With the growing ’needs’ for knowledge we have first to know the ‘purpose’ of education. We have also to take in consideration the ‘construction of our societies’ and what is ‘meant’ by knowledge.
Indeed, there are many aspects of what we mean by ‘need’ and what we mean by ‘purpose’ as both are connected in several ways to each other what regards ‘knowledge and education’. Also, the ‘socio-economic environments’ of our societies that are part of both the need and the purpose of knowledge to be acquired by us and our fellow citizens.
Currently, we have a modern dilemma of a growing confusion on many levels about both the purpose of, and the need for, education as an instrument for acquiring knowledge. Part of the confusion is related to how to put the purpose in appropriate manner to fulfil the needs on individual levels or common collective levels in certain socio-economic context. The path between the purpose and the need in many cases is not straightforward and sometimes not known at all or at least not well-defined. On the other hand, it is logic to think this way, no one whether an individual or an institution gets interested in education without knowing the need of, and purpose for, education. Both the purpose and the need are related to the socio-economic conditions which further makes the educational process challenging on several levels.
Another aspect is how knowledge is being acquired. Is it acquired by accumulation of knowledge in our intellectual memory? or is it by developing it through independent and indepth consciousness where intelligence is a path for innovation? In this context, it seems that it is mandatory to get some sort of orientation or introduction about what raw knowledge is, if so what type of education can be suitable, i.e. in terms of purpose and need. It is like when you prepare a meal you would need raw ingredients but there would be huge options of both how you get the ingredients and how you prepare a meal for your own. In this context, raw knowledge can be a necessary pre-request to create new knowledge that are specifically needed to navigate in society and create meaningful life where innovation is a tool rather than what exists in the memory. Both the purpose and the need are related to the basic aspects about knowledge i.e. ‘what, why, when, where and how’ to acquire knowledge.
Knowledge is needed for all of us but for different purposes from both the society and the individual viewpoint. Knowledge as based on previously ones doesn’t lead to new jobs or new solutions it just create new copies for purposes that aren’t needed any more. Even if knowledge is needed only to get a job or to participate in socio-economic activities it is still an individual responsibility to freely select, shape, reshape, extend and practice in new forms that can be suitable and practical for one’s carrier and lifestyle. This is assuming flexible and resilient educations systems and democratic environments exist which aren’t necessarily the case everywhere.
When the purpose for which knowledge coincides with what we need it for then this type of specific knowledge is appreciated. Acquiring knowledge is always dynamic process as the purpose and need as well as the socio-economic context are all variables and can be volatile. There are no standard packages of knowledge that fits all of us under all conditions. We can put it this way there are no general keys for success in all part of our life except to be open-minded, critical and intelligent enough to select, compile and put together the necessary knowledge to fulfil whatever needs that may emerge.
The purpose of acquiring knowledge in the past century, by the global education systems, shifted gradually from being a resilient education process, that supports the free and unconditional choice of individuals to gain and access knowledge in any form or content, to a rigid well-defined chain of blocks and pre-defined frames for a mandatory entrance to the labor market. This has turned the whole education system worldwide up-side-down and made it an industrial enterprise for production of certified but in many cases unqualified graduates for the market itself. In this process, all the proper connections between the purpose for, and the need of, education were also systematically lost or at least disconnected. If education is about producing copies of intellectuals then it is a catastrophic machinery that makes everyone of us question the purpose of education and its need for a market that is already saturated. Did the institutions, whether schools or universities, fail with their mission to deliver appropriate education to the society in general and the market in particular? Or are the needs for independent graduates that can master their careers and lifestyles, just disappeared?
A global common instrument to acquire knowledge is education and it has been accepted at least in the past century as an instrument to satisfy our existing and emerging needs on the one hand, and to assist individuals to participate in shaping and forming the democracy in the society on the other hand. However, in past century education changed from being a resilient instrument to acquire and develop knowledge, to a one-size-fits-all instrument, primarily to get the very same jobs that have always existed. Moreover, the market in different forms penetrated and dived deep in the education systems, directly or indirectly including the private and public sectors, and made these systems extended arms for the industry and economy including traditional and out-dated ones.
Artificial Intelligence ‘AI’ and Machine learning ‘ML’ will further extend these arms. As the human memory has very limited capacity, the only way to benefit from education is not through competition on how much we can accumulate in our memories but rather by collaborative innovation through diversification of human intelligence. Current education systems of one-size-fits-all is out-dated and not suitable anymore. Future teachers have to invent and innovative far beyond being dependent on memory-based education. Deep consciousness in selecting and compiling knowledge and not blind compulsiveness in mediating the same knowledge is important for the innovation in communicating and developing knowledge. This is specially what regards promoting and implementing science and technology for the benefit of human-being with consideration to the UN-SDGs and for achieving prosperity on planet Earth.
Since the end of the 20th century new positive mega trends emerged but net yet fully utilized, i.e. scaled-out and scaled-up. There are great potentials to turn the failure in education machinery to considerable benefit for the mankind. These are ‘ICT’ Information Communication Technology and ‘IoT’ Internet of Things, ‘SMI’ Social-Media Instruments and of course the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals ‘UN-SDGs’.
These are major mega transformations that are already forming and shaping our societies very fast and with enormous power in many aspects and will continue to do so for generations to come. Unprecedented transformations are already taking place and the reasons are becoming very clear as we proceed in the 21st century. For the first time in human history we are heading to more resilient future that can free us from the so-far dominant Industrial Education Systems ‘IES’ with very destructive traditions of compulsiveness, forced competition, monopolies and unnecessary mismanagement of education. The strategic questions that we have to address now so as we can accelerate the benefits from these Mega Social Revolutions ‘MSRs’ for everyone and everywhere are: how can we tame these MSRs and unify them so as everyone of us turn education more and more to a Social-Use-Me-Instrument. This is of course possible but needs time, patience and Innovation. This will not happen overnight and it is about putting together these Mega Social Revolutions in an applied and effective framework with collective infrastructures.
Many of the issues addressed above are also taking place in R&D which unfortunately have catastrophic consequences for the life quality on planet earth. These naturally have also negative impacts for the prosperity of the majority of world population. Of course there are still some winners but if we don’t find solution all of us will suffer without exceptions as we have experienced, and still, with COVID-19. As in education the MSRs will help R&D to create new pathways for better future through innovations and inventions to protect and preserve life on planet Earth but the time-window to do so is becoming smaller and smaller so we have to intensify and accelerate our efforts to save our planet from further degradation and destruction. sustain-earth.com will expand on these issues in the future.
However, to start with follow this video that gives some basic aspects and dimensions about what key media-professionals say about education: https://youtu.be/PAaWZTFRP9Q