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4th International Conference on Future Education-Overview

Fourth International Conference on Future Education

Belgrade, Serbia | November  11th - 13th, 2019

Educating for the Unknown: How Education Reforms Help to Avoid a Paradox that Future is Behind Us?

Challenges and Opportunities

We live in an amazingly interrelated world full of new normalities which bring a profound level of complexity and uncertainty into all aspect of our life. The global character of information, of work, and of ecology has had a tremendous impact on society and on the type of education needed to and to meet pressing challenges and avail of emerging opportunities.

Technology and Education are complementary drivers of social development. Each plays an essential role in developing and supporting advances of the other. Technological advances have been a principle catalyst for the development of professional and scientific education. So too, advances in education have been essential to prepare youth to understand and utilize the full capabilities generated by technological advances. Both have had a profound impact on the general progress of our work, society and culture. Globalization has magnified that impact and accelerated the pace of change.

Our present system of education was born at a time when information and knowledge were scarce and the means to acquire and disseminate them slow and laborious. It was a time centuries before the invention of printing, newspapers, textbooks, radio, motion pictures, television and the internet when oral instruction by a teacher was the only feasible method for knowledge sharing and the accumulated knowledge of humanity was extremely limited. This is no longer the case. Today we live in a world of information-glut. The average citizen has more information available at his fingerprints than the most knowledgeable, informed expert had access to just a few decades ago. Moreover, current knowledge is changing so rapidly that much of what was taught a few years ago is no longer up-to-date or even relevant. In order to handle the surplus of knowledge, the number of subjects taught has multiplied from a handful to nearly a thousand specialized disciplines and sub-disciplines. At the same time, the rapid technological advances of the 4th Industrial Revolution are placing new demands on the way we think, organize and work. Yet our basic method and system of education remains the same. In spite of rapid advances in technology, the impact of emerging technologies in the field of education has been relatively small.  

As a consequence, there is an ever widening gap between the type of education the world needs and that which our present educational institutions, pedagogies, the learning technologies are able to offer, and the relevance of educational content being provided to students. The gap is also widening between societies and individuals that are able to adapt quickly to the demands for educational leadership, innovation and creativity, and those that lag behind. Education has become a critical competitive factor for both the individual and the society. Addressing these issues offers unprecedented opportunities for those who evolve more effective ways to equip the next generation for life in an increasingly rapidly-changing, complex and globalized society. These challenges are central to the work of the World Academy of Art & Science and the World University Consortium.

Focus of the Fourth International Conference of Future Education

In former international conferences on future education, the World Academy of Art and Science and the World University Consortium have examined in depth the nature of the educational challenges confronting humanity today, the educational requirements imposed by emerging technologies and globalization, and the need to break down the disciplinary silos of over-specialization that limit the practical relevance of the existing system to the real world as well as the need for changes in pedagogy and adapting of new learning technologies to expand access, improve quality and reduce the cost of education. Most importantly of all, they have explored the need for a fundamental shift in purpose and strategy from the subject to the student, from transmission of information to development of capacities for independent thinking and problem solving, from development of mental capacities to development of the full personality of the student needed for effective adaptation and achievement, and from education employees to developing creative thinkers, innovative entrepreneurs and good global citizens.

A new paradigm is urgently needed to shift emphasis to contextual, relational, human-centered, collaborative education that encourages critical thinking, creativity and technological entrepreneurship. Implementation of the new paradigm through strategy and policies will get effective answers through industrial policies supporting fully developed human potentials, primarily innovative breakthroughs that are multidisciplinary, applicable and value based.

This conference examined effective policies, strategies and pedagogies required to accelerate this paradigm change in education. It drew lessons, insights and practical approaches from successful innovations in education taking place around the world. It examined ways to overcome disciplinary barriers to provide the integrated knowledge needed for achievement in our increasingly complex world. It explored new methods to shift the focus from subject to students and from academic to contextual knowledge. It investigated emerging technologies and pedagogies that can shift the emphasis from teaching to active learning, from competitive to cooperative, and from teacher-student to peer-peer learning environments. Most importantly, it explored ways to promote the development of the capacities for creative thinking, personality and individuality that will prepare the next generation and the nation for high accomplishment in the years to come.