A glance at a typical school curriculum will reveal what we all know: schools try to provide children with tools for academic studies in college and universities, but they do not prepare them for life.
By and large, schools all over the world provide education that is based on needs that were established in the context of the industrial revolution. Regrettably, very little has changed since then, despite the fact that schools are meant to prepare children for life in the 21st century. Moreover, not only are schools finding it difficult to prepare children for life in the contemporary world, they make it even more difficult by subjecting them to a race for achievements while instilling in them patterns of competitiveness instead of the practices of consideration and collaboration.
To nurture a generation that will lead the world out of the crises it is in, we must create an environment where each of them feels and understands that he or she is gaining by contributing his or her unique capabilities to the success of the whole of society. And while it may come as a bit of a surprise, the tool for developing a complementary educational system already exists: the Internet.
Today, the World Wide Web is a universal reality and has become our youth’s natural environment. The Internet has already proven that it can serve as a platform for promoting social and cultural notions, cultivate discussions, and motivate people into action. It draws the majority of its power from the neutrality, collectiveness, and interactivity that it allows, but mostly from the power that it gives to web surfers.
As we have established an education system that intended to prepare our children for life in the world, we must now add complementary education—an online interactive environment that extols such values as bonding, collaboration, and consideration of others, in order to overcome the alienation and separation that heavily burden our world today.
From childhood, a person must know that the ego, that is, the desire to enjoy at the expense of others, is the primary cause of all the suffering that exists in the adult world. We must demonstrate to children, through diverse aids and activities, how relations of mutual consideration, tolerance, and mutual understanding will drastically improve their lives and ours, just as the balanced and harmonious relations in nature have facilitated the existence of life and the survival of our species until now.
Moreover, as the founders of behavioral and social psychologies have demonstrated, and as contemporary studies in social science indicate, the decisive element in shaping the personality and behavior of a human being is one’s social surroundings. And because the younger generation spends the lion’s share of their time on the Internet, it is necessary to create for them a positive platform that will offer an alternative to the individualistic, narcissistic values currently promoted on the Internet.
From our experience working with groups of children the world over, we see convincing
evidence that the online medium can and does provide a full and satisfying social environment, bridging cultural, ethnic, religious, sexual, and racial differences, and enabling all members of society to achieve complete integration and mutual support.
We are certain that by familiarizing children with the complexities of life in the global world through games, video clips, discussions, and straightforward interactions, we can result in a global, historic change and, if we succeed in rearing one generation in this way, we will have thus begun a correction benefiting each future generation.
Practical Steps (as presented to Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, in a meeting held on February second 2011):
- As a first step, we are offering to hold a special conference of UNESCO titled, “Virtual Education for Globalism”, to which the most prominent figures in education from around the world will be invited to discuss practical measures to adapt our education to better facilitate life in an integral and global reality. The conference would be broadcast live from the UNESCO site, as well as on the site of Ashlag Research Institute (ARI), where it will be simultaneously disseminated in seven languages. Following this conference, UNESCO would publish a book incorporating select lectures from the conference that will be sent to all relevant governmental and private education organizations worldwide, as well as to potential donors. We have proven experience and the infrastructure to carry out all of these ideas.
- While working on the conference, we are offering to begin a joint project for establishing a web portal on complementary education under the auspices of UNESCO, the primary purpose of which would be to educate for globalism.
- As part of this virtual project, UNESCO would establish an international education center, devoid of political and/or economic interests, to bring together the best minds in natural and social sciences from all over the world. These experts would develop information avenues to explain about the new world we are in today. They would collaborate with computer engineers to find innovative ways to convey this vital information to children (the appendix to this document contains an initial outline for such a project).
- While building the site, we would prepare textbooks for teaching a new field of studies that UNESCO would offer to departments of education worldwide —Global Humanity Studies. These textbooks would provide schools and teachers with methods and teaching tools to enable them to utilize the site to its fullest potential.
The way we see it, UNESCO can lead the establishment of the information system the world now needs. By doing so, UNESCO will not only prove its commitment to the well-being of humanity in general and children in particular, but it will also lead humanity toward the goal of a better, more enlightened world for all.