Adjusting to the Future

PR and Programme Development Director ACSSN Paideia Association

Specialists tried to define who exactly young people are. In a world of globalisation, we can easily realise that such a question is hard to answer. The lack of such definition, while confusing the issue between perspectives, has led to different approaches to youth based on young people as a generation, an object of public policy or as an age group.

Globalisation, a process whereby the whole world is becoming integrated into a homogenous community, is a phenomenon, which, due to its ever growing pace and dimensions, has become a topic of vigorous discussion in the recent years. Dramatic changes in the ways of social communication, the progress in the development of Information Technology and the resulting change in people’s lifestyles, present us with a different world, much more dynamic than the one we were used to several years ago. These new circumstances require every individual to find their own interpretation of the changes around them. Therefore, the primary goal of modern education should be to help young people to form an awareness of the dynamic surrounding world and allow them to determine their place in their local community, as well as the global society.

Globalization and the IT revolution are transforming the economic environment. New ideas have gained widespread attention and companies have been forced to restructure and become more innovative in order to stay competitive.

As every local and international community adjusts itself to meet the needs of the time and function adequately in a global context, the process of globalisation also affects the education system.

The human capital is developed through high quality education systems, with tertiary and secondary education providing the advanced skills that command a premium in today’s marketplace most, if not all, developed countries emphasize higher education to ensure their young people are prepared for survival in the knowledge-based society. The challenge to developing countries is not only to catch up, but also to set up and institutionalize a system of educational planning and implementation that will produce the skilled labor and knowledge workers required by them today and in the future.

The success of developing countries and national enterprises will depend on effective gathering and utilization of knowledge.

With the view of the dynamic future society, we should also expect a more dynamic education system, which could adjust itself to the rapidly changing world and stay open to different approaches and ways of teaching. With the growing possibilities of global communication, new alternative ways of teaching will be available before long. Non-formal education has an increasing role in the development of new cultures, new mentalities and accommodating the competencies to a changing environment. Therefore, national formal education systems area is enlarging its barriers to different providers such private institutes or NGOs.

Meanwhile, the creation of a global education system, as well as the process of globalisation itself, presents the society with numerous problems, which can overshadow the benefits.

There is a need for the education authorities to reorient their policies to make the curriculum more innovative. Thus, young people will have to learn the art of acquiring more knowledge on their own and will have to be stimulated to do things in different ways, becoming proactive rather than reactive, willing to take risks and learn from mistakes.

To strengthen life-long learning habits, subjects like communication, learning and thinking skills will have to be incorporated into the teaching and learning process.

Undoubtedly, in the era of globalisation, the educational organisations aim to “facilitate international academic mobility”. There is a risk, however, of only one-way mobility westwards, leaving other parts of the world (together with their unique cultures) behind to cope with numerous economic and social problems. If this were to happen, education would become the tool for further exacerbating the destructive aspects of globalisation rather than helping to overcome problems and share the benefits. Further weakening of the developing countries, increasing the inequality in the world, damaging and neglecting cultures – these are some of the rather extreme (but possible) effects of adopting an inappropriate education model for the globalizing society.

The education should treat each unique culture and society with due respect, realising that global education is not only learning about the West, but also studying different cultures of the world, using different approaches, ways of teaching and different media.

The era of globalisation is the time when cross-cultural communication and understanding becomes increasingly important in our lives. The modern education should prepare young people for communicating their ideas, overcoming problems, understanding and being understood by the rest of the world. Although this vision is rather idealistic, I believe equality and tolerance in the world can be achieved by gradually adjusting the education means to the changing needs of the dynamic global society.