Top Level Segment of ECOSOC
Chairman of the Interstate Committee of the CIS
on Knowledge Dissemination and Adult Education,
President of the International Association “Znanie”,
Professor E. Malitikov
June 29, 2004, New York
Dear Mr. Chairman!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It is my privilege and my colleagues’ honor to establish the World University in order to contribute effectively to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to prepare the world community for global governance and global policy.
Globalization has come inexorably into our world.
It has impregnated our consciousness and mentality, covering megacities and provincial centers.
Its signs have appeared in the villages, invaded every home, participated in the destiny of every person.
It has predetermined the lives of succeeding generations and dictates its conditions to governments.
It has come invisibly, like radiation, and is now galloping across the planet.
Globalization makes us either its victims or its riders.
It is difficult and does not need to be stopped. It is objective, logical and unavoidable.
It must be accepted or become its slave.
I am a supporter of positive perception, a welcoming approach and active cooperation with global processes.
I am convinced that it is necessary to take a trailing rather than blocking stance in this.
It is necessary to get on the train called “Globalization” in time.
Many countries and peoples have not fully realized this need and are under the illusion that globalization will not affect them, that they can fence themselves off from it, shutting themselves in a comfortable niche with a familiar and mastered amount of welfare.
But prosperity can fall from under the foundations of any country, even a wealthy one, if it stagnates in its conservative prosperity, spending the savings of the previous phase of its development.
Such a worldview is reckless.
It is necessary to prepare for the coming processes, which no single country in the world can cope with alone, in the mode of afterburner.
The best simulator for this is our education. But not the one we used in the last century, but a fundamentally new one, based on new mental attitudes and the latest technologies for the introduction and dissemination of knowledge.
Classroom-lesson form of education has exhausted its resources in our information age, like Plato’s system of individual education of two or three students during a walk in the garden.
The old education system has fallen behind, creating a growing digital divide and nearly a billion completely illiterate people who cannot read or write.
Meanwhile, the rest of civilization’s 5 billion is also lagging behind the necessary modern knowledge.
Compounding this is the 15 million 25 percent teacher shortage.
Current educators themselves need to update their knowledge, conservative views of education, and learn new technologies to disseminate knowledge.
The productivity of the professor under the classroom-lesson form of education increases the digital divide and does not meet the demands of global management processes.
The required number of classrooms must be increased by a thousand times or more, which is impossible in a real classroom.
Modern educational content, talented and technologically adapted to virtual export-import transportation, should be sent from university television studios via satellite teleporters on a targeted request to anywhere on the planet.
The cost of online learning will always be proportional to the number of users. With mass training, i.e. more than 100,000 people, it will be hundreds of times higher than the cost of training using satellites, where the cost is proportionately lower.
This is true for the rich: the United States and Europe.
For Africa, the cost of the Internet is 20 times more expensive.
For high-altitude regions, where almost a quarter of the poorest people on the planet live, the Internet is not only unprofitable, but also unaffordable due to natural, climatic, geographic and economic conditions.
With the change in society’s mental attitude: “Education for life!”, to the formula “Education through life!”, and with the reflection of this principle in state policy priorities, its effectiveness will increase through the involvement of the adult population, and the cost will asymptotically tend to the generally accessible minimum.
The ten-year experience of the Modern Humanitarian University established in Russia with its own satellite teleport demonstrated the validity of the arguments I have expressed:
The cost of tuition for 165 thousand students using satellite technology is $5 per person per year, and more than $500 via the Internet;
The University with its 2,500 professors covers more than 400 cities and educational centers in 14 countries and disseminates knowledge in 68 specialties;
It is the largest in Russia and the CIS and the fourth largest in the world;
Its virtual audience is 4,000 times larger than the classical one;
Its students in distant poor villages and high-altitude settlements can study at Cambridge without the expense of leaving their village.
And yet it is illiteracy and consequent uncompetitiveness that has resulted in hundreds of millions of people living in utter hopeless poverty in conditions hardly compatible with civilized life, and more than 3 billion – more than half – living on $2 a day.
All of them are a red balance and a heavy burden on the shoulders of world society and the economy, and with access to education, a positive balance.
Until recently, the education of highly developed and wealthy Germany was considered one of the most prestigious in the world educational system. Today, by many objective quality components in the world rankings, Germany has fallen into the bottom third of the progressive scale, despite having the oldest schools and universities with centuries of history and learning experience.
“Knowledge for export!” – is the new theory of success we are putting forward, its social and economic component. Especially since knowledge for humanity is not spread evenly over the planet, like butter on bread.
When the number of illiterate uncompetitive people on Earth exceeds a critical mass, they can bury not only tranquility, but also the very Sustainable Development of Mankind.
In cooperation with the Scientific-Research Institute of Space Systems and the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics and following the conversion doctrine of military production the Interstate Committee of the CIS on Spreading of Knowledge and Adult Education and the International Association “Znanie” put forward the idea to create together with the English company “Sat EduNet” the World University for ensuring global coverage for mutual exchange and export of knowledge among the leading universities of the world.
The process of mental change is the most complex and lengthy process in our human life.
But despite the tendencies and desire of people to erect, reshape and gravitate toward boundaries, humanity remains a single organism of the planet.
To overcome this mentality will help the young island of the Future, the World University.
I invite participants of the Upper Level Segment of ECOSOC to visit this island of the Future.
Thank you for your attention!