Name….Achiri Arnold Nji
The world is in a very “hot state” right now. Geopolitical tensions and wars are everywhere. Hunger and diseases are killing the “African Dream”. Climate change has made many settlers to say “ADIEU” to their lands. Areas which were formally great lakes are now “Great deserts”, the “Ice Mountains” of the Arctic are becoming just “Ice hills”. Religious ideologies and misinterpretation of beliefs and traditional practices are gradually pushing the world into a “War of Religions”. The world of 2099 depends on what individuals, organizations and governments decide to do today. All the problems of the world of today are the results of a misguided educational system. The educational system of today is so job oriented that every scholar goes to school just to make sure that he/she gets a good job in future. Little is done to remedy the social problems plaguing society. A few years after leaving school, everything is forgotten and the individual relies on his/her instincts and abilities to be productive or to help the company survive. This is where the real problem is! Most of the people who live in the most urbanized countries are educated. About half of the people who live in the underdeveloped or developing countries are not educated. Though the statistics show a staggering difference in educational levels, the problems plaguing society are the same-people want jobs, there is mass environmental degradation and destruction, and there are conflicts (wars and organized crimes) everywhere. The more developed society or the “western world” are more stable when it comes to civil unrests, but then their foreign policies just proves that there are basically no differences between the educated and the uneducated. Before actually providing a guideline to the type of education system which I’ll call the ARNOLDIAN MODEL of the 21st century educational system, I’ll take the major problems, analyze them and then relate them to the present system. The most conspicuous problems are:
TERRORISM: This is one of the biggest threats to human existence. Innocent people lose their lives in problems they didn’t create. It is often said that “when you see the smoke, there is obviously a fire”, but a pertinent question eludes most people-“what caused the fire?”
-fundamentalism and new ideologies have seen a sharp rise in recent times due to globalization and the legalization of some controversial laws. Traditionalists think these new laws are a threat to them, so they think the way to “protect their values” is to perform such barbaric acts.
-Failed foreign policy and intervention: this according to me has been the major precursor to the rise of terrorism. Countries mostly having terrorists are countries that have experienced continuous intervention of foreign governments’ into their affairs. Going down memory lane, one can actually say with facts that one of the most remarkable and regrettable terrorist activity that changed the course of human history was seen in 1914, when a Serbian activist killed Duke Franz Ferdinand.
-Poverty; this is an important cause of terrorism in Africa. This is because there exist a vicious poverty cycle whereby the poor keep getting poorer. At one point, their frustration and despair tends to the hunting and kidnapping of innocent people for ransoms.
-Alienation and poor governance; Terrorist attacks on some countries in the past made the governments of these countries resort to civil espionage. This made most people especially Muslims to feel that the society doesn’t fit them thereby pushing them to become radicals and eventually terrorists.
A hundred years after the first remarkable terrorist attack, the causes of terrorism are fundamentally the same. The present educational system trains diplomats whose diplomacy has nothing to do with interaction between humans, but just a representation of one country in another.
UN’s STATUS: The UN was formed at the dawn of two world wars to check nations. Time has changed and warfare has mutated-meaning the “status-quo” has to change. So, the laws of the 20th century may not be a solution to these “Proxy Wars that have emerged”. The fore founding nations which have the right to veto resolutions that are contrary to the interests of their countries have become so self-centered. In their quests to defend their citizens, they have caused heavy damages and casualties to citizens of other countries. The educated leaders of the UN propose laws that don’t even reflect the realities on the ground-“each country should defend itself following international laws”, yet not even one country has ever respected these laws in wars. The educated and the uneducated have the same techniques of proxy warfare and propaganda. It’s incredible that most of the time when there is a crisis, the Security Council only “agrees to disagree”
CLIMATE CHANGE and ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION: the world is being polluted at an alarming rate! Pundits say governments are taking decisions that would see reduction of emission of greenhouse gases and are reducing the rate of pollution, but on the ground companies and corporations keep messing with the environment-rivers are overflowing banks, entire cities are being submerged and a sea of sand is now being developed in areas formerly covered by water. The educated and the uneducated are profit oriented, and mess with the environment the same way. This clear ignorance of the consequences of their actions just shows us how the present system is! A system that turns humans to robots!
The Arnoldian model of 21st century education would be a system of education whereby every scholar learns how to live, interact and communicate with the community, while using some of the already existing techniques of today’s educational system. The present day educational system doesn’t address the social problems of society, or to be fair enough not everyone gets to understand the functioning of the society. This would involve developing abilities of scholars and not giving them a set of rules to follow or a set of useless exams to be written. The system is divided into stages.
Stage one involves the early years of education. It is commonly called kindergarten, but I’ll call it pre-school. Children would be required go to school just to interact with others for the first year. No exams or tests are going to be required. As they interact with each other, they’ll indirectly learn how to live with different kinds of people- something very important in constituting a community.
Stage two is going to be made up of three years. The first year would involve gradual involvement of the scholar to his/her environment, while learning some of the ways of communication like sign language. This would make it possible to integrate everyone to the society including the handicapped. The second year would see the supervisors and teachers identify the abilities of scholars with the help of their parents, and the continuous study of nature. The third year of stage two would see some elements of today’s education like the learning of the alphabet and some elements of today’s language studies.
Stage three would consist of six years. Intense learning of some elements of today’s educational system like mathematics, citizenship, international laws, first aid, science subjects, history and geography. Talents and abilities that were formerly identified should start moving towards professionalization. Students whose first language is not English should take English as a second language. Students already having English as first language should learn another language. This would make the society free of misinformation due to communication error or some biased journalism. Intercultural debates and programs should be added in the curriculum. This would help form a better community in future and prevent the rise of ultra-nationalism and extremism.
At the end or stage three, students can now move towards a more professional domain thereby avoiding the overcrowding of the brain and the excessive textbooks needed. This would make it possible for low income families to send children to school. Professionalization would prepare students to become job creators and not job seekers thereby reducing the pressure in the job market.
The last stage would have a curriculum like the universities of today, except the addition of international laws, environmental studies and cultures as compulsory fields. Solving the problem of people who can’t go to school would be heavily dependent on the leaders, organizations and the wealthy people of society.
The idea behind this educational system is to make children have good social and leadership abilities as they grow. Diplomats who understand the behavior of humans would emerge, more people (businessmen and leaders) would understand fully the long term effects of environmental destruction, conflict resolution would be much easier since there is a better understanding of different cultures, there would be religious tolerance due to the fact that most people would now understand their differences and how to live with them. Events which initially appear to be unrelated are rather closer than we expect. Before the end of this century, I’ll like to see the implementation of an educational system that is similar to the one above.