Speech by Academician, Professor
Efim Mikhailovich Malitikov, Academician,
Chairman of the Interstate Committee of the CIS
Chairman of the CIS Interstate Committee on Knowledge Dissemination and Adult Education,
President of the International Association “Znanie”
at the international scientific-practical conference:
national and civilized context”.
Minsk, 20-21 December 2007.
The World University of the New Type
without language, national and cultural borders
(New technologies of sustainable development
in a Global World)
The process of mental change is the most complex and prolonged process in our human life. Despite people’s tendencies and desire to build and redraw borders, humanity remains a single organism of the planet.
The classroom-lesson form of education, or rather learning, has exhausted its resources in our information age and has become counterproductive, because its performance does not meet the requirements of global governance processes.
It is necessary to free our consciousness from worldview stereotypes and standard arguments.
The great scientist Vernadsky said: “Humanity is a totally unique variety of earthly resources, possessing a very specific nature of energy replenishment – through knowledge!”
However, today we have a digital abyss of a billion absolutely illiterate people who cannot read or write, and in addition a 5-billion-year-old civilization lagging behind the necessary modern knowledge.
Precisely, illiteracy and the resulting lack of competitiveness have led to more than 2 billion people on the planet living on less than one dollar a day, more than 3 billion – more than half – on two dollars a day.
Closing this digital divide with the current form of education is impossible.
Many in the world put their trust in the Internet. However.
The poorest billion people on Earth live in places where the Internet is too expensive (like Africa) or simply cannot be accommodated because of the landscape and harsh natural conditions. These are the mountainous regions, the Arctic Circle and the Far North,
Today billions of people do not have access to modern education. Billions of people cannot compete, have jobs, adequately participate in scientific and technological progress and cultural life. And so, poverty and destitution accompany their lives.
This is where the drug mafia, criminal structures, criminal clans and terrorism draw their reserves from…
But humanity already has at its disposal the real global potential of satellite communications, which, when used en masse, are a hundred times cheaper than cable Internet.
The problems of equality of access to learning apply to the tens of millions of people in prison, to the entire elderly population of the world, and many other categories of people. They are all a red balance and a heavy burden on the shoulders of the world economy, and with access to education, a positive balance.
Only a learning system with the latest means of delivering knowledge to the consumer on the basis of modern satellite communications can cope with this task.
The productivity of higher school, university, college, faculty, department, professor, and the ordinary teacher plays an important role today.
“Knowledge for export!” – is the new theory of success we are putting forward, its social and economic component.
The modern professor needs not a 40-seat auditorium, not a classroom, but a half-million-strong army of listeners. Especially since 15 million of the world’s 60 million teachers are in deficit. The digital divide with this teacher ratio to the planetary ballast of illiteracy will widen even further.
When the number of illiterate non-competitive people on Earth exceeds a critical mass, they can bury not only tranquility, but also the very Sustainability of Mankind.
Planetary values are constantly changing. The export of knowledge and learning is becoming a serious business, and intellectual property is becoming the most expensive and profitable type of property.
The CIS Interstate Committee for the dissemination of knowledge and adult education and the International Association “Znanie”, have a super modern educational base structure. It is an Academy, University and Institute, which at the same time is a university, the largest television company and an electronic library, exceeding the volume of the U.S. Library of Congress.
It has its own space teleport, covering more than 400 cities in 14 countries.
2,500 professors provide training in 68 specialties for 175,000 students.
It is one of the three largest universities in the world.
The financial component of educating 175,000 students using satellite technology is $5 per person per year, and more than $500 via the Internet.
Its virtual audience is 4,000 times larger than the classical one.
Its students in distant poor villages and highland settlements have access to Cambridge instruction without the expense of leaving their village.
The required number of classrooms would have to be increased by a thousand times or more, which is impossible in a real classroom.
Modern educational content, gifted and technologically adapted to virtual export-import transportation, should be sent from university television studios via satellite teleporters on target request to anywhere on the planet.
We need to keep in mind that it takes diversified latest, not yesterday’s, Knowledge and Skills to obtain and carry out decent jobs.
Today we have a worldwide 26% teacher shortage. At the same time, the current 45 million Teachers are hopelessly out of step with today’s knowledge.
Teachers and their personal knowledge are the product of an analog Past.
The Digital Divide becomes a Gap unless the Teacher with the most up-to-date knowledge gains a Global audience and has the Global productivity of the Free Access to Knowledge Society.
It is necessary to use the modern technologies already available to mankind for the dissemination of knowledge. Their productivity is many orders of magnitude greater than the technology of knowledge transmission from Man to Man. Direct contact between a Teacher and a Student, called Learning, is an inadmissible luxury.
After all, Knowledge on Earth is not evenly “spread like butter on bread”. What is needed is a modern space distributor – a teleporter – a real World University that will do the job for Mankind.
Technically, legally, and already in fact, the work of the World University has begun through the efforts of the Commonwealth of Independent States. However, divergent perceptions, inflexible national policies, and imperfect international mechanisms have reduced its effectiveness by internecine interests.
At the same time, the younger generation has long crossed the borders of civilized countries through virtual space.
We must be turned around to face innovations and innovators, bypassing the long bureaucratic run.
We need an innovative change at the mental level in ourselves.
In the face of the destructive role of increasing Unemployment, Poverty, Poverty and poorly managed Migration, the Tools of Development and Governance must be changed, lest we find ourselves confronted by more neglected Problems and Crises.
Again and again I assert: What is needed is mass education of people, with a minimum and only initially based on Learning, and then giving them the opportunity to Study according to their interests and abilities.
The oldest non-governmental organization, the International Association (IA) Znanie, which celebrates its anniversary this year, has consultative status with UNIDO, General Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC, and consultative status with the UN Department of Public Information.
For 60 years our organization has been engaged in education: 4.5 million of our members have given over 25 million lectures a year. That was enough in those years.
For the last 10 years huge experience and technical potential were accumulated, new technologies were mastered, the world’s largest satellite educational centers were established in Moscow, Russian regions, CIS countries and in a number of other countries including hard-to-reach, high-mountain and far northern regions.
Updating of knowledge occurs at a speed exceeding many times the traditional classroom-training technologies.
Up to 20% of the knowledge used today is updated each year. “Bankruptcy” in the specialty comes in 5-6 years.
Today it is not enough to be a graduate of Oxford, Cambridge or Stanford. It is not enough even to be a Nobel laureate to teach from a university department. One needs a talent for popularizing the latest achievements of civilization in a variety of fields of knowledge, provided with productive technologies of dissemination.
People – must continuously move and interact in the world space according to the principle of communicating vessels.
Knowledge – this is the energy environment of civilization, which is “spilled” among the many universities, educational and scientific centers.
We need a common center of knowledge distribution – the World University, but not in name, but in essence. It must become an accumulator of global scientific potential,
We need global action in education, because the problems themselves are global in essence and origin.
The priorities of teaching are being replaced by the priorities of learning, with an undoubtedly important role for teachers, but very highly qualified and up-to-date knowledge. Such teachers are needed by a global audience and space needs to take care of the technical increase in their global productivity.
Here, space communications are indispensable. Modern universities and educational centers must build and possess their own space teleports to exchange mutually accepted best content.
The role of education in the sustainable development of mankind is not appreciated enough and is not reconsidered for many decades. And here it is appropriate to recall the words of 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.”
We all need a new system of education and not just a budget-constitutional one that provides secondary education for all. And education for us – adults who make crucial decisions for the country, organize the life of society, choose leaders and implement policies, including interstate.
It is recognized worldwide that adult education is an essential tool of social development at the core of sustainable development of mankind. It is included in the Millennium Development Goals, the UN Program for the XXI century and is supranational absolutely independent branch of world order and worldview.
Today, without being enshrined in the constitutions of states and charters of ministries of education, this branch is an economic “snowdrop” in the state economy. Nevertheless, it turns over two and a half times more money than the total education budget of the states.
It is self-sufficient, because it is demanded by the conscious part of the world population for career growth and satisfaction of material needs of an adult and his family.
It is important to achieve real and not declarative inclusion in the priorities of public policy, recognition and support of supranational extrabudgetary superbranch of the planetary world order – Adult Education.