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Symposium 2011

Proposal - Reinventing Education

The Challenge

Global competition and the global financial crisis have put additional pressures on education programs around the world—what they should deliver, how they should be delivered and how they should be ...

Global competition and the global financial crisis have put additional pressures on education programs around the world—what they should deliver, how they should be delivered and how they should be financed in terms of the relative contributions of the public and private sectors.

The Challenge

Africa has always been at the receiving end particularly in the field of Education, Economy and Technology. In the modern world of global competition, developing countries will have to learn from the experiences of industrially developed countries, tap the potential of the various technologies and apply them in modified forms to suit their own needs and circumstances. While advanced countries have solutions and resources of all sorts and are looking for problems, developing countries have myriad problems and limited resources and are looking for solutions.

The challenge then is to find meaningful collaboration for the benefit of all partners while giving room for homegrown and indigenous blending of solutions to confront local, national and regional problems. In a world of diminishing resources and competing priorities, there is urgent need to reinvent education through rigorous re-examination of the ultimate goals and returns of educational investments.

 

Change of Mindset

Education planners, policy makers and academicians have long been duped into believing that Africa and other developing regions of the world have to go through major educational revolutions similar to those undergone by the industrially developed countries of Europe and North America. Jones (1995) has identified the categories as follows.

  1. Universal primary education (1870-1900)
  2. Universal secondary education ( 1945-1990)
  3. Universal tertiary education (1970-2010)
  4. Life long education (1990-2030)

To these four categories we could add Global Lifelong Education for All particularly in the Third World. This is UNESCO’s plan to bring culturally and economically appropriate aspects of the above four revolutions to the developing countries of the South. UNESCO and other international agencies and organizations have recognized that conventional education methods by themselves will not be sufficient to achieve the goals of Education For All, and that new strategies such as open learning and distance education will have to be applied.

The International Commission of Education for the 21st Century (DELORS Commission) has proposed four pillars for the education of the future, namely;

  1. Learning to live together
  2. Learning to know
  3. Learning to do
  4. Learning to be

I would suggest two additional pillars that would greatly strengthen the structure, These are;

  1. Learning to learn
  2. Learning to take risks

 

Proposed Solutions

1. Developing countries should find appropriate ways and means of fast-tracking the universal education cycles that Europe and North America have gone through. Education and training ‘on demand’ should be instituted at all levels of education through open, distance and e-learning technologies.

2. Mobile technology has introduced many innovative applications in Education, Health, Agriculture and Poverty Reduction in developing countries. This technology holds great promise for further development.

3. Developing countries should reinvent community radio and other audio recordings for education and training purposes. It can be customized to meet local, national and regional requirements and is affordable.


Reference: Jones, B. (1995). Sleepers Wake! Technology and the Future of Work (rev.ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

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