THE FUTURE OF HIGHER
(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)
(Last revised, Mar. 1, 2008)
Volume I - Preface and Introduction
Note at the end here the preface and an introduction in Chinese
CREATING THE LEARNING FUTURE
**The term cyberspace is here mostly referring to the Internet and Web and we would prefer here to have replaced all the terms like virtual space and hyperspace with 'education space.' Note also that the blackface and italics are the author's and for emphasis and are not from quotations.)'
NOTE: the Hewlett Foundation Center for Universal Education <www.ewlett.org/> (especially for girls for whom learning is not available or who are denied education; ) and Senator Hillary Clinton of USA's proposed `education for all' 2008 legislation; and the chapter here on free electronic regularly updated textbooks that can be wirelessly downloaded to developing world computers, such as t he X-O now being given to some of the poorest children in the world. (See 3.7)
ONE THESIS: Pink (2005) proposes that the logical and precise `left brain' information age will be followed by a `right brain' creative age "ruled by artistry, empathy and emotion;" a quality of life age of creativity. We suggest that (next then?) a transdisciplinary `left-brain-right-brain-plus-collective intelligence' age will focus on the uniqueness of each individual, not only his/her quality of life, talent development, creativity, imagination and thought, but on a life-long learning global society that uses continually emerging new and more powerful technologies to solve global and personal problems. for example, a global justice system that can cure offenders--and cynicism `that I can do nothing about it'--and ignorance much as mental illness now can be treated medically. Meanwhile the greatest catastrophe humanity faces is increasing global poverty.
A FIRST STEP: What kind of planning is now needed to prepare for extending the Internet to every developing world neighborhood, first for lifelong education and health care, and then for reconstructing human society from the bottom up, beginning with empowered co-op neighborhoods that are designed for a richer human life for everyone? (Note, volume III here on the technology to accomplish that.) A European education specialist who has worked in fifty countries for the World Bank, UNESCO and other international agencies has concluded that the transformation of education is crucial, is possible, and is slowly happening, and that "the only chance for education in the future is to utilize new learning technology efficiently and appropriately." He says that he is sure that the global basic education problem--of providing essential learning and skills to everyone on the planet--can be solved. "We have all the social, economic and technical resources to do it today. The reasons society has not done it are political and because education bureaucracies cannot yet face up to the fact that an entirely new learning system is needed...based on new discoveries about brain, mind and how people really learn (See volume three here).
An effective global education strategy and system will require global-scale research involving all nations, and this means more than is currently used by the Global Atmosphere Modeling System, or the Earth Simulator in Japan. The World Bank has since 1972 spent over thirty billion dollars in efforts to reduce poverty in the developing world, with little achieved, a former UNDP official says, because of a fundamental need for education before other projects will work. Developed nations spend $4-5,000 a year per child, the developing world $150 to $200 per child. The only solution, he and many others say, is to use the Internet to provide essential learning resources to desperately poor areas and schools, especially wherever existing schools are inadequate or do not exist.. (Swahn 2001) The 2004-05 World Summit on the Information Society (1.1) has developed plans to do this. The United Nations have in 2005-05 been working on a plan to make this possible.
A global education system can raise the economy of the whole world, and bring prosperity and a richer life to everyone on the planet...now that knowledge is wealth. For some inspiration see: <http://main.edc.org/>.
Many who begin to look at possible futures for global lifelong learning are frustrated. Can integrated, holistic, well-planned alternatives be proposed as a place to begin discussion and planning? Architects use computer modeling to design campus buildings, but where are adequate computer simulations and models of the academic side of learning, teaching, researching and preserving humanity’s enlarging cultural heritage? As humanity moves into a time of global education--cradle to grave--planners need blueprints for lifelong educational systems and structures so that new possibilities can be examined to provide adequate education for everyone on earth in the 21st century. How can essential trust be developed? (Luker 2002)
Our goal in these three online volumes is to provoke discussion and a quest for new ideas and vision, especially for the agenda for a comprehensive global planning process online. (See 3.10) The needed global electronic learning system must be built up from the bottom rather than imposed top-down. J. F. Rischard in High Noon, on the basis of his extensive World Bank experience says that essential planning is not likely to be done by governments and international agencies alone, but rather through international networking. We seek here to develop a conversation about that.
Those who need help in shaping a transdisciplinary research-based holistic lifelong global learning philosophy and strategy could be helped by the vision, mission and projects of the Learning Development Institute. It "promotes--through research and action--learning in its broadest sense, recognizing its multifaceted nature, ensuring the integrity, completeness and inclusiveness of the learning environment at large, and supporting the emergence and evolution of dynamic learning communities around the world. In serving the various communities mentioned above, LDI's focus is a transnational one. It is particularly interested in contributing to equitable use of all available resources for learning worldwide." A more extensive reference to LDI and its multiple connections can be found in the notes at the end of this third volume preface.
Our three online volumes are offered free to readers--especially those in the developing world. (Readers interested in learning--as an aid to developing world poverty areas and villages--have found it helpful to begin reading in volume two, chapter seventeen.) Our chapters are available here online so that political and education planners everywhere can help revise and update what is outlined here for an informed public and learners. We here ask questions, being a survey of literature and text that becomes a sort of annotated bibliography. The hope is to keep updating and expanding these volumes until--perhaps in time with many collaborators--(readers and faculty)--this can become a useful experiment towards an online textbook (3.7) on global education. UNESCO has offered a book with case studies
Theme and another thesis: We here invite the reader to join with us in exploring some underlying ideas, seeing idea here, as in all contemporary science, as still rather primitive.. Rather than being at the `end of history,' human history is still just beginning and still discovering vision. goals and technology that can transform and improve...
(1) The United Nations charter at its founding, that all nations signed, required compulsory education for all the children in the world. UNESCO and the International Telecommunications Union have declared `education for all' as a goal, and much is now underway to accomplish `lifelong learning for all.' The development for everyone in the world of adequate lifelong learning, needed for this information age--and its successor age of creativity--may require large-scale research and experimentation of a scope--like that spent on health and NASA in outer space--which humanity is not prepared to fund. So we need to examine less expensive efforts that can be accomplished through the Internet. For example, funds are not yet in place to create a master annotated catalog of all online courses all over the world that are internationally available. There are not yet funds to create a massive online global library; but all existing course catalogs on the Internet can be linked and cross-indexed; and all online digital libraries can be linked. So we not only here report projects and experiments, but also ask if much cannot be done-- in advance of global-scale funding--through online teamwork and links. Perhaps it can become a major concern and action area of college students worldwide.
(2) Humanity’s fundamental problems are interrelated and are closely tied to our earth. In education and elsewhere, humanity must find holistic solutions that are transdisciplinary. Each separate problem and crisis cannot be adequately resolved alone so teamwork is crucial to deal with the total ecology of education. This will require much larger, holistic views. Plans to implement in the next half century should be made now.
(3) And most important, it is our thesi for discussion here that planners should acknowledge their fundamental ignorance, that all of us really know very little, at least beyond our own specialization.! Even the greatest scientists and scholars--however expert they are in their limited area--need to recognize how little they yet know. Perhaps we have moved from the childish era of the human race into an adolescent era, and one characteristic of adolescence is being `know it alls' who do know yet recognize our need for humility in the face of a vast outer and inner space universes humans are only beginning to explore. The antidote to human ignorance is not defensive arguments about our positions, but a readiness for much more research and experimentation. We propose here in Volume II that we more research in how to educate everyone, and also larger-scale research on how to improve research itself on learning.
(4) The old education paradigm of transferring information into the mind of the passive learner--often by memorization--must give way to new and technology-empowered ways to think creatively, to communicate, to learn and to make decisions, a thesis and conviction to be explored in volume 3. Note:for a free global learning system in 34 languages and continuing discussion of it at <http://home.learningtimes.net/learningtimes?go=390675>.
Universities, education researchers and global education planners are not yet adequately helping human society, as it becomes global, to deal with overwhelming problems such as terrorism and :
(a) the lack of political ability and will (including in educational establishment politics) to get agreement on how to tackle major long range problems that are becoming crises. (See Volume II) For example: the 2004 discussion of university accountability.
(b) The lack of an adequate agreed-upon global policy, plans, procedures in global education, although the UN, UNESCO, and International Telecommunications Union have made a good start).
(c ) Millions of children are dying unnecessarily of hunger and disease. Huge numbers lack the learning opportunities essential for developing world people solve their own problems and meet their own needs.
(d) The ecological erosion of the planet requires better learning for all, everywhere . Some experts think humanity may have only fifty years or so to solve such issues as global warming. Rischard thinks twenty.
(e) Humanity also faces a dangerous social
erosion, a kind of `cultural desertification, as has been seen in
(f) Further, the Union of International Associations (UIA) <www.uia.org> has identified over 26,000 serious problems that humanity faces, many of them generally neglected and avoided rather than confronted because many will require global-scale solutions. Universities are often at the center of the avoidance, especially when academics say, for instance, that “it is our job to teach about and do research to increase food production and its quality, but not to undertake the actions and help develop the policies needed, for example, to get adequate food into the mouths of every child in the world.
Perhaps if the
universities and researchers of the world worked more closely together--as is now possible and
happening through the Internet and Web--the invisible emerging `global
education system for all in
virtual space/cyberspace could become more problem-centered. How? (3.10)
First of all;
through networking and links, as will be discussed here Perhaps only one or two people
may in any one place are concerned about one of those 26,000 problems. But when linked together, and to the major publications and organizations that publish research
and action plans in that area, more effective work and action by individuals and
local groups could be possible.
It is not only academics that are often frustrated because they get hundreds of
personal requests for money from ecological and other such organizations. Few academics have
the time or money to support so many
1.P.2 GLOBAL LIFELONG UNIVERSITIES IN THE COMING SPACE AGE
John Sculley, when president of Apple Computers, predicted that “the universities as networks of interdependence” are going to be at the center of a new renaissance. Most educators are more modest in their expectations--in fact too many are smug about ineffective schools and universities, yet just as banking, entertainment, business and politics are being transformed by information technology, something remarkable is happening globally in education. It may the middle of the 21st century before we can be sure whether it is true that all human institutions are going to be transformed. Yet even before the next wage of technology arrives Dertouzos (1997) proposed that it will revise “deeper aspects of our lives and of humanity” such as how we learn and how better to teach and learn. (See Volume III).
Why use the term `university' in development of adequate education for all in the world? Because lifelong education needs to be rooted in research, and styles of research in which everyone is a partner. (See volume II)
Meanwhile, three beginning draft online volumes here propose some agenda items—questions, not answers— for those who plan for and seek to give some direction to the expanding use of astonishing new technologies for international lifelong learning. Such developments are multiplying in the 21st century so fast that it is difficult to keep up with them. a multitude of conferences are examining one or more aspects of electronic education (many online) such as HEKATE, the Higher Education Knowledge and Technology Exchange. <http;//www.hekate.org> It has sought to bring together `technology and higher education professionals'-- together with leading thinkers from commercial environments-- to ask "what we want education and training worldwide to be in 2010?" On of its initial projects was TERI, the Technology in Education, Research and Instruction Index, "an international index of `best practices.
What should be proposed and discussed (we ask in chapter 1.4 and 3.8.1) in an online conference--involving thousands of concerned leaders and learning specialists all over the world--to deal with the implications of social-hurricane challenges described here in 1.1? Perhaps a global-scale online planning conference should begin with the proposal of John R. Campbell, president emeritus of Oklahoma State University, that because of rapid change and uncertain futures for education there should be--at the heart of every university--a transdisciplinary team that draws upon nearly every discipline in exploring possible new visions and plans for global lifelong learning. One possible place to begin:, he suggests here (1.10.1), is reviving the `land grant university’ vision and apply it to the entire world. These local teams could then be linked as a global planning system.
Will a global virtual `lifelong learning system’ consist of linking whatever global learning infrastructures come into being in and beyond virtual/cyberspace? (1.2). Maybe the as yet invisible worldwide lifelong electronic system is already beginning to appear in the increasing Internet inter-connections among of scholars in many disciplines from all over the world, in thousand of distance education courses on line, and in joint research projects. Paul Miller, former president of West Virginia University and of Rochester Tech., suggested--in a brain storming session--that a pilot project to transform one existing major university into a segment of a truly global learning system should begin with a three-year study by fifty highly qualified people, one third from the that university; another third from the public sector and community; and the third should be outside experts. Together they should to explore what skills future learners will need in the next two decades and many other questions raised here. Where else can a process be initiated to intelligently and relevantly “reform humanity’s entire lifelong learning system begin? Could such discussions be more helpful if there were large-scale computer models of various alternatives; much as there are global economy and weather models?”
While beginning locally in many places, involving all facets of a community, all such future planning groups might be linked globally on the Internet, using a tested process described here in the Collective Intelligence section (2.4.1) and elaborated in 3.10. Together then, global-scale planners everywhere could contribute to a learning database, sharing ideas, dreams, questions and case studies to develop wisdom about possible ways to restructure education. Perhaps such planners need a global `observatory’ to get a vision of new possibilities as the planet itself is seen from a satellite?
Questions? Theoretically, a `virtual global learning system worldwide' would need to create communities of learning, to pass on our heritage of knowledge, and to create new knowledge through research and serve humanity. It is important to note (Creighton and Buchanon 2001) that “distributed learning technologies (should not be) just an addition to campus offerings, but (also) a way to strengthen the campus experience and better serve the existing student population.” (See 3.4.1) How can the traditional university’s share of these tasks be better done, especially to improve the life quality of everyone in the world? By reform and restructuring?
Are entirely new learning theories and global structures required? James Bailey (1996) early pointed out that humanity’s most vexing problems “center on certain systems of enormous complexity. The systems that host these problems…appear to be as diverse as the problems;” for example, economies, ecologies, nervous systems, political and weather systems. Can larger research strategies deal better with complexity? Bailey went on to report that scientists “focus increasingly on questions of social and biological patterns.” Using computers to study the patterns of environments and other areas of complexity shows “both that there is a pattern to life and a life to patterns.” If, he said, we imagine humanity’s vast number of decision-problems as an ocean, with the more complicated ones at increasing depth, we are so far only within a few feet of the sea’s surface. To go deeper now in how to provide learning for all requires us to start afresh with the more powerful technologies that soon will be available. (See Dertouzos 2000) “Everything, including thought itself, is up for reconsideration.” Four words are suggestive below as we consider how to begin to rethink global learning (and even the word `education' needs to be re-thought..
A first important word is `emerging.' We cannot as yet be sure what is already inevitably happeing (for example in future technologies), or how important it is going to be. Some scholars foresee a change in all human institutions more fundamental than anything humanity has experienced in five thousand years, a cultural and institutional transformation more radical than the agricultural and industrial revolutions combined. (See for example, Sutton 1990; Singhal and Rogers 1989, Dertouzos 1997, 2000 and Pink 2005.). It is crucial now for `global educators' to begin planning for at least a half century ahead. Otherwise the global learning system in cyberspace may be a `kludge’ as are many increasingly ineffective educational structures.
The Paris 1998 UNESCO global conference on higher education decided and declared that “On the eve of a new century,” there is an unprecedented global demand for learning. This raises great challenges and difficulties “related to financing, equity, access, improved staff development, skills-based training, enhancement and preservation of quality in teaching, research and services, relevance of programmes, employability of graduates, establishment of efficient cooperation agreements “and equitable access to the benefits of international co-operation.”
At the same time, that conference of leading educators declared that “higher education is being challenged by new opportunities in relating to technologies that are improving the ways in which knowledge can be produced, managed, disseminated, accessed and controlled. It was asserted that “the second half of the 20th century “will go down in the history of higher education as the period of its most spectacular expansion: an over six fold increase in student enrolments worldwide, from 13 million in 1960 to 82 million in 1995. But it is also the period which has seen the gap enlarge between industrially developed and the developing countries. . .with regard to access and resources for higher learning and research.” Hopefully now `sharing knowledge, international co-operation and emerging technologies can offer new opportunities to reduce this gap. In 2005 and 2006 UNESCO began a series of online conferences on extending better education everywhere in the world with informed people in more than 87 countries participating.,
Higher education has given ample proof of its viability over the centuries and of its ability to change and to induce change and progress in society.”’ Now society has become increasingly `knowledge-based,’ which means that learning and research are now essential components of cultural, socio-economic and environmentally sustainable development of individuals, communities and nations.” Higher education itself, the UNESCO conference concluded “is confronted therefore with formidable challenges (such as learning for all) and must proceed to the most radical change and renewal it has ever been required to undertake, so that human society, which is currently undergoing a profound crisis of values can transcend mere economic considerations and incorporate deeper dimensions of morality and spirituality. Therefore there must be a process of in-depth reform in higher education worldwide.” Further, the declaration urged that the reform be based on the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which declares “that higher education shall be equally accessible” to everyone in the world “on the basis of merit; and . . .individual capacity.” It drew upon planning at global conferences that have called for lifelong learning.
Also it was declared that “the solution of the problems in the twenty-first century will be determined by the vision of the future society and by the role that is assigned to education in general and to higher education in particular. Perhaps we limit the use the word `education' for existing institutions and programs.
A second key word is electronic, chosen here to include all the digital technology (the `$100 X-O computer' for all the children in the world who lack adequate education, and its mobile successor, satellite, optic cable, software, online textbooks for content, wireless connections CDs, embedded microchip, networking and much more) that is coming together, converging to make possible the cooperative exchange of research and new ideas and needs on a global basis, including the virtual global-scale lecture hail, science lab, concert hall and drama stage. The word `virtual space’ and others are used here, but there is as yet no term adequate for the `space’ opened to education by the technology that those planning for global lifelong learning should have within twenty or so years.
Here from volume to volume is a discussion of global scale tools, modeling and simulations, electronic network links to data bases, to peer-reviewed publications and researchers in each sub-area; and technology to link organizations, inter-related areas in various disciplines and research projects, co-laboratories, action/information networks and `Observatories’ to record and publicize projects and what needs to be done next.
Yet as we confront the possibilities of more powerful forthcoming technology, we are, to use a phrase of Arthur C. Clarke’s, like fish trying to imagine fire. If some new kind of global lifelong learning structure is coming into existence it is propelled not only by the new opportunities provided by communications technology, but also by the desperate needs of underdeveloped areas for better research, political action, and learning opportunities.
This online book draft is an effort to gather together and summarize scattered research reports and to report experiments and demonstrations that suggest that a worldwide electronic lifelong `university' is emerging at the center of a global electronic learning system.. Here are included a beginning introduction to reports, case studies, issues and questions. Left out here are detailed descriptions of technology, although some is included. It is difficult to write both for those who have been too busy to keep up with technology and also for those who are experts in one phase or another of what is reported here. It is even harder to write both for the public and for educators in less privileged countries—where many are eager to find out whether or not the electronic sharing of courses can help solve some of their problems. This project can become more and more useful only as it adds more and more links.
It is, in any case, a mistake to begin with the technology. We first need to decide how lifelong learning can and should be restructured--or begin anew--in order to meet the needs of six to ten billion future learners in an increasingly global society; and then develop the technology that best serves those ends. It is important for ever learner to have a pencil, when pencils are the best available technology tool, so it is perhaps important for every learner now to have a simple computerized learning instrument until its successor for learning is mass produced, but too many educators are busy providing technology without adequate attention to their use to improve real learning. (In 2005 India was exploring how to produce one at low cost.)
A Global Vision? Can we begin with a vision for global problem centered education that is suggested by these goals which are now technologically feasible but that require a `learning society:'
More important than the technology is the “expanding global research community” (2.1) that technology can enable. Technology can put more power in the hands of learners and researchers--collective intelligence--to further such goals—based on right combinations of cost effectiveness as well as `learnability’—rather than merely using technology developed by non-educators or by commercial interests.
A third word is university, a word that includes “universe.” Global higher education has been a crucial foundation for the emerging information-and-knowledge-based global society. Historically, the end of the twentieth century was a time comparable to the twelfth century when the rise of the university in Western Europe helped enable the Renaissance of learning and the birth of western science. The word university first referred to a guild of students, then to a guild of scholars. From the beginning the universities were international. Students often traveled in search of the course they wanted, wandering from country to country much as some now explore the “electronic highways.” The future lifelong global electronic university can enable primary school pupils and the elderly to do that from home.
The original western universities had very little organization, although there was a vigorous intellectual life. At Paris, for example, the university “was not founded, it grew” (Haskins 1927). Its first charter simply recognized a body of students and teachers that already existed. Similarly today, no international government agency is establishing a new global system for lifelong learning. Yet the global electronic lifelong learning system may be emerging and is closely related to concerns of leading educators. (For example, see Bok 1990; Dertouzos 2000 and the books of Duderstadt.) Tens of millions of people of all ages are already participating in distance education, open universities, and other electronic learning networks. As such programs expand globally, sharing of information and courses can be a much more affordable form of aid to the Developing World. Indeed, World Bank consultations at the turn of the century have proposed that `education for all’--made possible by the Internet--may be humanity’s best chance to end poverty. Ivan Trujillo (1988), administrator of the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, once pointed out that inflation and interest on huge foreign debts were having profound impacts upon education in Latin America. Whereas in the 1960s it had been possible to send large numbers of gifted Latin American students abroad for graduate studies, it was becoming prohibitively expensive to do so. At the same time a “dangerous information gap” began to cause developing nations to fall far behind. Scholars in Latin America, he said, and their universities often could not even afford the increasingly expensive scholarly journals that are essential if they are to keep up with current developments in their own fields of research. So perhaps the best solution for Latin America, for instance, is to enlarge electronic inter-connections between Latin American universities and those advanced learning centers in the rest of the world. But how is that to be structured? Administered? Are existing higher education traditions a barrier?
Trujillo also pointed out that Latin Americans had to confront an already static idea in which universities were almost a luxury, a place to educate an elite. As the universities of East Asia, North America, and Europe expand their electronic connections and learning programs, he said, Latin Americans also “wants in.”
So `Universal’--alongside lifelong--is a fourth key word. Higher education has been slowly coming to terms with the emerging global society, but many educators do not yet seem to be concerned that the shape of the global virtual lifelong learning may be determined or strait jacketed by global non-education forces such as business, technological developments, and pressing government priorities. It is therefore crucial that attention now be given to discussion and development of the goals, priorities, values, and philosophy that ought to govern global lifelong learning system. It is hoped that a great deal of academic freedom can be maintained in the sharing, cooperation and balance between government, academia, volunteer and private educational organizations, and the business corporations involved in continuing education, so that no one of these commercial or bureaucratic forces will dominate. This requires replacing cumbersome, bureaucratic institutions with flexible networks in which scholars and learners can link themselves together on a global basis.
New possibilities and concerns about structuring global electronic lifelong include and therefore the first chapters of this volume focus for purposes of discussion on:
The UNESCO 1998 higher education conference declared that priority should be given to research to contribute to the sustainable development and improvement of society as a whole; should educate highly qualified graduates and responsible citizens able to meet the needs of all sectors of human activity, throughout life, giving to learners an optimal range of choice and a flexibility of entry and exit points within the system, as well as an opportunity for individual development and social mobility in order to educate for citizenship and for active participation in society with a worldwide vision; plus relevant expertise to assist societies in cultural, social and economic development; to help understand, interpret, preserve, enhance, promote historic cultures in a context of cultural pluralism and diversity; to help protect and enhance societal values by training people in democratic citizenship; and by providing critical and detached perspectives to assist in the discussion of strategic options “and the reinforcement of humanistic perspectives.”
UNESCO <http:// www.education.unesco.org/educprog/wche/presentation.htm> proposed that each higher education institution should define its mission according to the present and future needs of society. It should be conscious of the fact that lifelong learning is essential for any country or region to reach the necessary level of sustainable and environmentally sound economic and social development, cultural creativity nourished by better knowledge and understanding of the cultural heritage, higher living standards, and internal and international harmony and peace, based on human rights, democracy, tolerance and mutual respect ...and academic freedom take into account the need to abide by the rules of ethics and scientific and intellectual rigor, and the multi disciplinary and transdisciplinary approach. <http://www.ceptualinstitute.com/genre/benking/ifsr/IFSRnov98pp.htm>
So isn’t there need for a global learning-research design, (even computer simulation models) with long range goals and including action research for getting things done Can that be well done, however, without first giving attention to values and fundamental goals? We await the results of the follow-up of UNESCO `virtual university' conferences..
UNESCO’s 1998 global higher education vision included: equity of access with no discrimination on grounds of race, gender, language or religion, or economic, cultural or social distinctions, or physical disabilities in partnership with all levels of education, starting with early childhood and primary education and continuing through life; in active partnership with parents, schools, students, socio-economic groups and communities. It should also enhance the participation of women. Higher education, the UNESCO declaration said, should “reinforce its role of service to society, especially its activities aimed at eliminating poverty, intolerance, violence, illiteracy, hunger, environmental degradation and disease, mainly through an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach in the analysis of problems and issues. “Ultimately, higher education should aim at the creation of a new society--non‑violent and non-exploitative--consisting of highly cultivated, motivated and integrated individuals, inspired by love for humanity and guided by wisdom.”
More diversified systems for lifelong learning need new types of institutions: local, public, private and non-profit, that can offer a wide variety of education and training opportunities: access to traditional degrees or accreditation, short courses, part-time study, flexible schedules, modularized courses, supported learning at a distance, etc. These are here discussed in Volumes Two and Three. “In a world undergoing rapid changes, there is need for a new vision and paradigm for lifelong education, which should be learner-oriented, learners who can think critically, analyze problems of society, look for solutions to the problems of society, apply them and accept social responsibilities “necessary to recast curricula to go beyond cognitive mastery of disciplines in order to facilitate the acquisition of skills, competencies and abilities for communication, creative and critical analysis, independent thinking and team work in multicultural contexts, where creativity also involves combining traditional or local knowledge with advanced science and technology.”
Qualitative evaluation, the UNESCO declaration said, “should embrace all its functions, and activities: teaching and academic programmes, research and scholarship... including internal self-evaluation and external review." It said that quality also requires that learning programs should be characterized by their international dimension: exchange of knowledge, interactive networking, mobility of teachers and learners, and international research projects, while taking into account varying cultural values and circumstances. The UNESCO declaration also said:
“The rapid breakthroughs in new information and communication technologies will further change the way knowledge is developed, acquired and delivered. Engaging in networks, technology transfer, capacity-building; developing teaching materials and sharing experience of their application in teaching, training and research, making knowledge accessible to all. UNESCO urged: “creating new learning environments, ranging from distance education facilities to complete virtual higher education institutions and systems, based on regional, continental or global networks, functioning a way that respects cultural and social identities. The principle of solidarity and true partnership amongst higher education institutions worldwide is crucial for education and training in all fields that encourage an understanding of global issues, the role of democratic governance and skilled human resources in their resolution, and the need for living together with different cultures and values.” The UNESCO recommendations are a helpful place to begin more comprehensive planning: “Partnership and alliances should be cultivated among stakeholders, national and institutional policy-makers, teaching and related staff, researchers and students, and administrative and technical personnel in institutions of higher education, the world of work, community groups in order to create a powerful force in managing change.” Also, non-governmental organizations should be key participants in global planning.. “Partnership, based on common interest, mutual respect and credibility, should be a prime matrix for renewal in higher education.”
The UNESCO declaration urged that governments, parliaments and other agencies establish the legislative and political framework for the reform and further development of higher education, taking into account the fact that education and research are two closely related elements in the establishment of knowledge. But will that happen? Innovative schemes of collaboration between education institutions and different sectors of society might ensure that education and research programs effectively contribute to local, regional and national development. Learners, however, must be at the center of reform efforts. Conditions necessary for the exercise of academic freedom and institutional autonomy should be strengthened. Access to lifelong learning in whatever form must remain open to all at any age, including older learners who do not have any formal secondary education certificates, "by attaching more importance to their professional experience." The concept of `bridging programs’ should be promoted to allow those entering the job market to return to studies at a later date. Now, what should planners develop to build upon and expand this UNESCO vision? All politicians need a larger global vision for the 21st century and research to that end is proposed in volume 2 here.
From now on in the 21st century the two major obstacles are money and political priorities. Since the United States does not seem ready to help much with either, perhaps the best hopes for leadership lie with the European Union?
What we here call possible `models for global lifelong education are really just `ideas to stimulate discussion,' for which little serious effort has yet been made to create computer simulation models.' Nor is adequate attention yet being given to the transformational `social hurricanes,' discussed in the first chapter, that are making drastic changes in education essential and inevitable.
The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View