THE FUTURE OF HIGHER
(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)
Volume II - Chapter Seventeen
(Last updated, June 18, 2008)
RESEARCH FOR PLANETARY-LEARNING STRATEGIES FOR POVERTY REDUCTION
In an effort to THINK BIG we propose in this chapter some experimentation with reconstruction of a poverty village or neighborhood as a laboratory context for ultimately providing adequate job training and education for everyone to reduce poverty. Then to be audacious, in the next chapter we propose using an entire poor and small country as a research laboratory. The popular media rarely report on successful rural village poverty reduction projects--Google reports over 600,000 on the web--that the public and most politicians do not know what ought to be supported For local people to do the work themselves they must have on the job training and other essential information, that now can be made available to them via the Internet, on CD payers, on digital radio and other combinations of increasingly affordable technologies. Thorn (2005) of the Jhai <http://www.jhai.org>.Foundation in India
Increasingly it is becoming clear that contemporary learning theories and practices are not yet well-enough grounded in scientific research, nor appropriate for much of the developing world. Some scholars look forward to a new `science of learning." Education--lifelong learning job training---is essential for global poverty to be eliminated. There is increasing agreement that the entire world--nor any one nation--cannot be healthy and thrive in the long run while large percentages of the world's people are illiterate, lacking adequate knowledge and skills for health care, jobs, and survival. (Tiffin 1995). Since no one yet `has the answers,' what we call for here is a plan for continuing dialog and comprehensive planning among specialists in every concerned area -- including business and government --on what kind of research and sharing of resources is needed in order to create the new learning that is essential for the 21st century for the poorest and most disadvantaged. (see the research reports linked to the Learning Development Institutes' home page: <http://www.learndev.org>.) One emphasis there has been on creating a `book of problems' on what is not known. There are photos of researchers and links to their different kinds of research...most with a transdisciplinary emphasis. There Michael Spector has pointed out that "what we know about learning is inseparably entwined with what we have learned from a number of disciplines. Knowledge about the human brain (3.5), the nervous system, neuropsychology, sociology, unique cultures and so on inform what we know about learning. There has been a good deal of progress in each of those areas." However, he says, instead of building steadily and systematically on that progress, "the picture has been clouded by claims that we are in the midst of dramatic changes in learning and instruction." Where, however, is the significant improvement in teaching and learning in specific contexts and cultures?
However, just as a specialized learning programs will in the future be developed to meet the needs, limitations and possibilities of each unique learner, it is crucial now to experiment with transforming poverty-stricken rural and urban areas to meet unique needs that limit adequate job training and lifelong learning. This chapter proposes some kinds of experimentation and research that may help. but can powerful emerging new technologies help find ways to overcome political barriers which stand in the way of providing `learning for all?' <http://www.col.org/irfol/index.htm> For example, at a time when new abilities of cell phones are bringing education to some of the poorest areas of the word, some national governments are adding excessive taxes on phones of people who earn a dollar a day. No emerging new technology can open up vast new possibilities for examining concurrently the many interrelated cultural, economic, political and other factors that limit contemporary learning; not research on education alone--certainly not research to improve the quality of old methods like lecturing; but research in a holistic context that does not separate lifelong learning from many other problems (such as health, poverty, injustice and ignorance.) See, on the scientific mind: <http://www.learndev.org/SciMind.html> Many development officers at the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and at other agencies have been exploring a thesis somewhat like this:
A hundred million children worldwide have no schooling at all and the number is likely to increase. (WER 1995). Hundreds of millions of women have no education (25% of girls 6-11 are not in school) and the vast number of adult illiterates is continuing to increase in a time when the information age provides economic opportunity for those who have information age skills. Worse, the most needed kinds of education are missing in the areas of greatest poverty. On cooperatives as an as an answer to gender issues, see: <http://www.ilo.org/dyn/empent/empent.Portal?p_prog=C&p_subprog=GE>.Surely how to provide the right education for all (a UNESCO announced goal) requires mega-research and not only for national departments of education. (Renner 1996) Larger-scale research is needed to help develop a coordinated global research and development system to seek reliable answers to such questions as these:
Answering crucial questions will require a great deal of experimentation and larger-scale research.Since it may take some decades for cable and the electricity grid and communications technology to become cheap enough for such an infrastructure to be developed for everyone worldwide, how else can humanity provide adequate learning for a billion more young people in poverty areas unless crucial experimentation takes place there? Now--or yesterday--is the time to develop blueprints for bringing affordable education to the world's educationally disfranchised (and better quality education to everyone.). Kinds of affordable technology is arriving in the developing world and--whether via digital wireless connections or digital radio--it can be used in poverty neighborhoods, often perhaps by consumer cooperative run `learning centers (schools for all ages/). Perhaps for-profit organizations can improve learning resources for a few, but what kinds of research experimentation are needed to make available all the kinds of learning that each unique person in poverty may need? See the Serve India Forum: <http://www.serveindiaforum.net>
Here below is a beginning draft of what will be updated and perhaps proposed for several research experiments in (a) an impoverished village, (b) an urban slum, and (c) a rural farming or cattle raising neighborhood, all at first perhaps in the same African country. The economic diagnostic approach of Jeffrey Sachs in THE END OF POVERTY might be used in selecting the localities. He believes that poverty can now can be eliminated on the planet at affordable aid costs; and thus increase the prosperity of everyone as markets for goods increase. http://www.earthinstitute.coliumbia,edu/
What kind of village or urban slum neighborhood? Thorn (2005) recommends beginning with one village for a pilot experiment. Brand (2005) reports that the population in small towns and rural areas are emptying all over the world. The need for urban agriculture and concurrent projects to reduce poverty as seen in Kibera, Africa's biggest slum, on the outskirts of Nairobi. Some families go without food there to get their children into one of a handful of schools. A July 8, 2005, CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION REVIEW article “Out of Africa, a New Way of Looking at the World” described the area. “Homes and shops are build of mud and tree branches”…alongside trenches filled with human waste. UN-Human Habitat arrived to improve the neighborhood by improving housing. but it soon became clear that social, economic and education needs were crucial. People stand in long lines to buy contaminated water that leads to infectious diseases. So it was seen that there also had to be plans for community toilets, food gardens, to collect rainwater, and a way for residents to own the land on which new housing was built. A Duke University student, who spent a term there, saw that “the problems are so overwhelming and entangled” that “they cannot be isolated from each other and resolved with pat solutions.” The biggest problem, here reported, , is a lack of communication between UN-Habitat people and residents who have experienced corrupt NGO’s that have not given them a voice or income to sustain provided services. They fear that again the results will just be cosmetic, or “a blanket to cover the larger problems,” An online development conference report says that it is not safe to house computers at the Kibera school so educational equipment must be kept in a security-patrolled classroom. On `OneVillage Kenya' see: <http://www.onevillagefoundation.org/ovf/ovf_kenya_index.html>. Partner agencies work in sports, youth ICT training, solar roofs, African arts and culture, AIDs prevention and teamwork training. In 2005 a Swiss foundation, BioVision, isntalled a satellite receiver in a rural grade school in Kenya. It downloads electronic textbooks onto its hard drive." The information is then "transferred to handheld computers rigged with simple linux-based software" for pupil use.. (Herren 2006)
Thorn (2005) shows how ICT can help the poorest end starvation for the next 2 billion people who will live in places that must have affordable alternative energy; connectivity to one another and to internet; localized agricultural distance education;. socio-economic data as it relates to sustainable business models; students trained to use the technology; a communication environment free of hampering regulations; computers that are cheap, stable, rugged, low power--such as those now being developed in India; free Lexus software; tested, critiqued and revised templates; and method training. "What makes this simpler than it sounds, he says, t meets real local needs such as how to build a business and repair equipment. On ICT for the poor in urban slum communities see: <http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=57&layout=html>, the International Journal for Education and Development. On developing the abilities and sense of worth of individuals, see: > http://www.comminit.com/redirect.cgi?r=http://www.wkkf.org/
Some Proposed Goals, Policies and
Principles for experimentation. Very little new is proposed here,
just bringing many things together. The OneVillage project <http://www.onevillagefoundation.org/ovf/method.html>
reminds us that John Nash won a Nobel Prize for proving that bringing many
efforts together to work in harmony can be more successful. The June 2005
OECD report, New Approaches to Rural Policy: Lessons From Around the World
proposes that top0-down projects are not working, So a holistic approach
that interates scattered efforts into a `new rural governance' is required. So village
development for more prosperity needs to bring together education, ecology, the
economy, health care and so forth concurrently, and one experiment might:
An example of what is proposed below was reported in World Watch, May/June 2007.It tells of a rainforest-depleted village in Brazil that redeveloped itself, with hydroponic farming, a new kind of pump (water was scarce), solar water distilling (and an industry exporting bottled water), solar cookies, regeneratiing the forest so that it would produce food and products to sell, and much more. More pertinent Rich (2007) reports on existing village experiments similar to what is suggested below in several African and other developing countries. Economist Jeffrey Sach who has proposed that poverty can now be eliminated in the world at affordable cost, has initiated the `millennium village project. The Wilson Quarterly describs one in a village in Kenya with a modest health clinic and primary school, agriculture center (but not needed new crops), guesthouse, clean water and other projects funded for an experimental period but without electricity and Internet connections, nor is there adequate local control and planning. Perhaps there can be more success when these initial projects are evaluated. A report on one in the Dominican Republic is at <http://www.comminit.com/en/node/26591/307>.
Concurrent Projects elsewhere could come into existence as local residents are trained and get experience in each of the following:
(1) PROJECT ONE. A consumer cooperative CREDIT UNION (local bank) where all salaries and allowances would be deposited each month from a successful and `twin’ partner Credit Union in a developed country. The credit union would provide a safe place to deposit even small amounts of money, financial advice and loans and electronic access to government, small loans toavoid loan sharks and debt bondage.. It might also create local bank currency like the `time dollars' that in Baltimore, Maryland, can be received by anyone doing an hour or more of community work, and that can be spent on any products or services that participate in the local program, as described in Cahn (2004) No More Throw-away people. Douthwaite (2002) described such online banks in rural Scandinavia. A notice on the door informs would-be robbers that no cash is kept on the premises, all business is done by post, telephone or the Internet.” Actually not much government or bank issued money is needed if much local business is done by barter and locally-issued barter-currency. Often during the great American depression of the 1930's such barter systems with local `social money “proliferated throughout America. In Uganda a step towards a credit union might be seen in the village `revolving funds' where a group of people pool some money that can be borrowed when needed. (Dev 2005) and in 2.15 reports a working system that eliminates graft by making all transactions transparent online. Note Grameen Bank in Bangladesh: <http://www.grameenfoundation.org/> and in the Philippines a mobile-phone-based system exists so that cash transfers from abroad can be made by cell phone as well as to pay for paying for all kinds of bills and goods. Note Afele of Ghana (2003) on empowering local people economically without a loss of cultural identity. <http://ifets.ieee.org>.
(2) PROJECT TWO: A cooperative learning center (school/telecenter) that would operate twenty hours a day offering all kinds of needed job training and education to all ages, beginning with what is most essential for each of the other eleven locally run co-ops. It would be a self-supporting cooperative business with small tuition charges paid from grant incomes of employees of other co-ops who need essential skills. (In Kerala an "Akshaya Center"--sort of an Internet cafe--provides PC training to one member of each family in a village.) This project’s goal and aim should be: `everyone teaches and everyone learns, children teaching younger children, all parents teaching something at the school as education partners. One design is called a Community Learning Center.<http://www.clcinfo.org/>. Instead of `teachers’ there would be learning counselors that help each individual in the community find where to learn essential skills, sometimes from online electronic textbooks, or an online library or using videos for illiterates .(Like “Humanity Development Library” on CD that could be listened to on a cheap music CD player. NOKIA now has a cell phone that can download videos and project t them onto a school wall. At the Indian Institute of Technology an automatic teller machine has been created that can also serve as an Internet kiosk for villages, using a wireless data system that has been exported to Brazil, Iran, Fiji and Nigeria.) In Iran, with help of UNICEF, a `barefoot librarian' takes a mobile library to be used n teaching indigenous women and girls to read. In Mozambiique some Community Multi-media Centers, elsewhere called tele-centers, have a community radio component. They need job training and salaries. See <http://www.gesci.org/gesci/publisher/index.jsp.>.on global e-schools; On technology:. <http://www.comminit.com/trends/ctrends2005/trends-240.html> FOSS, and open source software <http://www.opensourceafrica.org/>. ICT education to keep village young people at home <http://www.jhai.org/education.htm> Africa education: <http://www.comminit.com/africa/soul-beat-48.html>.See: <http://www.sed.manchester.ac.uk/idpm/publications/wp/di/index.htm>. In Cuba " more than 2000 rural schools are equipped with solar photovoltaic panels and PC desktop computers." Consideration is being given to adding a VHF or UHF radio for schools within radio range of a TV transmitting tower. Projects 10 and 11 below can be closely related to the learning center to enrich and facilitate education that also must be closely related to employment possibilities in the local community. In several villages in African countries illiterate women are `solar eningeers" and 'rainwater harvesting specialists. Many have been trained in `barefoot college' in Rajastan, India <http:/barefootcollege.org> that was founded in 1972 to demonstrate that rural people could best solve their own problems. Its buildings were designed by `barefoot architects.'
(3) PROJECT THREE: A local cooperative HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION, providing health insurance for all, (i.e., Grameen Bank In Bangladesh) and giving priority to preventive health care, and a local `barefoot doctor’ with radio--and in time Internet video two-way connections-- to a medical school and hospital and a `barefoot nurse/midwife’ video demonstrations, for example of pre-natal and after birth childcare. Homemade wheelchairs capable of operating on rough terrain could be secured win cooperation with the PET project, sale of vaccinations (required), essential drugs (solar and wind powered refrigeration), sex and AIDS education, and much more. See: <http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2004/09/26/stories/2004092601980300.htm>. on tele-medicine in rural India. Noronha (2002) has reported on technology connections for such programs in India that "can use the English keyboard to send and receive e-mail in eleven Indian languages. On developing world neighborhood and community IT leadership see: <http://www.eriders.net/>. <http://www.nten.org>, <http://www.kabissa.org/> On telemedicine in Africa see: <http://www.ictes2004-gstit.edu.et/Sessionsdaythree.html#ict>. Can a resident physician be afforde? BNot likely, depending on government policy but a neighborhood or village para-professional can be electronically connected to a hospital. The essential role of an education center (above) was seen in a Kenya village experiment where families given mosquito nets for bed greatly reduced malaria, but many families sold the nets instead of using them, not understanding the importance of health to prosperity...
(6) PROJECT SIX. A
job creation project that begins with an AGRICULTURAL
PRODUCTION AND MARKETING COOPERATIVE for food production, storage, processing
and marketing locally as well as outside. It might also operate a local market
and get profit from a restaurant--with guest rooms for outside visitors to eat,
as well as those whose houses were being reconstructed. The school curriculum
would begin to teach biotech to create jobs that turn agricultural projects into
energy and other products to increase income and end poverty.It would be important to develop rural
manufacturing; canning, tuning cocoa into candy, preparing meat for sale
overseas. For example, an article in Scientific American has suggested
that in cattle raising areas--like Niger—a processing plant might be developed
to make it possible for cattle from a large area to package quality meat in `hermetic cyrovacuum' plastic bags for direct delivery to hotels and restaurants
overseas as now beginning in Europe and America, a new scientific process that
preserves juices and enhances taste. This is but one example of new technologies
that are going to make it possible for small-scale farmers to produce more and
better food. Many farmers in Africa get vital information from a radio that is
battery or hand-crank powered. On holistic systems approach to increase
agricultural income in Ghana. <http://www.onevillagefoundation.org/ovf/ovf_ghana_index.html>.
For a free software course on irrigation see <http://ocw.usu.edu>.A
500 member Laos coffee co-op: <http://www.jhaicoffee.com/>.As
a result of Senegal experience with WAP-enhanced mobile phones over two years (Thorn 2005) "income for commodities sold
(vegetables, fish) increased TWO to EIGHT times when they knew the price
and had a chance of beating that first middleman ... and in most cases the
middleman stayed in business by moving up the value chain." There
must be (Ayittey 2005) an agriculture based village development model that
is supportive of indigenous economic system. and building on cultural roots
See also: <http://www.asareca.org/rain/>.The
International Labor Organization's World. December 2005, reported on the
revival of cooperatives in rural Ethopia and their success is marketing their
coffee and other products in Europe at a good price. On many developments in
Africa see end of chapter (Soul Beat 2007). Muslim, Jewish and
Christian coffee farmers (Axelrod 2006) "find peace and harmony together"
through coffee production and marketing cooperative in Uganda. The Farmer
Field School (FFS) approach to Africa highlights a participatory agricultural
extension strategy weaving together elements of adult education, agro-ecology,
and local organizational development. Farmers who are trained in FFS are
expected to become local change agents by initiating farmer-to-farmer
transmission of information and farming techniques to accelerate the diffusion
of new ideas.
(7) PROJECT SEVEN: A CONSTRUCTION
COOPERATIVE (with `barefoot’ architects, builders and engineers as trained for
rural India) so that local people can construct school, health clinic, housing
and other essential buildings using local materials wherever possible. (An Arab
architect has shown out to build earthquake proof buildings and homes out of
mud, brick-making might be taught almost everywhere.) On the Habitat for Humanity model all homes in the community would be
improved or rebuilt…once each house is done, everyone paying for their own by
doing labor for others A totally illiterate woman,
after four months of local training, became a `barefoot engineer' who was able
to make repairs so that the village no longer had to find money to hire an
engineer from outside.
Awards for outstanding ICT projects are r eported ny `the Stockholm Challenge: <http://www.stockholmchallenge.se/feature_right.asp?IdNr=37>.
Farmer Field Schools and the Future of Agricultural Extension in Africa
(9) PROJECT NINE: A COMMUNICATIONS CO-OP
and post office that
might expand with a `walking phone booth’ as in Bangladesh, a woman who carries
around a cell phone that anyone can use to make calls for a modest charge (major
phone companies were built on income from five cent calls), thus earning her
income and providing marketing, health care connections and other services.
Communications might also begin with two-way Ham radio connections to Internet
and digital radio. There already is evidence of measurable income and modest
prosperity increase in poor villages that have one cell phone to a hundred
people. From DRUM BEAT: The Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture is a network of institutions that aims to build access through
Internet kiosks set up in selected villages; and an a mobile Internet van to
bring the technology to isolated areas where there are no kiosks. Thus
technicians and farmers can collaborate in an open environment that enables them
to access knowledge and information services.
http://www.comminit.com/experiences/pds112004/experiences-2747.html. In 2005
Uganda was laying fiber optic cable to all cities and technology for wireless
cell phones everywhere else. LeFrantere
(2205) reported that 1 of 11 people in rural Africa have cell phones and use
them to increase income significantly. A woman who has to walk four miles for
drinkable water takes her phone a mile for recharging from an auto battery. A
woman with no electricity for refrigeration is able to keep the fish she catches
in the water until she gets a cell phone order and delivers them. Many villagers
have built high receiving towers themselves using scrap metal. The Digital vide
Network was in 2005 involving 7500 `technology activists to devise ways to `give
voice to the poor and empower people who are victims.'
note: `CawdNet' is demonstrating `rural
community networking' along with the Internet in poverty areas of rural Africa.
UNESCO has been experimenting with aiding poor communities, as in Mali, with
tele-centers for electronic communications: <http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=5582&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html>.On
bandwith in Africa see Africa's first science magazine: <http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2005/september/bandwidth.htm>
An ILO survey of forthcoming technologies was optimistic about the comng of a
cheap cell-phone-computer-TV-video hand held instrument that can bring learning
and increased prosperity to the poorest parts of the planet|
(10) PROJECT TEN: A CRAFTS. ARTS AND CLOTHING production co-op with a local co-op market and exports. From DRUM BEAT. “Orphan Art – Global” is a not-for-profit organization that delivers art supplies and instruction to orphanages in remote areas of the world. The idea is that, by using the children's own artwork to generate revenue--that is then returned to the young artists)--they become empowered to influence their own future Art then is placed on a worldwide market. This should be seen as a first step in the manufacture for export things made of local products. Sachs points out that existing tariffs make cocoa-producing countries such as Ghana were to export chocolate to Europe but only the cocoa used in making chocolate. *** http://www.comminit.com/experiences/pds92004/experiences-2066.html. Some `sister city partnership organizations might be enlisted to help market crafts. As robots and other technologies reduce the number of people needed for agriculture and manusfacturing, the future of employment requires the development of the creative talent of each individual. For developing new businesses, Surowiecki (2007) reports on " information systems for small business people in the developing world " that use "the mobile phone instead of the PC" at their core. It can be especially useful for microfinance (small business loans.)
Many teaching hospitals have been deliberately located in areas of high crime, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, so that quality can be developed in areas of the greatest need and difficulty Shouldn't research-oriented experimental schools also be located in some of the areas of greatest poverty? Some teacher training programs now do try to set up in an inner-city a lab-school that is more comparable to a training hospital, but the first university GDE in cyberspace was for highly motivated learners who could afford it! . What can education researchers learn from the training of physicians, especially in the new medical structures in cyberspace? Medical education seeks to be engaged with areas of the world where there are the most serious problems, such as tropical diseases, new viruses, poverty and malnutrition. So we ask if `education for all' global research should now also focus on the poverty and geographical areas of greatest need and difficulty? Computer modeling and simulations can now research such possibilities as never before possible.
Tele-centers (Fuchs 2000) in every village and neighborhood are discussed in the next chapter. Note also below and <http://www.tele-centros.org> on the Latin and Central American network of tele-centers as a tool to support community needs, especially poor and marginal communities. (There is a tele-center in Timbuktu that offers public telephone services, fax, e-mail, Internet, word processing and education!) In 2005, however, the spread of cellphones in Africa and other developing areas opens the doors to other possibilities.
However, training programs tailored to the needs of a poverty area at first. However, opportunnities must also soon be open to vast global learning, including many disciplines and sciences. There is the problem that "the amount of information far exceeds human limitations." The National Institutes of Health in the USA developed the Human Brain Project "to open superhighways to neuroscientists and behavioral scientists by providing an array of information tools for this century." (Also see 3.5)The project can bring together all that is known about the brain and to make possible networking collaboration between geographically distant sites. It grew out of plans to map the brain and its functions to bring together all brain and human behavior research. It is therefore sponsored by many types of agencies: mental health, drug abuse, child health, aging neurological disorders and has important implications for successful education. This, too, should be made available in poverty areas.
Cultural adaptations can be aided by making available powerful models of neural functions and other sophisticated tools, including imaging and "sophisticated visualization." Some specific projects of the consortium of universities include a Simulator-Based Neuronal Data Base, mapping of the brain and brain development with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), the integration of multidisciplinary sensory data (with Italy and Japan), software management of archives of many brain images, and much more than can be even listed here. Perhaps increased computer power in a decade will make possible a multidisciplinary full analysis of the human brain" on the scale of--or even much larger than--the Human Genome Project.(Also see 3.5. That, however, will just be the beginning...
Spector (2002) pointed out that "many of the domains in which we seek to improve life and learning are complex in that they involve many interrelated variables," many not predictable, others ill-defined...as those "in conflict management science, social and political planning and so on." Researchers in learning need to solve complex problems in many such areas. How, he asks, can we find out whether old or new systems, methods and activities should be altered and how effective new plans may be? Spector believes "that experiential, collaborative learning environments can aid in "socially-situated hypothesis testing and policy formation' can help, but how, he asks, can progress be assessed? How can meaningful feedback be achieved? And "critiques, additions, subtractions, multiplications and divisions within the emerging problems?
Brain research--in neuroscience, systems theory, cognitive psychology, health, human development and much more--has a great potential for improving the quality of education. (Ruskin 1997). University programs to train teachers have long used primary and secondary schools as laboratories. Internships in education are not as successful in developing quality, in theory and practice, as are medical internships in hospitals. Perhaps those who train teachers and undertake research to improve the quality of education should look to medical education for another clue. Will we have really high-quality education until schools are laboratories for--and many teachers are partners in--higher quality collective research related to overwhleming global issues and crisis that involve everyone on the planet?
If it is true that learning for all can be crucial for reconstruction, for reducing poverty and giving people in deprived areas the skills they need to rebuild their lives and communities, then why not make neighborhoods in the poorest countries a laboratory for experimenting with various kinds of online learning programs that might then provide models for other poor nations? For example, tele-centers--that may soon only need a cell phone with new software-- have already proven their value in many poverty communities to provide local people access to banking, economic and marketing information, healthcare and education. Many new kinds of schools could in Afghanistan be turned into `community electronic learning centers." (2.18)
Adequate curriculum in their own language is not available in the poorest neighborhoods of developing countries but the needed knowledge is available; skills--for example in dry agriculture and drip irrigation for areas with too little rainfall. At first the information could be provided in local dialects on CDs that a farmer or any learner could listen to on an inexpensive battery-operated CD player. Such CDs with essential agricultural information from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization are already available in some languages at a cost of only two dollars. This is just one illustration of many experiments that could be conducted in a context of careful research and development that could then be applied in other countries.
Africa--between the Sahara and the Union of South Africa--has been suggested as a location for `case studies or as a proper site for many development experiments if corruption is reduced.. Large-scale computer simulations can now examine how one small country could be considered an `learning research co-laboratory' in that national cooperation is essential Restructured learning is urgently needed in Africa to train scientists, more effective political leaders and teachers. Most existing schools there also are designed for life as it was, not as it is going to be, Tiffin (1995) reports. It is now possible to simulate and examine many alternatives in partnership with local people.
Africa has all the problems of schools everywhere and with more acute cases of need.
Learning research can learn from medical researchers who go to central Africa to deal with acute needs, as when a new virus is found. They need local scientific partners and assume that international assistance must give primary attention to creating local capability to meet needs on their own. They need the collaboration of local researchers, now more effective because of the Internet. We see, appearing in cyberspace, the architecture for global co-laboratories to deal with specific medical research needs (See Lisse 1997). Is not something like health care capacity-building also need for learning research? First perhaps teams might be linked worldwide for research on specific needs, such as more information on how the brain works in learning. Somehow then a large enough research strategy for quality
learning would also link all of those specific-problem-centered teams into a research co-lab, focused on the specific needs of individuals in a
particular cultural context? In the next chapter we will look at the
possibility that a rural neighborhood could be such a co-lab. In this
chapter we ask if an entire state or small country might be the lab where
proposals for all kinds of experiments and research. brought together on the
national and policy level, could be tried out through modeling and simulation.
(5.1) On Kenya see: (2.18) and:
Such avisionary co-lab idea was informally suggested to us at UNESCO, as one way perhaps to stimulate larger thinking about how to accomplish the goal of `learning for all'. It is likely that all countries must be enlisted in global-scale experiments before ooverty is seriously reduced., but there can be more comprehensive research, dealing holistically with all inter-related social and political problems. Perhaps bits and pieces all over the world can be linked into one system to avoid vast blunders, failures and misuse of funds. A research strategy might enlists and links the teachers, parents, and educational officials of one small country in an experimental research project.
Research partnership with, and `capacity building' among researchers and teachers in Africa requires listening to Africans, such as Anani (1997). It is still unclear, he says, how rural people and the urban poor of Africa can be empowered--with support and training--to make good use of the proliferating communications technology. It is sure to come, driven by global forces. What is needed is a convergence with indigenous knowledge "toward unraveling the cognitive processes of the rural African world." This is essential for the formation of a mutual relationship with rural dwellers, he says. It requires the acknowledgment of the diverse experiences, practices and knowledge of the rural communities. Then rural dwellers can be active partners, reversing those present efforts that are unilateral and from outside. Research is needed on institutional arrangements that take adequate account of the views of the poor and the marginalized, the angry back-country tribal people who ought to be armed with education rather than with guns.
At present, hehas pointed out, many international development agencies do not agree that "basic objectives should be set by indigenous (especially local) governments." Research is needed on how global policies can be changed "to support the elevation and empowerment of the COREs...at the local level in Africa." Rural village leaders can then be involved in a two-way flow of communication for sustainable development. (18.2) Such a research effort can help partners from outside to see that information-age tools and techniques need not always be "representatives of cultural values, ideas and ideologies of the inventors and designers."
Especially, Anani has insisted, what Africans do in cyberspace, the adaptation of technology to the "rural African context, must not be a superimposing procedure." There must be negotiations with those who have custody of their own culture and who are responsible for transmitting it to the next generation. Negotiation and mediation are needed, he says, to deal with such issues as the ownership, location and distribution of infrastructure; values and language; content and programs; and the level of community participation in decision-making. The primary need of rural Africans is not for reruns of foreign programs (Nyela 1998). The Internet (Gragert 1999) has the potential for demonstrating that knowledge exists everywhere,' and not just in the developed world..
Many say it is foolish to expend research energy on electronic distancelearning at places where the basic need is for chalk, pencils, paper, clean water and elementary printed materials. It need not be either/or, especially so in a pilot experiment. Both could be provided at the same time. Larger-research/experimentation--to prepare for decades ahead--can proceed at the same time that simple basic needs are also met. Free online electronic textbooks can be cheaper than available printed ones. At the 2002 World Economic Forum an initiative in Ghana was planned "to extend Internet access for students in remote, rural schools that otherwise would not be connected for several years. One part of that pilot experiment is a partnership with two universities in Ghana for teacher training and computer/network maintenance, and the development of tele-collaborative exchange with schools in other countries.. If this experiment is successful the `Telecenters-in-Schools project will be extended seven other African countries.
Much research information about Africa is located in American and European libraries, government offices and data bases (Wresch 1996). Important archeological and anthropological artifacts have been taken from Africa to foreign universities and museums. Now, however, the World Wide Web becomes the way to make this data available to Africans. They must from now on become partners in the enlarging, improving and interconnecting all such data bases with the best and most up-to-date knowledge, that is more likely to be in human brains.
In July 2001 the `Digital Nations Consortium' of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) brought together more than 250 government officials, educators, technologists and development specialists from more than thirty countries. This was the first meeting of a research consortium focusing on the design of new technologies to address major socially challenges in underserved communities and the developing world. This `Digital Nations' consortium was undertaking "major initiatives in the areas of education, health care and community development, unveiling new technologies to empower residents of underserved communities. The creation of a new scholarly journal was reported: Information Technology and International Development, edited by MIT Media-Lab faculty. The Digital Nations consortium announced that it would not--as many development agencies have--seek to impose solutions from above, but rather will try to empower people to invent their own solutions and tools to design, create and learn. Some announced efforts included: (1) Sustainable access in rural India by providing communications services to the rural poor; (2) working with universities in the development world to facilitate a `true transfer of technology" that enables people and organizations to design their own technology tools; (3) `ThinkCycle,' a collaborative online community to work on global design challenges including human powered generator devices, a cholera treatment, bilingual literacy tools and low-cost corrective eyewear; (5) `Little Intelligent Communities'--an expansion of what we here call tele-centers--to provide connectivity to health care, learning, government services, banking, soil and environmental testing, culture and entertainment. (6) `Learning Hubs,' a worldwide network of organizations committed to deep changes in learning and education that will serve as working models for innovative approaches to learning.
Some new possibilities were seenat a 1997 World Bank symposium at the GK97 conference in Toronto that asked developing world participants how information technologies could best be used in places like Africa. (4.4) It was reported that researchers worldwide were experimenting with educational use of advanced Web technologies, multimedia effects, 3-D animation, Virtual Reality Modeling language (VRML), application programs and simulation modeling. There is experimentation with inexpensive fast-speed wireless also. Although this scattered piecemeal research is not yet linked as part of a strategic plan, even through computer modeling, the technology is arriving in Africa. For example, in Madagascar, a desperately poor country, it cost fifteen dollars to send a fax. Internet access could cost a hundred dollars a month in African countries with government telephone monopolies. The cost in Madagascar was reduced to ten dollars a month through competition. In 1997-98 the country began to go digital, using satellites for domestic and international telephone communications. Small businesses were beginning to thrive because of information they could get and business they could do on the Internet. Businesses and individuals who could not afford computers were beginning to use communal tele-centers (2.18.3) to access the Web and use e-mail. Such transformations have profound implications for educating everyone as more people begin to make use of this new infrastructure. Some skills studies: <http://www.col.org/skills>
Special research attention needs to be given to the role and behavior of global-scale publishing houses and corporations in the education business, lest they bring a new colonialism into the developing world, taking initiative away from the neighborhood and local community. (See 2.17.7)
2.17.4 STRATEGIC POLICY RESEARCH <http://www.ed.psu.edu/acsde/>
It is too often assumed that a rural African school should be improved on the model of a foreign school, even though the students in that overseas school may be bored and restless, finding that school irrelevant and outdated. The UNESCO (1996) research document "Towards Lifelong Education for all" concluded that there must be "a fundamental rethinking of the nature and purposes of education" as well as the renewal of educational structures, content and methods. The president of Global Education Associates (Mische 1997) called for understanding the consequences of historical time frames of ten thousand years (human exploitation of others and of the earth;) five hundred years (nation state and colonialism) and fifty years (new technologies and people power.) Such research can under gird `education for all' structures in cyberspace and it can begin in cyberspace through computer modeling and simulations.
Barlow (1998) foresaw the possibility that Africa mightin time even leap ahead of the developed world and there were signs in 2005 that this was beginning. The technology that makes that possible can now be used to design a new kind of cyberspace instruction for for rural poverty areas, rather than continuing to copy or upgrade industrial-age type schools from Europe and America. This suggests the modeling of a `electronic learning community center/school' that is as scientifically-designed and equipped as medical clinics and hospitals. Modular school and health care units might be designed for cheap mass production. (18.5) This might be a new export industry for the Union of South Africa and India. On the model of a rural telemedicine center, a model village education tele-center might be connected to experts (and teacher mentors) at the nearest university. A strategic research plan might also develop the modular school for use by everyone in the neighborhood, with connections to homes and workplaces. That learning takes place at home and at work is certainly not a new idea in an African or Afghan village! Now there must be imaginative planning that can even lead the way ultimately to virtual reality classrooms.
Merely interconnecting every neighborhood school will not do it. Along with these inevitable connections, regional community colleges and the nearest universities--and their students--must be helped to assume partnership responsibility to assure quality and relevance; first for the total eradication of illiteracy in their area. Then they can also be partners in research experiments on how best to give each individual the work skills necessary for earning an adequate living. As often as possible this learning should involve community development. That points to the need for tailored programs for each neighborhood, community and person based on a better understanding of unique needs, problems, resources and opportunities. It might in time, for example, include discoveries on the implications of genetic research for education, especially genetic deficiencies or problems that can be corrected, such as a possible genetic base for dyslexia. Certainly large-scale research on education must deal with structures, must take account of the social hurricanes (1.1) and much more. Such involvement with scientific research, however, is but one small star in a universe of suns and planets of learning in the developing world, including Afghanistan and Africa. What does this scale of need suggest for a NASA-scale education research strategy to explore?
The president of Uganda has called for a more democratically-owned education in which all would have a niche where they could contribute. He also lamented archaic curricula. Researchers already know how to upgrade curricula with a wide variety of course modules, exchangeable via the Internet. Different combination of segments --translated into local dialect and culture and otherwise adapted locally--can be brought together to create a unique program orelectronic textbook (3.7), especially designed for each neighborhood, or for each individual as tutors have long done. Much of what is needed is already being researched and experimented with somewhere, i.e., a Pakistan network for disabled children. Withrow (1997), director of the NASA Classroom of the Future, said that research on how to use computers to enhance education for all children has been answered in "high-quality simulation programs being used in (NASA) training." These can tailor usage to learners in a context "where the content can be covered more deeply and rapidly than ever before."
Bork (3.9) has lamented the way experts in education "strongly hold views that are based on minimal or nonexistent evidence." Good experiments, he pointed out, require the collaboration of many researchers to obtain reliable results. Methods for obtaining reliable data on performance by students and teachers are not yet available, although the necessary technology exists, he says. His comprehensive proposal is discussed here in (3.2), (3.9) and in 2002 was online at: <http://www.ics.uci.edu/~bork>. Empirical studies with many students are essential to enable all to learn at the mastery level. Ruskin (1997) proposed a large scope for research in education to take account of multisensory fields and the `sociopsychomedia effect' on education of movies, television, radio and popular music. There has been limited research on the effect of TV on children, but no real strategy for research on the effect of media culture. People in the most remote corners of the earth, often in groups in front of a battery-powered TV, are now nearly everywhere watching TV programs like `Bay Watch.' What do they learn? What can they learn from better information technology? Educators will not know until a global partnership approach to research is established.
Preliminary research on how to manage global distancelearning has noted that de facto governance appears to be emerging on the model of the global internet. It operates without a `managing' agency <http://www.isoc.org/>. In other words, the emerging telecommunications systems--that make global distance education possible--also enable an electronic linking whereby all those responsible and involved can regularly act together to govern it. This includes cooperating higher education research institutions, national and local government, telecommunications agencies, corporations that offer and need courses, professional and labor accrediting organizations, and local planners in partnership with parents and other learners."
How can`learning and job training for all' be funded? Sir John Daniel , when at the British Open University, suggested that a course--using the world's leading and most expensive experts--could cost pennies per student if offered via telecommunications to millions worldwide. Would that not be impersonal mass-production? Not necessarily, if combined with a renewed emphasis on local personal counseling, mentoring and tutoring. More feasible proposals for research on funding might examine other ways to save a great deal of money; for example, in purchasing technology that could be mass-produced in the developing world and which could be cheaper if many joined in contracting for it in large quantities.
More can be saved when schoolsand learners will not so often need to buy new computers and software. It will be possible for the Internet to connect to needed hardware and to the latest software for use at a distance on a per minute charge system. and free where foreign aid money is available. Schools in poverty areas would no longer need to be limited by an inability to afford the latest textbooks. On the Internet, with CD-ROM type connections, students and faculty at any level of education could use tailored and regularly updated databases that include graphics, slide-shows, QuickTime movies, video and sound clips.
Economies can also be provided in a global library access plan. While Web connections are important for advanced research, CD-ROMs will increasingly be used locally. The Humanity CD-ROM Projecthttp://www.oneworld.net/ (see global projects) aims to create an online library of "the three thousand most useful books for developing countries." Usable on a cheap CD player, this library can provide the poorest schools with access to "hundreds of Web Servers at the lowest possible cost." By 1998 it had created a 'Development Library 1.1 CD-ROM' with the full text of three hundred books and technical reports on agriculture, fisheries, health, nutrition, medicine, water and energy. These research publications, prepared by politically funded agencies can be provided free to poor schools.
A research proposal on how to make copyrighted information available online was made by Nelson (1997). He proposed "a single sweeping permission method." Instead of asking how to prevent copyright infringement, he asks for a method to allow reuse. All publications might be available through "automatic tracking of ownership" with a small payment to the copyright owner if a quotation is longer than allowed. Again, limited free access to schools, that would otherwise afford to use copyrighted materials anyway, would not need to affect the profits of publishers.
CD-ROM libraries can be made available in many local languages and can help villagers get basic skills. Even including the cost of hardware, this is now the most inexpensive way to provide an adequate library to a regional education center, a small college in a poverty area or for a village school. Such CD libraries could be provided at a hundred thousand schools for the cost of a comparable book library at one school. Regular updating could cost only a few dollars. An entire CD-ROM library can be mailed cheaply in a small package. It would be available for research when the Internet is down. When necessary, the electric power could come from batteries or a bicycle-powered generator. The project director reports that even in the least likely areas there are always at least 5 percent of the people who are intellectually gifted. They are so eager to learn that they will make good use of a village school's CD-ROM library. They then provide leadership in health care, agriculture, education and more. (18.4)
The idea of the American Governor's Virtual University (WGU)--andthe idea of an experimental partnership with a British Open University--suggest economies through the sharing of courses and resources. In a similar way, countries in western Africa can together these states can do what few can do alone. They can reduce duplication of efforts. If each university offers fewer courses, then courses can be of a higher quality as they concentrate energies in that way. Also, by combining limited resources and bringing together online their scattered scientists, they can undertake more significant research related to their basic needs.
A global experiment-research strategy must also take account of fears that GDE--global distance education-- will impose Western culture and language or will in other ways be used for exploitation. Information technology, we suggest, can be an antidote to the neocolonialism of TV and films. Lauby (1987), pointed out that many universities in the developing world have themselves been largely a cultural import, founded on `European' models. Often, instead of educating people to meet the real needs of their countries, these exported types of universities have turned out western-style lawyers and bureaucrats in a much larger supply than needed. Research might propose community college models that might best serve rural Africa, based on local culture, values and basic needs. They could be linked to and become part of whatever grows out of the emerging African Virtual University that began to operate in 1997-98 with the aid of the Canadian government. Its research arm, programs of regional
African researchers can then become equal partners in global research. African scientists and scholars can share and enrich their own indigenous history, value systems, religious insights, art, music and literature so that the education made available all across Africa is an outspreading of indigenous thought and cultural traditions.
A global research strategy should examine possibilities for three-way partnerships, global, national and local, to provide protection against colonialism; but global initiative and supportive policies will be needed. What these may be is suggested by Global Education Associates (GEA), which operates in 78 countries. GEA calls for global sensitivity towards all cultures and histories while also taking account of the unity of the planet and of collaboration in research on humanity's crises. (See Mayne 1996) Economically underdeveloped countries can trade lectures, courses, and data bases on their history and culture in exchange for the latest scientific lectures from other countries, or for any other education they need. "Developing countries possess extensive. . .information sources which can be translated into tangible benefits to other developed countries" (Vagianos 1988).Holistic education has been declared essential for developing nations: <http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/?name=News&file=article&sid=7430>
Reimers (1997) showed how research often fails to affect actual policy-making. Mega-research is needed (Mungazi 1997) on how to transform the structure of local and national educational institutions "in the context of national transformation" designed for the development of the nation and the individual from the rural village up. In the next chapter we propose research on how what we have discussed in many chapters might be brought effectively into the rural village or neighborhood. What is built in cyberspace there may be most important of all. Technology exists for essential training and collaboration; for instance see:
<http://www.tappedin.sri.com/info/papers/evol99/> On simulation in learning see: <http://projects.edte.utwente.nl/pi/Book/Contents.html>.
For example, on success with
young children: From: "The Drum Beat" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sesame Workshop is a non-profit organisation that partners
The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View