Challenges in Education in Today’s Society

sxRecent investigations in the study of demographic trends at global level are currently making light on a very controversial aspect, although ignored by global institutions, like O.N.U., U.N.D.P., G 20, same by organizations with attributions in the educational field (as UNESCO, Youth International Authorities and other). The so-called "demographic winter" phenomenon, which reveals the dramatic consequences of the "modern" life, marked by familial and moral decline, by miscarriage, vulgarization and the homosexuality "normalization", by the poisoning influence of the majority of mass-media and the "Hollywood culture" are inoculating egocentrism, frivolity and irresponsibility. Considering this demographic trend offers a new dimension to the way in which abundance and resource of the world are distributed and also gives a new vision on elementary educational issues.

The globalization of education is reflecting itself in the extension and unification of educational practices, used by all those public or private entities, involved as active social educators. Over time, the public education systems in developed or emerging countries, which promote formal education, are illustrating with consistency the practice of a classical education system. In the field of non-formal education there are used more innovating and diverse methods of education, but unfortunately few of this are oriented upon individual behaviour reshaping in the global context, and they are looking only to proliferate consumerist habits, by preparing youngsters for a successful professional career start. The presence of NGO's with international coverage and professional training companies has fixed the currently understood "development in education" in comfortable limits. This makes room for a reshape of educational fundamentals and, more obvious, for the ultimate purpose of learning.

Most people think that education should equip them with the proper exploitation instruments so that they can forever trample over the masses. Still other thinks that education should furnish them with noble ends rather than means to an end. The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.

Socially speacking, the technological revolution, the broaden access to information and the modern lifestyle facilities have made possible the appearance of an irreversible phenomenon in the conflict between generations. In our present times, the children, "sons of globalization" have access to multiple sources of information, with the internet being most of the time an instrument of self-education. The balance is leaning in the favour of the power of informed youth, who become "the teachers", explaining the new world order to the eldest. This theory takes into consideration the acceleration of technology and the way of our lifestyle, but, beyond its observational character, it does not bring up the discussion on the relevance of educational systems, visible outmoded, which attempts to destroy the moral and statutory principles. The wisdom is transmitted from the old generation to the youth, and not backward.

Therefore we are raising the question regarding the way organisms responsible for educational issues should reconsider the basic fundamentals of this basic activity, which clearly has guided the evolution of our world so far. It isn't enough for organizations like U.N.E.S.C.O or U.N.D.P. to confront the absence of primary education and the discrimination regarding access to education in underdeveloped countries, to avoid resettling the educational needs inside an inappropriate system. It is necessary to deal with these aspects in proper time, because we consider education the key-element which can slow down the process of planet and people self destruction.

The proposal regarding fundamentals reshaping and reviewing the individual education, approached in all stages and cycles of life, starts with the assumption that "Man has to be educated to act responsible towards the environment and civilization, and not interfere in the harmony and balanced world development with his behaviour". This observation, not exactly recent, triggered a chain of initiatives in the educational system in countries like France, Italy, Germany, including Romania, but I consider that implementing a discipline of Civic Education, in the gymnasium module is not enough, neither convincing.

We feel that the new fundamentals and principals of education, which must be known, understood and applied by every teacher, through all the range of educational processes in the long life learning of individuals, and also in the non formal educational process, whereat people have access during existence are:

1. Self-consciousness - is essential because it allows every individual to find his role in society, to know his weak points and to develop them according to his unique talents genetically inherited. A person aware of his/her self can easily act in choosing the occupation or the carrier to practice that he or she will be able to direct his energies to and recognize the real problems that the world and society faces. Consciousness-based education, introduced in 1971 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is unique in its ability to effectively develop the total brain potential of every student.

2. Stimulating creativity - this special quality is reflected in the mental and social process of generating new ideas, concepts, associations, and permits individual adaptation to unpredictable contexts and situations. There are simple techniques, associated to lateral thinking that can promote this capacity, for example: improvisation, fiction as imaginary product, (Randomness, Improvisation, P.S.).

3. Communication - in the actual forms and methods used as learning practices, communication is not capitalized at being the supreme value, because mostly individual activity it's encouraged, which promotes inappropriate values like egoism, indifference, self-interest. Without communicating problems and discussing difficult situations, there is no way to claim solving the issues in optimal parameters of time, quality and accuracy. The man can not act in terms of social responsibility, as a "macro attitude", which I consider as being shallowly approached, especially in the economical environment.

4. Promoting a responsible role in society - education must train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one's self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. This is the way in which he or she could develop and exercise an active role in society.

5. Changing opening - in order to be able to intervene in the actual course of the life circle, accepting and promoting the changes is considered a healthy habit, which stimulates the flexibility and the disruption of existing corporately stereotypes, which are heading humanity to destruction, because of the ignorance or simply because of unknown problems that Terra is facing. From this perspective, the change tackling implies a real transformation at psychological level and of human behaviour, therefore to satisfy those priorities needed to be handled immediately. Here we refer to: the necessity of a re-conversion of world economy from a military economy to civil one, immediate solutions for energetic and environmental problems, as well as for the underdevelopment and poverty aspects propagated into the world.

6. Global vision upon world - the actual educational system, as a whole, is constituted by a sum of operations (method -> evaluation -> communication), whose final objective must reflect a pragmatic and global view on the world. At present, the youth is informed regarding global problems through sources like mass media, not making possible a healthy analysis, not making possible a debate and a thoroughness facilitation that could lead to the understanding and building-up personal opinions regarding aspects like underdevelopment, global economical relations, international monetary system, etc.

7. The ability of solving problems - solving problems is the easiest way to re-create conditions and actions in an artificial manner, experience which allows pupils and students to deal with in a constructive way and to develop solutions for different problems. Learning systems which are basically constructed like this are superior because it helps individuals to recognise and adapt to specific economic, social, psychological, spiritual context and to detect real problems in any form, associating optimal alternatives of decision. For example, simulating a complex economical context for a start-up enterprise leads to the stimulation of individual creativeness and decision-making abilities.

8. Multidisciplinary teams - to permit the reshaping and the restructuring of scholar curricular in the needed form in order to develop these abilities and capacities, we are suggesting even some changes in the study of discipline, considering the logical and contextual relations between them, providing an understanding of all existing correlations at a certain point. For example, Public Finances should be studied in the International Monetary System context and not separately. At the same time this characteristic involves, according to those said before, the start point of collaborations between students coming from different specialization, in order to accomplish complex projects with a multidisciplinary approach. In this case, the elaboration of a business plan would unite students from different specializations in economical science discipline (services, marketing, management) and students from engineering, agriculture and others profile Universities.

In recent years, there have been promoters that recognise the importance of remodelling and updating the learning systems and they have introduced some of this principals through various pedagogic and psychology methods and ideas, which became guide-lines in Universities educational activities from regions around the world. A recent example at this point is the study made by Clay Shirky, author of "Here Comes Everybody", in which he proposed an innovating learning model, named Open Model of Education. In the Closed Model of Education or Classical System, education is limited because the ideas that a school or district can consider can come from only a limited number of sources, usually teachers, administrators, and consultants. A great deal of thought must be put into the consideration of ideas because the time and cost of failure are so high. Time spent with meetings, staff training, and materials, has a cost. This means the filter for ideas is very high. Only those ideas that seem to have the most benefit will be implemented, though there is no way to know in advance that one of the ideas picked will bring the desired benefit, and one of the ideas left on the table could be the most effective and beneficial.

It is true that by putting into practice an educational system based on the same universal fundamentals it essentially means stimulating globalization through its universal optic itself. Although the manner in which this model contributes to the globalization phenomenon is clear, still we must consider the fact that the final purpose of education is no other then confronting globalization's effects and influences, as well as the global negative impact upon environment and, ultimately, upon the way people live everywhere. Education will allow us to know the actual estate of the world, with all its pluses and minuses, and also will increase the awareness of the impact of every individual upon the world and upon the next generations. In other words, we consider politics, economy or administrative sciences weapons of less importance in the process of global issues eradication, compared to education, as a social science.

To conclude, I would like to specify the way these ideas were generated and which were their fundamentals. This actual study is not a result a thorough research activity, neither a genius idea. I am myself a "product" of a classic, formal educational system, but also had some benefits form the non-formal educational system by involving myself in a volunteer organization that developed soft skills and hard skills both. I consider that these educational practices are not adapted enough to the global context that we are facing everyday, and that specialized literature is exposing, bringing up to light its pronounced effects of human existence on Terra. I am a person that does not hold sufficient information and power to be a voice and to be able to get involved in a sustainable and constant development of society, whose values are not profit, nepotism, indifference towards future generations, but responsibility to create and offer equal chances. I am an ambassador of a civilization which is plunging headfirst, shy daring to change the dissonant order and murderously world.