ADULT EDUCATION – AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Doctor of Economics, Professor, Chairman of the Interstate Committee for the dissemination of knowledge and adult education, President of the International Association “Knowledge
Adult education – an industry, the supranational supranational status of which there is no doubt in the world
CIS countries have prepared a new program of joint action for the formation of a modern system of education for adults
Setting for sustainable development of the world community sets a strategic goal: to create new supranational instruments for planning. The basis of this planning is the worldwide continuous publicly available education of people throughout their conscious life, i.e. from childhood to a deep healthy old age.
At the heart of all development are contradictions, resolved by new formulas, technologies and rules. Global development must have global supranational formulas, technologies and rules.
We need to keep in mind that getting and doing decent work requires diversified latest and not yesterday’s knowledge and skills. Betting only on the Internet does not justify itself to the necessary extent, because, first, the Internet is quite expensive and, second, its relative massiveness extends only to the densely populated developed regions of the Earth.
As modern technology and tools for accessing the world’s knowledge become available, primary learning must be transformed into learning. It is important to transform a person’s selective genetic abilities into a stimulus motivated by interest and success, a craving for a deep understanding of the subject of study as a pleasure at the core of a quality life and healthy longevity. We are talking about achieving a real, rather than declarative inclusion in the policy priorities of the states of such a supranational extrabudgetary superbranch of the planetary world order, as adult education.
With a change in the mentality and views of society on adult education and the reflection of its fundamental role in the policy priorities of States, the quality of life will increase through the use of the intellectual potential, experience and wisdom of older people. Involvement of adults and the elderly in the modern educational process, ensuring their access
to applied and practical knowledge will make it possible to prolong not only their effective role as mentors for the state and society, but also to live their lives in conditions of respectful perception of their authority by the younger generation. At the same time, the country’s budget expenditures on medical care for retirees will decrease dramatically against the background of an appreciative, engaged positive philosophy of perceiving the natural stages of life. Due to this the number of educated competitive productive population of the country and the world will effectively grow. The cost of a mass, age- and ability-diversified global modern education will asymptotically tend toward the universally accessible minimum.
We hope that the entire advanced scientific intelligentsia of the Soviet Union will be in the ranks of our Society. Widespread public activity and initiative is a new element being introduced into the traditional Soviet cause of disseminating knowledge among the people.
EDUCATION – THE FIELD OF ECONOMIC COMPETITION
In the search for ways to revitalize the world community, the United Nations adopted Agenda 21 and the Millennium Development Goals as a world policy priority for states and governments. The UN recommended that governments, national and international non-governmental organizations seek new opportunities for partnership (Type II partnership), which should involve government and civil society, the media, business and industry, educators, scientists, and young people. A special place belongs to lifelong learning for adults. In this context, it is indicative of the fact that the Cologne Charter, signed in 1999 by the leaders of the G8, the problem of adult education in the first place.
The concept of education in the world in recent years has undergone very significant changes. Previously, education was tightly bound to the possibilities of the budget of the state, on the basis of which
was based on the constitutional responsibility of the state before its people for their education. Previously the knowledge on the planet was renewed every 20-30 years, and the society in the person of one generation did not feel so sharply the lack of modern knowledge, preserving the conservative class-lesson system of education. Today knowledge is renewed by 20% a year, i.e. completely every 5 years.
Unfortunately, traditional basic education in most countries, due to its inertia, does not keep pace with changes in the world of knowledge. As a consequence, young people who receive higher education by the age of 22-23 are carriers of already outdated knowledge. During the next 5-6 years they usually build their career and depending on their talent and commitment reach a certain place in society, and some of them reach top managerial positions. During the period of career “afterburner” many people devote all their energy to this and, having finally acquired a high social position, often find themselves pseudo-specialists without modern knowledge, and often simply intellectual bankrupts in a high social rank.
Thus, a new social problem has arisen – the underutilization by each previous generation of its resource, experience, energy of creation. In addition, attitudes about the need to make room are formed, resulting in a complex of natural fading, accelerated biological aging, spiritual exhaustion, etc. And as long as the system and technology of education lag behind the renewal of knowledge, the effective time of each new generation will be reduced. Therefore, adult education, along with the economy and nation-building, is the most important factor and one of the main arguments and tools of social development. To keep up with the rapidly changing world of knowledge helps the latest modern technology based on remote space interactive communications.
It is obvious that the economic competition of states moves from the production sphere to the sphere of science, new technologies and education. The state and level of their development will determine the competitiveness of countries, their position in the world economic community and, ultimately, their national security, including, above all, economic and defense.
Advisory Committee on Industrial Research and Development of the European Commission of the European Union based on the analysis of the qualification level of the European workforce in his report in the late 80s of XX century, came to the conclusion that without a competitive adult education system can not be a competitive workforce, and without the latter – and competitive economy. This is natural, since human resources account for more than 80% of the gross domestic product in developed countries. The leading role belongs to adult education, which forms this competitive workforce. Such a workforce is a prerequisite for survival in the fierce competition for export markets. The winners will be those who will be quicker to invest the results of basic research in new technologies and start producing high-quality goods and selling them at an acceptable price. This is the ABCs of modern economic science, but without education, especially adult education, it is impossible to master this ABC.
It is important to note that, according to experts, adult education is not an integral part of the basic education received by the young generation. The fact is that it should be the main type of continuous activity of the whole adult population, combined with science, production, services, and carried out throughout life.
Consequently, adult education becomes a separate, independent superbranch in the life of human society, because it is well known that the global fateful decisions are the exclusive prerogative of the adult population of the world. In many countries around the world adult education has already become a new, supranational industry, which has international, European, Asian, African and other continental, national structures of management and distribution. Adult education is a critical industry, whose supranational superstatus around the world is undeniable.
Obviously, the development of one of the most promising sectors – adult education, which has the power to change the current dangerous trends in the geopolitical map of the world, is provided by the integration and cooperation of government agencies and non-governmental organizations. It is very important that at its core adult education uses minimal or no funds from the state budget.
The main task of states is to create the prerequisites and regulatory framework to ensure continuing education, which is a prerequisite:
– To increase the length of an individual’s active life;
– maximum and effective use of human experience and intellect throughout his life;
– elimination of the “sunset” philosophy of the older generation.
The legal framework should guarantee equality of all types of education before the law and the right to education at any age.
In this regard, the growing network of non-state educational institutions and structures that accumulate funds to finance educational activities should be encouraged in every possible way.
These challenges and issues were discussed at the World Conference on Adult Education, held in July 1997 in Hamburg under the auspices of UNESCO. The Forum was held under the motto: “Adult Education – the key to the XXI century! Among its participants were ministers of education from 74 countries, heads of major international and national public education associations. Considering the paramount importance of the problem of financing the education of adults of the world, the conference participants unanimously agreed on the need to create and bring to automatic application of credit system for adult learners. As part of the solution of this problem should include state and tax incentives for businesses that accumulate funds for adult education, adult education institutions, employers, providing continuing adult education throughout life. The Conference recommended that governments of all countries consider adult education as a priority in public policy and ensure that every citizen has the opportunity to use one hour of working time a day to improve their education.
PROSPECTS FOR INTEGRATING KNOWLEDGE
With regard to the CIS countries, it should be recognized that a new, modern system of adult education is only in its infancy. A significant step in creating such a system in the CIS countries was the Agreement on Cooperation in the field of dissemination of knowledge and adult education, which in January 1997 were signed by the Heads of Governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Tajikistan. Later Georgia and Ukraine joined the Agreement.
To implement the Agreement, the Interstate Committee of the CIS on Knowledge Dissemination and Adult Education was established. The idea of creating such a structure belongs to the International Association “Znanie”, which is represented in the Interstate Committee on an equal basis with the participating states. The main tasks of the Committee are the transformation of educational and awareness-raising activities, the coordination of the preparation of laws on adult education in the CIS countries. At the same time it is intended to provide a wide range of information services, creating a technical base and a network of distance learning for adults, development of information and methodological base of the system of adult education, organization of training of teaching staff for the system of adult education, etc.
CIS Interstate Committee for the dissemination of knowledge and adult education and the International Association “Znanie” put forward in cooperation with the British company “SatEduNet” the idea of creating the World University and providing global coverage for global cooperation and the international division of labor through the mutual exchange in the form of export-import of knowledge with the leading universities and professors of the world. The technical center of the World University is supported by the Research Institute of Space Systems and the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after KZ. Tsiolkovsky.
The World University as a distributor of modern knowledge acts as a guarantor of supplying the world economy with highly qualified manpower at the national and international levels.
In fact, the work of the World University has begun. However, the heterogeneity of perceptions, inflexible national policies, and imperfect international mechanisms reduce its effectiveness. The old system of education insisted that the main factor for a successful education was the direct contact between pupil and teacher. It is true that this is an important factor, but it is no longer effective for the third millennium society. New learning technologies are needed to respond instantly to changes in the human environment and geopolitical trends. Humanity must rely on fundamentally new knowledge in order to achieve a highly motivated independence of people in learning new professions, disciplines, techniques and principles of life.
Growing competition in the labor market, structural changes in industry associated with the liquidation of entire industries and the closure of a large number of enterprises, military reform, as a result of which a huge number of military personnel are forced to acquire a new profession, have a negative impact on the fate of people, leading to increased social tensions and instability in society. No social payments, severance pay, etc., no matter how great they may be, can give a person the most important thing – confidence in the future. It is necessary to create the opportunity for each person to realize the talents and inclinations that nature has given him.
Any human society in its development depends on both the volume of knowledge and the ability to select the necessary information from the enormous flow. Global computer networks contain a huge amount of information. Even a well-trained specialist needs quite a lot of time to find exactly what he needs. That is why the task is to open special information agencies that would search for, process and electronically deliver to the consumer the information he or she needs. In the future, such agencies will probably replace libraries.
Sane people need to promote the birth of adult education in Russia and the CIS countries and integrate it into the European and world community.
Guided by the declaration signed by heads of CIS countries “On the main directions of development of the CIS” Interstate Committee has prepared a new program of its activities and made its proposals in the program of development of the CIS.
Together with the International Association “Znanie” the Committee prepared and sent for introduction to the Council of Heads of State and the Council of Heads of Government the following issues
– On changing the concept of education in line with global trends at the threshold of the twenty-first century;
– separation of powers, tasks and responsibilities between the systems of basic education and adult education, as well as the cooperation between them;
– Opening the doors of schools, colleges, universities, universities for use as a training base of adult education;
– on the crediting of adult continuing education;
– on the introduction of appropriate amendments to the constitutions and laws of the CIS countries.
The law “On Adult Education” is in preparation.
As we can see, the CIS countries consider adult education as a new tool of non-productive sphere, without which the sustainable development of mankind is impossible.