LEARNING TO LIVE IN THE XXI CENTURY
(from the conference)
Professor, President of the International Association “Znanie”,
Chairman of the CIS Interstate Committee for Knowledge Dissemination and Adult Education (Moscow)
The process of mental change is the most difficult and longest in human life, as it affects the genetic, political, and social status of our existence. Approaches to education must be radically changed on the basis of the latest technology. One billion people in the world are completely illiterate, and 4.5 billion have insufficient modern knowledge because they are not digitally literate. Analog (classroom-lesson) ways of getting education are yesterday and are, in fact, unconscious ignorance. The old educational system was based on direct contact between student and teacher. However, teacher tutelage marginalizes one’s own natural qualities in need of an independent search for truth. What is needed is a highly motivated autonomy of individuals to learn new professions and principles of life in order to respond successfully and quickly to changes in the environment. Knowledge can be taken by choice and talent. “I take, I choose, not I am given!” A “natural selection” of programs and teachers based on specific demand emerges. Technologies based on remote space interactive communications are capable of implementing a new image of education. Just these technologies will make it possible to create the common educational space on the global scale and to cover the rapidly changing knowledge of the world in its totality.
Today together with the Research Institute of Space Systems and the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics the International Association “Znanie” has proposed, registered and realized together with the English company “SatEduNet” the project of the World Distance Learning University. Its technical base provides global coverage for export-import of knowledge between the leading universities of the world. The updating of knowledge occurs at a speed exceeding many times the traditional analogous educational technologies. The fact is that annually up to 17% of knowledge used today becomes obsolete. At the same time, industry is known to represent no more than 16% of the potential of modern civilization. The main part is a human resource. Therefore, people are forced to interact in the world on the principle of communicating vessels, which inevitably leads to the elimination of borders and contributes to the globalization of knowledge.
Knowledge is the energy medium of civilization, which is “spilled” among a multitude of universities, educational and scientific centers. We need a common center for the distribution of knowledge – the World University, but not in name, but in essence. It must become an accumulator of global scientific potential. Through it it will be possible to optimize the potential of the geniuses of knowledge popularization without loss to a global audience of listeners. The World University, as a virtual concept, should denote a world center “that is present everywhere. Through it, the best programs and the most talented teachers in the world become available to all.
Priorities for teaching are replaced by priorities for learning, with an undeniably important role for teachers, but who are very highly qualified and have the most up-to-date knowledge. Such teachers are needed by a global audience and care must be taken to technically increase their productivity. Modern universities and centers of learning should have their own space teleports to exchange mutually accepted best content. We need an export-import of knowledge through a single distribution teleport, which will meet the need of millions of people to obtain knowledge “first-hand” and of the best quality. And here it is appropriate to quote Harvard University President Derek Wok: “If you think education is too expensive, try ignorance.”
The traditional education system is based on the formula “Education for Life,” which was enough when knowledge was renewed every 30 years. Time has demanded a different formula: “Education Through Life.” This should become a priority of state policy, an integral part of laws and constitutions, and then a mental attitude of human civilization.