all its manifestations and will be able to transfer the economic competition of states in the sphere of science, new technologies and education. Changes on the geopolitical map have already begun.
For example, the first U.S. response to the outstanding achievements of the Soviet Union in space was not an increase in NATO allocations, but a multiple increase in funding for education and the adoption in 1958 of the National Defense Education Act. The basis was the principle of the priority of adult education and its exclusive role in ensuring the leading position of the United States in the world. From Eisenhower to Clinton, adult education was one of the top priorities in their national security policy. In a decade, U.S. spending on education, in favor of continuing education, has increased 2.5 times and is now over $500 billion, twice as much as defense spending. This is at today’s cost of the war machine. And the percentage of adults already educated and continuing education has nearly tripled in the last 20 years, from 7% to 22%.
The world has calculated and realized that it is necessary to invest in adult education about 1% of the gross national product, considering the cost of adult education as an investment in the production of each enterprise. Without a competitive adult education system there can be no competitive workforce, and without it there can be no competitive economy.
Standard methods of assessing a state’s economic development tell us nothing about the state of the nation. And the conclusions of the World Bank are that in the national wealth of any country, regardless of whether it is a superpower or a small island, the manufacturing component is just over 16%.