,r

Home | Author | Volume I | Volume II | Volume III | Acknowledgements | Subject Index

THE FUTURE OF HIGHER (LIFELONG) EDUCATION:
For All Worldwide, A Holistic View

(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)

Return to Chapter 2.17  |  Go to Volume III - Preface

Volume II - Chapter Eighteen

(Last updated August 9, 2005)

A POVERTY AREA LEARNING RESEARCH CO-LAB

The proliferation of technology must be accompanied by empowerment. . .of the poor and marginalized. See <http://www.greenstar.org>

We share a common vision of a world which recognizes its essential interdependence while embracing human diversity. . . where justice and equity for all peoples is the first priority. --African NGO Declaration to UNCTAD

If little science and big science, informal science and formal science join hands we can lift people out of poverty. --Anil Gopta

For vast data: <http://www.comminit.com/index.html#baseline>.

THINK BIG?  We have invited discussion of a global strategy. As a step in that direction would it seem audacious to propose one small country as a research lab? This volume II has sought to show that all of a country's (and the world's) problems are interrelated and need to be solved concurrently. What is done for one neighborhood, proposed in the last chapter, needs to be an integrated part of a national development plan. A successful co-lab experiment in one country can be shared with other countries as part of a global strategy and plan. what we suggest here is not likely to happen, but the ida is worth examining as a mega-research strategy for the good of all humanity. Donor agencies and governments not not likely to concentrate much of available resources on one pilot country, there can be computer stimulation modeling on the scale of that used in outer space exploration. In fact it might not be so expensive if it begins as am effort to coordinate all existing efforts, such as the FUGI model of the world's economies in Japan. 

Discussion in advance of the `world summit on the information society" pointed out that the information society requies information, especially developing world journalists. For methods and links to resources to meet that need see: <http://www.balancingact-africa.com/> and `iWitness'.<http://www.balancingact-africa.com/>. Celeson (2005) in New Scientist asked: "Can Google help serve the planet?" Google and `MSN Earth" are offering "a bird's eye view of the entire earth." Much other information can be added to satellite photos.' <http://earth.google.com>. While this project will first aid environmentalists, it can help researchers examine the landscape of a country kilometer square by kilometer square, or neighborhood by neighborhood and need by need. It has a revolutionary potential for surveying a country for essential data for development.

It would be irresponsible to discuss `learning and health care for everyone in the world' without focusing on the most difficult and neediest countries.  Research that gathers and evaluates the `best practices' and most successful learning programs can be a foundation for research and experimentation to bear on the most needy countries; much as health care must give major attention to nations where there are epidemics and dangerous new diseases. Note, for example, AIDS in Africa: <http://ant.schoolnet.na/projects/Katutura_AIDS/>. So what might be a really global-scale, holistic research project, using one very poor nation as a laboratory where all financial aid donors and agencies collaborate in an effort to deal with all its problems together. (We will return to this at the end of Volume III) as an idea that can least be examined through simulations and in meetings like: <http://www.globalknowledge.org/>, Afele:
 <http://waoe.org/communication/webframe3-july.htm>.) 

A NGO report to UNCTAD has pointed out that African "countries have been pushed backwards into increasing debt, deindustrialization, agricultural decline, environmental degradation and deepening inequality." Dozens of interrelated problems --including poor governance--make their situation extremely difficult Research to help one of the poorest African countries might then help them all. One reason for hope are projects such as the 1997 United Nations special initiative for Africa that has sought to draw all UN agencies into joint planning and work on development projects to improve education, health care, governance, food security and peace. This suggests a need for mega-research that might begin by using one nation as a research co-laboratory, concentrating resources there until plans that really work are demonstrated. This is not a new idea and requires an international commitment to large-scale research.  Humanity now has the technology for studying all of a country's interrelated problems holistically. Much of the problem lies with outside aid agencies and  national governments. See case studies: <http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=67&layout=html>.

Much of Africa will have an agricultural based economy for decades ahead. A first use of simulation modeling might, for example, use the data from satellite photography that can discover information so detailed that it can show a farmer to use a different kind of fertilizer in one side of a field from the other. It has been used in the Middle East to examine roads, even to learn where there has been graft in road construction. It could be used to study every acre of land in a country to gather all kinds of information for planning and further research, field by field, neighborhood by neighborhood.  Researchers can now, however, use computer simulations and models to examine needs, possible actions.

Crucial, however, for a comprehensive big-scale development plan would be better quality leadership and services to help everyone become more productive and prosperous, including marketing skills and non-farm sector employment. So education and job training would need to be provided for everyone in the country, a tailored unique learning plan for each unique individual as discussed here in volume three, a learning plan that takes into account the talents and need of each person in relation to the needs of society as a whole. This in no way imp[lies a regimented society that tells anyone where he or she must work. It means rather a job training program for everyone; for example even a three month course for every elected legislator, mayor, governor and president! No more incompetent teachers..

A conference of African universities. working with UNESCO has examined the  role that new technologies could play" in badly needed research. Nearly all African universities now have Internet access to international--and enlarging African--databases and digital libraries, scholarly journals and electronically interconnected research institutions worldwide. India expected by 2003 to complete Internet connections to 257 universities, 800 engineering schools and 250 medical colleges and by 2004 to 60,000 secondary schools. Using electronic online textbooks and online courses it would now be pososible to provide education for everyone, certainly an experiment worth trying in one small country.

Could one or the poorest small African countries might become--at least through simulations--a co-lab to try out options for a national transformation? The answer to that question is the scientific one: experiment with alternatives, try and see what is possible. A desert country probably poses the hardest case available. Instead of asking what should be done there first, a comprehensive approach computer model would examine how all national and international agencies could link their efforts to work on all interrelated problems simultaneously. Efforts in health care, education, economic development and agriculture would not really be able to do everything `at once.' but could work with all levels of society to establish priorities for more comprehensive collaboration! To help an impoverished country move into cyberspace may require the same quality of scientific preparation--including simulations--that was required to enable a man to take "the first steps for mankind" on the moon. Television reports around the world might follow its progress with interest.  Thus once a successful model is tried in one difficult place it would be easier for other countries--not to copy that model--but to use that experience in developing their own. On hopeful developments in Uganda see: <http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tariq/>.

Fortunately, research to explore such grand-scale ideas can--among other things--use computer modeling and simulating of various possibilities in partnerships with African scholars. This is not a new idea. It underlines, for example, the project to create `Country Gateways' in sub-Saharan Africa. `Development Gateways'  are Internet portals for information on sustainable development and poverty reduction, "offering  a common space for dialogue and exchange of experience, knowledge, ideas, tools and other resources. They are independently owned and operated and governed by multi-stakeholder groups within each country." They can include e-learning, e-business and e-government services and "are expected to improve  accountability, inclusiveness, quality of life" as well as reduce corruption through transparency. (GKD 2001)

Our aim in this chapter is to pose some questions for networking discussions and computer modeling to explore dreams and visions, such as `peace games" were proposed in chapter  1.7 to explore alternatives to war in settling disputes.. (On process see (3.) and the International Journal on Education and Development <http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/>. Astonishing amounts of information can now be available for any geographic region via global satellite, such as proposed by the `digital universe' project. Wasserman (2005) reports on increasing use of the Internet and electronic connections from African action groups to the outside world.

2.18.1   BEGIN WHERE THE PROBLEMS ARE MOST DIFFICULT

To deal with a whole country --if just via computer simulations and modeling, would require a bottom-up as well as a top-down view and both views would reveal not only ignorance but also the lack of connections. A report on one disconnected rural African place (Wresch 1996) raised many questions researchers could address. Reporting on a Fullbright year at a university in Namibia, Wresch said: "Good intentions (for helping have-nots) lie in ruins worldwide. One cause is that people (Africans and outside experts?) know too little about the problem they are trying to solve." In much of Namibia, he said, there are no more islands of primitive people who live peaceful lives away from the rat race of civilization. Instead they are just victims of civilization that intrudes from outside, overwhelmed by disease and drugs, struggling with alien forces that often erode a country from within without realizing it. National leaders and planners lament the ignorance of `primitive people' where perhaps they should be more aware of their own inadequacies and ignorance about them and what to do about it. Everyone knows too little.

Dealing with one village, as proposed in chapter 2.17 shows the need for better roads and communications. Wresch described an isolated village that was first settled when outside experts arrived to teach cattle-raising skills. Without any public transportation, however, locals wanting to take products to maket need to walk four hours to get to the road. Then the market is a day's drive if they can catch a ride. A few government officials had electric generators and one had a wireless phone. Radio and TV were too far away to be received. There was no mail service and the local store sold no newspapers and--isolated by knowing only their tribal language--few locals could read one. Most of the school teachers had only an eighth grade education. One was drunk and another slept all day..

Wresch neglected to say much about the women of the village, who no doubt feed and clothe the three hundred children and get them to school. Also now in surprising places, women are the ones in any previously disconnected village who, like the Bushmen that Wresch wrote about, are forming alliances with aborigines on other continents to organize marketing cooperatives. A large research strategy is needed to find their national government can get and use powerful new technologies--first for research--at a time when the very existence of the technology, the asking of questions about its use, is already enlarging the thinking of many African planners and parents, and of those who create national policy. (Some say why talk about electronic technology when they do not even have pencils. A better question: why not talk about CD's for education and battery radio for the Internet connections.) .

The central problem in much of Africa is weak or corrupt governments, one answer to that comes with the strengthening of civil society from the bottom up as well as the top-down.: <http://www.ttgo.kabissa.org/> Many African villages have been used as places for pilot-project experiments, but too seldom have the local people been equal partners in the development of national plans and priorities.. Even less has that experimentation connected them to learn from other experimentation and research in other countries.. Few, for example, know about aboriginal people elsewhere who, previously totally illiterate with an unwritten language, have used solar-powered computers to help prepare the first dictionary in their language.  Was it only with tongue in cheek that it has been suggested that a small country might accept the challenge of being used as something that might be called a co-laboratory for a more comprehensive study of how other similar countries might be helped? It is an accepted fact that a better functioning development plan for a country needs international agency partners who work and plan with it, not just for it. A developing country needs help to envisage and use modeling to explore many new possibilities. . Fairley (2004) says that humanity can soon  address problems that exist all over the world.

2.18.2  TELE-CENTERS: DOORS TO CYBERSPACE

A national policy--and mass purchase of technology to save money--could quickly crfeat tele-centers everywhre, firs often in schools. We now live in a networking world and everyone can participate. When confronting the `digital divide' that limits the possibilities of the world's poorest people, it is clear that many of the truly poor cannot afford to maintain a personal computer in their homes or workplaces. It now possible, however, to have a `social computer' in every neighborhood learning center as part of a national networking system. . A few computers with connectivity in a school or religious building give citizens a voice and become <http://www.telecenters.org> and an engine for social growth and involvement.  Networking tele-centers can work together on such issues as e-health and regional services.. On use of communications technology to reduce poverty in the Middle East see: <http://www.escwa.org.lb/mtecpr/>..

Project Scope has been a nonprofit developer of community-based tele-centers worldwide for both urban and rural use. The project has centered on underserved populations, using an innovative, grass-roots approach. It has sought to bring together and secure local coordination among all outside programs--such as in development, health care, education, housing, renewable energy, micro-credit and economic development. It has created a consortium of development agencies to encourage national and global cooperation.  Project Scope has sought to create `cultural connections' to provide a voice for local culture and for intercultural sharing. It sought to begin with helping local people assess their needs alongside plans to create a network that will link neighborhood centers with each other and with government agencies, libraries, museums and helpful organizations. Its goal is access to education and information--via telecommunications --for economically and socially disenfranchised people and for those who are geographically isolated. This is done as a step toward achieving sustainable communities and democratic societies worldwide. We illustrate with this project because it has given a high priority to initiatives for and by women, which is crucial for rural Africa. There are many kinds of tele-centers and experimentation on which kind might be best in a specific community has been discussed, along with cases in
 <http://www.developmentgateway.org/node/133831/sdm/docview?docid=441647>.

Time will be required for outside experts to make it possible for Africans working together to develop their own blueprints for development and change, but the technology for large-scale research is now possible through networking cooperation. First, however a small country need to  see itself as a learning laboratory for the whole world. As a village midwife needs connections to a doctor and hospital, so also can it be possible for all political leaders to be in touch with experienced people with similar jobs in other countries? Wired magazine, October 2000, reported plans of the Peace Corps  "to leverage  the Web to bridge the worldwide digital divide...to teach people to use and maintain PCs and networks." Since then there have been plans for an `online peace corps' where local people can ask for help.
 <http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue8_2/keats/index.html#k3> Laying fiber optic cable to all communities in Ethiopia and some other such countries in 2005 suggests that it certainly could be done for a co-lab country so that even  remote areas need not wait long for broad bandwidth cable connections, essential for sophisticated graphics and for streaming video film illustrations in online textbooks. Until cable arrives there can be alternatives. The West Africa Learning Association has proposed radio as the first option in the poorest areas and then wireless connections as they become affordable.  cell phones, however, are leaping ahead of that.. 

The founder of Microsoft was in 2002 announcing plans to extend tele-centers centers all over India,  pilot projects would draw upon experience elsewhere, including 2,000 such cyber cafés in 110 countries. In Quito, Ecuador, for example, fees from tourists and traveling business people were already making such community internet centers self-supporting. A rural India project has used cable TV connections, which already exist in many rural areas of India, and then plans to move to wireless Internet connections with affordable infrastructure ready to be installed in thousands of more isolated villages. The first experimental `rural information shops' were set up to collect demographic and soil information and distribute information on health, relief agencies, agricultural prices, transportation schedules and many other kinds of services and education. A major purpose: to train local technicians and others to use computers and the Internet, beginning with needs defined by local interests. In 2004 it was reported that in many Indian villages a woman is operating a kiosk from her own home to help rpvoide services and to successfully reduce poverty..

 Once a `co-lab participating' village has a model experimental tele-center in operation it can connect to  national offices and to other countries. So also when one  country has a model national system others can learn from the experience. When research and experimentation is shared, the nerves of one learning African nation. At the first Global Conference on Telecommunications and Development, Buenos Aires 1994, a delegate from Gambia proposed a plan to create twenty pilot tele-centers there. He told about his home village of 140 households. Beginning in 1993, a cellular telephone with a microphone made it possible for residents to make conference calls overseas. By 2005 tele-centers were mushrooming in rural areas of the developing world and experience was beginning to make them sustainable.

Acceptance of a new idea may come slowly in some places, whether it is the idea of a national electronic education infrastructure or a national heath service that uses telemedicine. What kinds of research/experimentation might be proposed to enable success? A pilot nation co-lab project can examine how development agencies could cooperate in creating an empowered community structures of interrelated support groups. A group of village mothers might be connected to national training programs, so also teachers, much as a nurse is connected to a distant hospital. Structured support groups might also be created to help in agriculture or ecology, or on the use of technologies. One agency that sends doctors and dentists to developing areas has the philosophy that their first task there should be locating the unskilled villagers who already do that kind of work where there is no doctor or dentist, so that they can be linked to some training and support. Larger-scale research can explore how such programs could be possible in all areas of community life.

A national plan for a school in every neighborhood can provide for every school to be a tele-center, a mixed-use facility that provides a variety of services to its community: such as e-mail and government services. It can be a meeting place for organizations, a training site, a place for electronic distance education instruction, a library for research (perhaps using CD-Rom or the World Wide Web),  a `clinic' for health information and a center for banking (out-of-town payments, small loans.) The school may be the best location but some are at a clinic, store building, church or a specially constructed center. Tele-centers are operated by the people of a neighborhood so that anyone can connect--with telephone, fax, internet, World Wide Web or whatever--at no cost or affordable cost for those who seriously seek skills. Hardware and software are available, often for a fee, often free to those who are committed to an agreed-upon development project. (On the recent rapid expansion of tele-centers for the  urban poor and in rural areas. The February 2002 issue of Journal of Development Communication was a special issue on tele-centers and information technology for development, with case studies. More case studies, description and evaluation: 

Tele-Centers are not all alike because each adjusts to local interests and needs. One may be used by pupils and teachers during school hours, by small businesses later in the afternoon, for adult learning in the early evening, for recreation in the late evening, for individual research projects late at night and before school in the morning. Some are privately owned as small businesses. Some are portable--on a bus or truck that can be moved from place to place--as in mountain regions of Peru. They are operated by local technicians, often young teenagers who know how to get in touch with expert help online if needed. In very remote areas, the technology may at first be very simple: perhaps only e-mail via a solar-powered computer/packet radio ground station that can access a low-orbit satellite with a store-and-forward delivery system. Model tele-center in Africa: <http://www.sustainableICTs.org/DIGVILL.htm>.

In time a national research strategy could examine ways in which tele-centers can be self-supporting, with co-op membership fees, charges for some business services, neighborhood fund-raising or by a club of people who each pay their share during joint access. Researchers could examine how scholarships might be provided and loans underwritten by aid agencies to help students, disabled people and unemployed persons who are using the facilities for job training. One aim of a co-lab networking tele-center would be to equip people for new sources of income, then they can afford to pay their share.  Telecommunications Community Resource Centers (TCRC's) can be an information lifeline to the world; also for networking to empower participation in civic life, for personal enrichment, and to support locally desired uses such as job training, improvements in K-12 education, health care and public safety.. A number of developing world universities were assisting universities in the `third world' to develop training programs for the development of community ICT tele-centers.

2.18.3  SIMULATING A PILOT PROJECT

In the past, development plans have been developed by experts in other countries and even if, at best, with national leaders of a county, there has been no way to involve large numbers of local people in the planning and research. Now, however, just as young people can play video games online with people in other countries, so can there be a system whereby researchers and planners cant play imaginative computer simulation games (2.7.1) to see what else  a national networking tele-center strategy might be like. for education, heath care,  food production--solar greenhouse and crop production, clean water and more. Connections would be provided by low-cost Internet computers and in ways like the `World Space Satellite' Radio Network has provided Two-Way-Voice-Interaction "between students and instructors all over the world." T here are hundreds of existing programs and experiments that could be connected and involved. For exampe, the UNESCO  2002 project "Developing Open Learning Communities for Gender Equity" is an effort to create open learning communities by developing ICT based content through tele-centers; including educational games in areas such as literacy, conflict resolution and languages and and CD-ROMS to share local culture, knowledge and ideas..  

 Dickinson (2000) imagined a "Lighthouse of Knowledge,' a term that sparks imagination about what might become a dream and possibility for one country where everyone interested can participate in planning and research, at least for their own community. The Europe Space Agency in 2005 announced plans for a `neighborhood project' that would use satellite information for information on land use and air quality and that could add overlays other information.

2.18.4  STRATEGIC RESEARCH AND PLANNING

The value of research--to plan for better learning in cyberspace--was seen in the Canadian province of New Brunswick that faced a devastating economic crisis. The major source for income--fishing and forest harvesting--were disappearing. To cope with catastrophic unemployment required a new vision of the future, centering on `Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development.' (McGreal 1998) Research had been taking place in universities in cooperation with business firms and the Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry and Education. So the province undertook to connect every rural school, library, hospital and community center--via a bilingual digital fiber-optic network--to an online learning center and to a library center which provided on-line access to CD-Rom library resources. This provided opportunities for job training and opportunities as in almost nowhere else in the world.  A new education industry and small businesses have been developed because of a vision of education "as a growth industry." Its success by 2002 was exceptional, <http://www.workforce.com/section/00/feature/23/26/80/index.html> after stressing the concept of entrepreneurship—to teach people to create their own opportunities. One key to having the centers work was  to make people feel as if they’re in control of the program, "that they own it." Before opening a center the staff set up a meeting with town residents, for "community asset mapping."  In 2002 more Internet users throughout the world were taking courses created in New Brunswick than the 750,000 people living in the province. (Kiger 2002) 

Proposing such a program--and Africa would be no exception--often initially poses a threat to many  bureaucrats. Such people in every country may worry about losing jobs and privileges. Many therefore join the chorus of those who, even before research, assert that a national technology plan is unworkable <http://www.gii.net/.>.Being enlisted in a simulation--just a `game'--might overcome such resistance through exploring new alternatives in a non-threatening way. "Development cooperation is a process that involves local people, regional and national governments and all viable institutions To illustrate possibilities we note the plan to establish GUS/UGANDA to electronically connect small real universities and learning centers to enhance interaction among nstitutions. In this way poverty reduction can be enabled through increased production, enabled by networking to link them to libraries, hospitals and government services. (Nabudere 2003)

2.18.5   ENTREPRENEURIAL EDUCATION

 The goals of a national strategy are not difficult to list, since many deal with crisis situations. Even a tentative preliminary survey of issues points to the need for much larger research and experimentation, such as those using computer simulations on a larger scale. (Google used 100,00 interlinked computers.) Some of the problems are:

Income creation. There is no way in the foreseeable future for everyone worldwide to have a well-paying job in government, business or industry. (2.12.2) Most Africans, therefore, must have entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and learning that can enable them to earn necessary income using local crops, resources and opportunities. A research strategy needs to find a way for entrepreneurial education  and opportunities to be tailored
 (1) to the needs, resources and opportunities of a particular culture and available resouces. What must be created in cyberspace to do this?
 (2) And to what is possible within a country's national laws, regulations and education policies, Even in South Africa, one of the more prosperous and developed areas, there is a huge and fast growing population, 50 percent are under fifteen years of age. A shortage of funds resulted in large classes, under qualified teachers, irrelevant syllabi, shortage of infrastructure such as laboratories. Many schools are without electricity. There have been high dropout rates, only 5 percent graduating from secondary school. Education has been skewed toward academic subjects at the expense of needed technical needs and job training. So a nonprofit "Learning Network Cooperative" (LNC) was proposed to establish more relevant Community Learning Centers. Its goals were to examine rural models and experience to see what technology can and cannot do; to evaluate rural distance education; and to develop a philosophy of self-directed, individualized education that can empower rural Africans to create wealth and jobs. Such goals need a solid research foundation. On funding aid see for example:: <http://www.digitaldividend.org/action_agenda/action_agenda.htm

Funding for Projects and Experiments--and not only for a pilot co-lab experiments--also requires partnership with global development agencies. (2.17.6) Few local efforts have adequate research and cost-accounting, and no one could yet propose a blueprint for adequate fund raising. However, it is estimated (as WBI 1996) that the total cost of essential literacy and skills training for everyone in the world could be provided by a one percent tax on entertainment. The administration of UNESCO has proposed a transfer of 4 percent of military expenditures in Africa to education and health care. Public support for larger international funding might be greatly aided by well-researched blueprints and plans--tested in some specific places--for how the money would be used for research by African universities and colleges--connected to rural communities--to increase income in Africa.

Lifelong Education Structures on the Internet. How is the virtual African university to reach  all people in a pilot country? Even wealthy California has had to pull back from its plan to place a college within reach of everyone. Its experimentation with new structures in cyberspace may provide clues for Africa. So also might the move of community colleges into cyberspace. (Vol. 1.9) One model is Rio Salado Community College, based in Tempe, Arizona. It has seen itself "as a global institution, serving. . . the world." (Applebone 1997). It has had no campus and has been educating thousands of students "in places like churches and shopping malls and. . . at home on computers." Most of them, of all ages, seeking skills for better jobs. The governments of many developing countries, examining their education options, need research verification that some such community-oriented entrepreneurial education in cyberspace is feasible for everyone who cannot afford time on a residential campus. In both the developed and developing world a strategic research plan can help these `people's colleges' deal online with the needs of low income and nontraditional students.

Magnus John of Sierra Leone (1996) pointed out that debate over  education for Africa "seldom includes the work of practitioners in Africa." After assessing the possibilities for reconstruction in Namibia, he said that Sub-Sahara Africa can profit from s successful experience with new technologies. That is essential, he said, if the goal of "education for all is to be achieved." Somewhere in the world there has been successful experimentation on nearly every need a national strategy would require.

Technology Limitations. Providing electricity is now essential for needed education and income in a village. Pending the arrival of the power grid--often many decades away--a research strategy involving local people can explore the use of rechargeable battery-powered TV, VCR, CD-ROM and wiindmills and solar power. An online conference, following the GK97 event (4.4), discussed how a new simple technology--designed for mass-production in a developing country like India--can be mass-produced for impoverished areas. (3.7). A Japanese scholar, creating a dictionary in an aboriginal area of the Philippines in 1982 had computers especially designed for the humid tropics--operated with primitive amateurish solar power equipment--and ham radio connections with Tokyo. African based WorldSpace <http://www.worldspace.com> announced in March, 1998, a plan to extend Internet connections--via satellite radio and a `small portable hand held device--to the entire continent of Africa, especially isolated rural regions. "It will pave countless millions of digital country roads in Africa. . . to provide digital audio communications" to underserved areas of the world. It announced the launch in 1998 of AfriStar, the first of its three satellites.

 Larry Press in "The Internet in a Developing Nation" reported that "regardless of the technology used in the link and the equipment needed (ground station, terrestrial radio, router, etc.)" it is now possible to connect every rural area and, the local network  would remain the responsibility of local citizens. They can decide on having only a few shared computers in a community center or a wireless or cable–based network. Like the university campus LANs in the days of the NSFNet, local governments and residents would make those decisions and commitments."
 <http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue9_4/press/>.

UNESCO in 1995 developed a "Solar Villages in Africa' plan--in cooperation with universities--to use multimedia training materials in local languages. It would "demonstrate and enhance the utilization by rural communities in Sub-Sahara Africa of e-technologies for local power generation and local production of construction materials." A German-Senegal demonstration project installed solar photovoltaic power systems in more than fifteen hundred rural homes. It took into account user needs and problems in partnership with village associations, including the possibility of local manufacture of spare repair parts and training in maintenance skills. UNESCO has also sponsored a the World Solar Summit Process to investigate solar energy for developing nations as a way to reduce energy cost, save foreign exchange and increase the energy supply without heavy investment. Researchers were to prepare a "World Plan" by 2005. The Greenstar Foundation has been placing "self-contained, solar-powered community center in remote locations around the world," areas that are not connected to the electricity grid. These centers then provide water purification, health care, communications, electric power, and Internet connections for e-commerce so that far-flung communities can have a chance to sell their wares, including `digital culture' products such as art and music.  These centers are not only sustainable, but make a profit and need not disturb indigenous culture. <http://www.greenstar.org/>.

Illiterates. Audio tapes and radio may be the first technology for educational use by illiterates in isolated villages. Next, it is possible to put 99 segments of spoken text on a music-type CD. Michael Loots, M.D. of the Humanity CD-Rom project (17.6) has demonstrated CD's about crop rotation, insect management and other practical topics. Villagers can listen while working or walking around, using a player like a Sony Walkman, operated with solar-rechargeable batteries. Audio cassettes and CDs are better than radio in that they can be played over and over until learned, and can be passed around to many people in turn. Produced in quantities of 10,000 each, an audio CD can cost less than $2.00--including production cost of content. So a regional library of 50 CDs with practical lessons could be purchased for $400.00. (One dollar each if 400 people used them.) The fifty CDs could together contain most of a primary or secondary school education.

Technology Support. Plans were in 2001 already being discussed for an online `peace corps' that can provide technical assistance for coping with technology. Technology Today, June 2002, reported on a `Geek Corps' that had a waiting list of over a thousand `experts' who wanted to participate, as well as the battery-operated not for profit cheap computer that is described here elsewhere. Needed technology is arriving in many parts of Africa more than outsiders realize. For instance, as of late 2002 Botswana had a highly developed telecommunications infrastructure. There were over 332,000 cell phones  in a country with less than two million people

Research is needed on many questions asked at the World Bank and World Trade Organization by Africans themselves. For example, how to measure progress in meeting the real needs of the poor and not on some abstract generalized growth statistics, necessities such as basic nutrition, health and hygiene and the means to afford safe drinking water; how to provide farmers and schools with better tools and information on how to process, preserve and store fruits and other products; how better to provide skills for idle youth;  how to develop their own governance as part of a more concerned national government (with less graft)? Who will be held accountable in 2015 if proposed projects and commitments turn out to be hollow again? What kind of knowledge systems need to be in place? Are the measuring yardsticks set according to the needs of the local poor, rather than being based on the needs of leaders and donors? For a great deal of information on e-governance see: <http://www.bytesforall.org/>. Ghani (2005) raises questions about what are the essential jobs of a nation state?

We end Volume Two with a reminder that our concern is the potential of larger-scale research on global crises of which education is one and is perhaps the most crucial. We have ended this volume where perhaps we should have started, in a rural developing world village where many of the crises are most acute. The idea of a simulated rural African village  and nation as a co-lab is not a recommendation or proposal. Our intention here is to stimulate the imagination and be a reminder that the village and inner-city poverty neighborhood must be at the center of any effort to provide education for everyone, worldwide. It may be decades before that goal can be accomplished in all of rural Africa. It is urgent now, however, to develop the blueprints; the computer modeling and whatever else is necessary for  the larger scale research that is needed.

2.18.6   A CONCLUDING POSTSCRIPT

Volume Two has reported some of what has been happening in cyberspace, and some of the potential for the future of crisis-related and education research. It is likely that events will transform the future of research in cyberspace in quite different ways from what we have been discussing. Emerging mega-technologies provide dazzling implications for the future of large-scale research, perhaps making it possible for humanity to plan now for better ways to deal "with the size and complexity of the problems currently facing mankind." (Levy 1997). The problems of poverty, hunger, ecology and many more require the reshaping of research methods that "that were forged at a different time to resolve different problems."

Our conclusions must include cautions raised as we began. This Volume began by exploring the idea of large-scale research, not large-scale action-projects like those which have been imposed by totalitarian governments (See Scott 1998) Mega-farms and transnational food corporations, even if based on mega-scale research, are not likely to feed all the world's hungry children before a billion more of them die. Large scale research, however, may help civil society find how to do it.

Crises that threaten human survival may provide the motivation for mega-research--on how to use information age technology to empower neighborhood units of civil society to do what must be done. We hope, however, that humanity's goal may be not be only a new economy, viable political and research systems in cyberspace, but also a world of richness and variety where people are free to experiment, to learn and to cherish the wisdom of the past, to create the wisdom of the future (Postrel 1998) and to develop a civilization that also nurtures beauty and joy worldwide for all.

 Our basic question: how can a global conversation be initiated and continued on these questions? (One creative  answer in (3.10)) "Perhaps the most challenging task facing humanity today is the creating of a shared vision of a sustainable and desirable society." (Constanza 1999) To accomplish that, Volume III discusses new possibilities in learning and teaching at all levels, local, national and global..

Return to Chapter 2.17  |  Go to Volume III - Preface


Bibliographical Notes

<http://www.foreignpolicy.com/issue_novdec_2001/lessig.html>

<http://www.africadotedu.org/default.asp?webPageID=2>.

Applebone, P. 1997."Community Colleges at the Crossroads." New York Times, Aug. 3

Barlow, J. P. 1998. "Africa Rising." Wired, January.

Bonn, Robert.  1998. Global University Project Notes, unpublished.

Coles, Peter. 2002. "Saving the World on a Dollar a Day." New Scientist, May 6.

Dickinson, Dee. 2000. "Lower Education." In Williamson, M. Imagine. New York; St. Martins/Rodale.

Costanza, R. 1999. "Four Visions of the Century Ahead." Futurist, Feb.

Fairley, Peter. 2004. "Solar Cell Rollout." MIT Technology Review, July/August.a

Ghani, Ashraf. 2005. "Making States." World Today, Sepember.

GKD 2001. Online report, Global Knowledge Partnership, Nov. 14. 

Johnson, G. 2000. "All Science is Computer Science." New York Times, Mar. 25.

Kiger, Patrick. 2002. "Training Transforming a Region's Economy." Workforce, July.

Krishna, Anirudh. 1997, Reasons for Hope: Instructive Experiences in Rural Development. Hartford, CT: Kumarian.

Madamombi, Itai. 2005. "Community Radio; A Voice for the Poor." African Renewal, July.

McGreal, Rory. 1996. "TeleEducation NB: Developing a Provincial Learning Industry." T. H. E. Journal, January."

Nabudere, Dani. 2003. "How New Information Technologies Can Be Used to Advance Learning in Agro-Pastoral Communities in Africa. <http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/Global_University/Global%20University%20System/UNESCO_Chair_Book/Manuscripts/Part_II_Intercultur/Nabudere,%20Dani%20W./Nabudere_web/NabudereD4.htm>.

Noronha, Frederick. 2002. "Computing for the Millions: Indian Language Solutions." GKD Online, May 9. 

Postrel, Virginia.1998.  Technocracy R. I. P." Wired, January.

Pradhan, Sharat. 2002. "IT-Based Innovation to Transform Rural India." Indo-Asian News Service, Feb. 11.

Rao, M. 199?."Bringing the Net to the Masses" On The Internet, Jan-Feb. In the same issue, Perry, Larry." A Client Centered Network in Rural India.

Resnik, Mitchel. 2001. 'Revolutionizing Learning in the Digital Age." <http://www.educause.edu>2001 Forum on the Internet and the University.>

Scott, J.C. 1998. Seeing Like the State. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Wasserman, Herman. 2005. "Connecting African activities With Global Networks." African Development, vol. 20, 1.

World Development Report 2001: Attacking Poverty. See the paragraph by paragraph online criticisms and proposals by  stake-holders from nearly all involved countries-- January to May 2000--of the six projected volumes with chapters such as, The Nature and Evolution of Poverty, the Causes of Poverty and a Framework of Action, Protecting the Poor. Building Social Institutions and Removing Social Barriers and so forth. <http://www.worldbank.org/poverty/wdroverty>

Wresch, W. 1996. Disconnected. Rutgers University Press.

See: <http://www.globalknowledge.org> sessions on Knowledge Generation for and by the Rural Poor and Multi-purpose Community tele-centers and for many reports on networking in Africa.

as a

The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View
http://ecolecon.missouri.edu/globalresearch/chapters/2-18.html
For more information contact Parker Rossman
July 12, 2006 -- Copyright © 2002-2005 Parker Rossman