Speech by Professor
Chairman, Interstate Committee for the CIS
Chairman of the CIS Intergovernmental Committee for Knowledge Dissemination and Adult Education,
President of the International Association “Znanie”
at the first joint scientific conference “Space for Mankind”,
dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the Space Era.
International Academy of Astronautics
Russian Academy of Astronautics named after Konstantin Tsiolkov. International Academy of Astronautics Russian Academy of Cosmonautics n.a. K.E. Tsiolkovsky
Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after K.E.Tsiolkovsky on May 21-23, 2008 in Korolev, Moscow region. Korolev, Moscow region
Process of mental changes is the most difficult and long lasting process in our human life. Despite tendencies and human 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. This is the Academy, University and Institute, which is simultaneously a university, the largest television company and digital library, surpassing 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 cost of educating 175,000 students using satellite technology is $5 per person per year, and more than $500 via the Internet;
Its virtual classroom is 4,000 times larger than the classical classroom;
Its students in distant poor villages and highland settlements have access to Cambridge instruction without the expense of leaving their village.
The number of classrooms required 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 to obtain and carry out Decent Work requires diversified cutting-edge, not yesterday’s, Knowledge and Skills.
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.
I represent here the oldest nongovernmental organization, the International Association (AI) Znanie, which has consultative status with UNIDO, General Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC, and consultative status with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).
For nearly 60 years, our organization has been dedicated to education: 4.5 million of our members have given over 25 million lectures a year. In those years, that was enough.
Over the past 10 years huge experience and technical potential have been accumulated, new technologies have been mastered, the world’s largest satellite educational centers have been created in Moscow, Russian regions, CIS countries and in a number of other countries including hard-to-reach, high-mountain and far northern areas.
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 to be a Nobel laureate to teach from a university chair. What is needed is the talent to popularize the latest achievements of civilization in a wide 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, of course, the important role of 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 technically increasing their global productivity.
This is where space communications is essential. Modern universities and centers of learning must build and possess their own space teleports to exchange mutually accepted best content.
There is a need for export-import of knowledge through a single distribution teleport.
The role of education in the sustainable development of mankind is not sufficiently evaluated and not reconsidered for many decades. And here it is appropriate to recall the words of Harvard University President Derek Bock: “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. It is necessary to introduce this formula in all the efforts of states to confront the existing problems.