There are many books that are referred to as dangerous, but this is actually seldom the case. I believe that the most dangerous book is "Our Final Century" by the British astrophysicist and cosmologist Sir Martin Rees, professor at the University of Cambridge and the Britain's Astronomer Royal. In this book, published in 2004, Rees stated that humankind stands a 50% chance of surviving the 21st century. This is neither a Sci-Fi book, nor unfounded statements of an irresponsible person, but science-based predictions provided by one of the most distinguished living scientists concerning the risks we are currently faced with. The list of the things that are likely to destroy human race is so long that it is beyond the scope of this essay. While reading the book, readers can only wonder whether we have managed to survive to see 2018 by sheer stroke of luck.pogled u budućnost - boris jokić Zašto škole neće imati ni zgrade ni školska zvona
Rees very directly points out that humans are the biggest threat to humanity, confirming it with the fact that in the 20th century we managed to manufacture weapons that can destroy us. Moreover, during the same century, perhaps more than ever before, we showed continuous yearning and need for conflict, war, killing and destruction. That was a century in which we showed the highest level of inhumanity through mass killings committed in the name of ideologies or a specific race, nation, religion or sexual orientation. In the 21st century, terrorism, nuclear mega-terrorism, wars in which new lethal weapons are used, mass and household production of nuclear bombs of different destructive power, lethal viruses and other forms of bioterrorism, cyberterrorism, all types of human errors, primarily those made by scientists, asteroids, volcanic super eruptions, global warming, negatively-oriented forms of artificial intelligence, population risks and greenhouse gasses, among others, stand identical and simultaneous chances for the destruction of humankind… This includes a wide range of possible doomsday scenarios even for planets larger than the Earth. A 50% chance does not appear as particularly attractive.
Nevertheless, along with the destruction, aggression and devastation, there is also something considerably more powerful to human race and here I am referring to the ability of rational and ethical thinking, empathy, creation, innovation and the ability to adapt. It is primarily due to the previously mentioned characteristics that we are currently able to live a better and longer life than ever before. Notwithstanding the fact that it has been insufficiently pointed out, it is primarily as a result of education in a wide range of its different forms that humankind has been able to progress and live the life the way we currently do. As opposed to Rees's dystopian vision of the future and his clearly expressed doubt in the ability of human species to survive the next 100 years, there is another vision, according to which huge opportunities for improvement of reality are presented. It is primarily through changes in education that human species could be able to not only survive the 21st century, but also gain a new positive perspective in the Third Millennium. Behind this optimistic stance, there is a thorny path that needs to be taken by education throughout the world and primarily in Croatia in the next fifty years.
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We are taught by everyday life that it is very difficult to make even short-term predictions of social processes due to their extreme complexity. It is more challenging to make predictions of social changes in the next fifty years than to make predictions concerning the progress of science and technology and their likely positive and negative effects on human existence. Education is perhaps the most complex among all the social sub systems, especially if one considers it as a lifelong combination of formal, non-formal and informal education. Education is, directly or indirectly, strongly affected by features from very different environments, ranging from personality traits, the impact of family, to those at the local community level and the largest-scale political and economic developments. History of education shows that changes at each of these levels have clearly affected the development of education. In order to gain a clear perspective of the opportunities for change in education, it is important to highlight that it is simultaneously also a sub-system that has perhaps undergone minimum changes over time. This primarily applies to Croatia. Our formal education in 2018 shows no significant differences compared with that in 1968, while a visit paid to the Croatian School Museum will reveal huge similarities also with 1918. Inertia and resistance to change are not characteristics of all the systems throughout the world. Some societies continuously and very actively adapt their educational systems to social and economic changes, as well as to scientific and technological progress. These are societies striving to predict progress in time and provide new development framework of human potential. In the forthcoming fifty years, education will change depending on the changes at each of the previously mentioned levels – at the individual level, as well as at that of family, community, politics and economy. The requirement to adapt and develop this sub-system will be higher than ever before in human history. Simultaneously, both the potential and the importance of education will almost certainly increase. Before a presentation of what education will be like in 2068, one needs to present specific features that determine its framework.
SOCIO-POLITICAL FRAMEWORK – the world of zones and regimes
In 2068, the world will be multipolar – divided into several zones of different social structure. Some zones will be governed by democratic regimes and some by autocratic. In most zones, the regimes will combine specific characteristics of democratic and autocratic regimes. Only several societies will be nationally defined, some will still be integrated into the existing supranational unions such as the European Union with a defined national identity, while some zones will be controlled by a single authority with zone identity, without national references. The highest proportion of population will be living in megalopolises. Living conditions will show significant differences in different zones and regimes. Policies, and hence education policies, will be a combination of those expressed both at the highest level (zone, supranational associations) and the local level (cities and regions). In time, the impact exerted by the local community is expected to increase.
FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL STRATIFICATION IS BASED ON KNOWLEDGE – knowledge-poor and knowledge-rich societies
Zonal world in 2068 will be characterised by a substantially higher level of inequality compared with the today's world – inequality will increase among the zones, as well as among societies in a specific zone and among individuals within a specific society. In fifty years' time, education will be among the crucial sources of inequality among societies. Against the backdrop of technological and informational development, towards the end of the 20th century and at the beginning of the 21st century, societies saw a vigorous stratification into "knowledge-rich societies" and "knowledge-poor societies". "Knowledge-rich societies" are characterised by the focus on knowledge creation, systematic problem solving skills, as well as rational decision-making for the benefit of the majority, openness and attracting individuals from throughout the world, promotion of critical thinking skills, ability to co-operate, truthful communication, developmental orientation and use of different forms of technology (biotechnology, cyber technology, robotics, artificial intelligence) and using them for positive purposes, as well as the focus on learning and risk taking and active work on cohesion among people. "Knowledge-poor societies" are capable of neither competing nor co-operating with "knowledge-rich societies" and hence they rapidly and irreversibly lag behind them. This lagging behind affects all aspects of life of individuals, from family, work, leisure and healthcare. At the point when it started occurring, social stratification was not that obvious because, upon vigorous development of information and communication technologies, information became available to the highest proportion of world population. The previously mentioned information availability to a proportion of the population made the impression of knowledge availability. In some societies, the "elites" used the previously mentioned impression for different types of manipulation and suppression of critical thinking and development of the potential of children and youth.
As soon as 2030, these two types of society will be clearly identified throughout the world. In 2068, "knowledge-rich societies" will be actively participating in exploration missions in search for different resources to be used to increase inequality. The most successful are those "knowledge-rich" societies that manage to reduce education and knowledge-related differences within their borders and in which the objective of education as a sub-system is primarily to decrease the differences. All the democratic regimes are "knowledge-rich societies" and even some "autocratic" and "mixed" regimes may include some of their features. Democratic "knowledge-rich societies", in addition to all the previously mentioned characteristics, also include plurality of political and religious expression.
SECURITY, PRIVACY, FREEDOM – crucial doubts in 2068
The issues concerning the relationship between security, privacy and freedom, which are currently differently affecting the 21st century, will be considered as the main determinants of different regimes. Moreover, they will directly affect education. In democratic regimes, the issue of freedom will be considered as the basic social imperative. Against the backdrop of large-scale threats of destruction, the issue of freedom will be continuously "jeopardised" by insisting on the issue of security. Autocratic regimes are clearly defined by the security issue. Hence, over time they will become highly skilled in creating security threats, while striving to incite continuous fear in the general public, which is primarily intended as a method of control. Starting from 2020, the privacy issue will become the crucial ethical issue throughout the regimes, while people's privacy stance will change completely. Space for privacy will shrink substantially, and privacy will continue pursuing its path of extreme monetising. The issues of security, freedom and privacy will be clearly reflected in education. Democratic "knowledge-rich societies" will include an interior tension between the issue of freedom and privacy.
WORLD OF LABOUR – significant changes, yet minor impact of automation, robotisation and artificial intelligence in terms of the need for human labour in education
Capitalism will still be dominant at the global level, yet in time, functional alternatives will appear in different forms of democratic socialism and revitalisation of communism. In 2068, the world of labour will show radical differences compared with what is currently the case. Irrespective of the fact that the 2020's will be passing by in intense fear of negative effects of automation, robotisation and artificial intelligence on the demand for human labour, time will prove these fears to have been exaggerated, because the use of technology will also create additional need for human labour and new job profiles. The pivotal role in adapting to change in the world of labour will be played by different forms of education. Against the backdrop of robotisation and automation, changes in the world of labour will not significantly affect the need for human labour in formal education system, notwithstanding the nature of the regime. Most formal education will still be linked with human relationships in the triangle formed by a child, educational worker and parent. Through the transfer of value and specific features of indoctrination, humans will prove superior in relation to different forms of artificial intelligence.
FAMILY – new forms of family unions and a greater importance of family
Irrespective of the fact that from the perspective of 2018 it does not appear likely, the impact of the family will increase over decades. This is primarily because regimes (especially those autocratic) will be insisting on full abolition of privacy. The family will be among few privacy havens. 2068 will see different forms of family, while their effect on education of children will show extreme differences with regard to regimes.
INDIVIDUALS – extended lifespan, genetic modifications, microchips and the effects of medications
Average life expectancy will increase. World population growth is expected to reach its peak in 2050 and then population will start declining. In 2068, the territory of the Republic of Croatia will see around 3,500,000 inhabitants. Medical breakthroughs will extend women's fertility in terms of age. Definitions of childhood and youth will change and move towards a higher age range. At individual level, there will be an increasing impact of taking different medications, primarily those linked with psychological functioning. Genetic modifications and embedding microchips will be widely available. The issue of tagging babies with microchip implants, as well as companies embedding microchips in their employees, will be among the crucial ethical issues of civilisation. Some societies will forbid these procedures, primarily the procedures intended to change the personality.
EDUCATION IN 2068
Notwithstanding the nature of the regimes and the designation of "knowledge-rich" and "knowledge-poor" regimes, in 2068, education in a wider sense will assume a more important role. Education systems in democratic "knowledge-rich" societies will be the most advanced and hence development projections of some elements of education systems in 2068 will be presented through their prism.
SYSTEM STRUCTURE – extended and more flexible education
The trend to extend formal education will continue in the 21st century. Throughout the regimes, average learning time will be extended, which primarily applies to democratic "knowledge-rich societies". Formal education will be prescribed by law for all children starting from the age of 6 months, and they will be fully encompassed. Elementary education will last several years longer than it is currently the case, while secondary education will include different hybrid and mixed models with significant and long-term sojourns in different places outside the classroom, including different workplaces. Higher education will become compulsory in democratic "knowledge-rich societies" starting from 2040, while, in fifty years' time, this will be the case in almost all the zones of the world.
Democratic regimes will see a radical change in formal education towards considerably more flexible patterns in which different forms of formal, non-formal and informal education will be combined. In such societies, the value of formal qualification will decrease. In autocratic regimes, the importance of formal education will increase compared with 2018. Average school leaving age will be raised to reach the age of 28 and, in addition, young people will at this age have significant practical experience. WHAT IS TAUGHT AND TUTORED – subject-based education abolished
The regimes will significantly differ in terms of the notion of development of children and youth and growing up. In democratic regimes, early and pre-school education will be based on holistic notion of a child and their different potential focusing on play, which provides a complex environment considered as the most propitious for child development. This setting will be considered as one of the comparative advantages of democratic regimes compared with autocratic regimes. Starting from the earliest age, autocratic regimes will be pointing out the importance of highly structured and atomised activities. In 2068, in democratic regimes schools will no longer have subjects. They will be eliminated in the 2030's as an ineffective and inadequate pattern of development of new generations of children and young people. In such regimes, subject-based education proved insufficiently motivating for young people already at the beginning of the century. Consequently, loss of relevance and interest ensued and formal education was abandoned among a considerable proportion of population. They will hence resort to different alternative forms of education such as home schooling and private tutoring. Such schools will be focused on problem-based and project-based learning in broader thematic units with a specific emphasis on experience-based learning. Transition from subject-based education to these new types of learning and tutoring will present a huge challenge for most democratic societies and it will have to be addressed especially during the period from 2020 to 2035. Moreover, this period will also see strong resistance to such new types of education. Resistance will not be offered by educational workers, pupils or parents, but it will primarily arise in the higher education community. The principal reason for disapproval will be aversion to a different notion of academic disciplines. Nevertheless, against the backdrop of scientific development and transition towards interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity, also this population segment will make a radical move towards such new forms of education. Secondary and higher education will show a greater share of elective courses, longer work on projects and extreme flexibility linked with learning environment. In democratic regimes of "knowledge-rich societies“, a proportion of higher education will be of one-on-one mentoring type over an extended period based on traditional models of the most prestigious universities in the world. After the completion of compulsory higher education, there will be many additional and highly specific forms of education. At the beginning of the 2020's, school period-based system and defined blocks of time allocated for lessons will be completely abandoned. School bells will be abolished. School organisation is considerably more flexible and determined by autonomous professional decisions made by educational workers. Formal education will be transferred from the school building into a wide range of environments in order to emphasise the importance of experience-based learning and relevance of education. In secondary vocational education, that means a clearer connection with the world of labour. Only some societies will be capable of implementing this transformation of the structure of education system and they will simultaneously also be among the most successful ones. Autocratic regimes will continue strongly adhering to subject-based education structure.
GENERIC COMPETENCES – the success of the cognitive and a wish to control emotions and personality
Competence frameworks focused on development of generic knowledge, skills and attitudes, established at the beginning of the 21st century, will prove extremely successful. Education systems focused on development of problem-solving skills, as well as decision-making, critical thinking, creativity, innovation and learning how to learn will gain a significant advantage as soon as the 2020's in relation to those adhering to content-based learning. It is important to highlight the importance of the focus of the system on the development of co-operation and communication as basic forms of work in the 21st century. While these systems are successful in specific segments of cognitive development of children and youth, they are considerably less successful in terms of development of personal and social knowledge, skills and attitudes. In 2068, in democratic "knowledge-rich societies" a significant proportion of education will be focused on "control" of emotions and personality. From the earliest age schools will provide learning areas referred to as "Happiness", "Hope", "Love", "Comfort", "Perseverance and Endurance"…When they first appear in the 2020’s, these areas will be strongly supported by the population in democratic regimes. 2068 will see a strong rebellion against such content, as it will be used to reduce human freedom of expression and it will extremely affect a person’s privacy. In addition to evaluation issues, control of emotions and personality will be considered as a violation of fundamental principles of democratic "knowledge-rich societies". Furthermore, new ample thematic areas will appear, such as issues of biological sustainability, combating contagion, space exploration, security and some areas will assume special significance, such as education for peace and civic education.
EDUCATIONAL WORKERS – between splendour and squalor
Following an increase in the importance of education, in democratic "knowledge-rich societies" teaching and school principal professions will rank among the most respected and highest-paying professions. This will be greatly affected by extremely demanding new forms of education, while this social and financial status will be achieved after years of unsuccessful attempts to attract the most competent individuals into these professions. Since the effects of education will prove to be instrumental for broader social and economic goals, salaries will skyrocket. The increase in status will result in changes in the gender structure of educational workers and the number of men opting for a career in education will rise. Automation, robotisation and artificial intelligence will not significantly affect the need for human labour in education, yet they will exert an indirect effect through increasing the pool of competent workers who have lost their job. In "knowledge-poor societies", educational workers will have low social and financial status and, in addition to the teaching job, they will have to do an extra income job, similar to the job performed by the current UBER drivers. In such societies, hardly anyone will be opting to make a living in education.
MONITORING AND GRADING – no grades with continuous monitoring and control
In 2068, the existing grading system will not be required in schools. Continuous monitoring and adaptive questioning of children and youth throughout their education will be largely applied. Monitoring and testing will result in a large quantity of personal data about every individual starting from the age of 6 months. The latter will cause differentiated instruction for different groups of individuals. This will initially be positively welcomed, since as soon as the 2020's it will become obvious that "one size fits all" approach to education cannot meet the aspirations of young people and their parents. Strong requirements for individualisation will additionally encourage all the regimes to collect increasing amounts of personal data. The regimes, including the democratic ones, will opt for differentiated instruction from the start of elementary education and a part of such solutions will be provided without parents' knowledge. This situation will significantly increase differences among people that will be difficult for them to understand. All the previously mentioned will cause a greater level of competitiveness in societies and it may lead to social conflicts.
BANNED SUBSTANCES AT SCHOOL – medications and implants for improvement of cognitive abilities
The development of the grading system and a rise in competitiveness will result in increased use and abuse of pharmacological substances in education. A proportion of parents and young people will be using medications and technological implants in order to increase both their cognitive and non-cognitive skills. The latter will present a risk for public health and will be strictly prohibited in democratic "knowledge-rich societies". The use of substances that cause changes in personality traits in young people will be extremely dangerous. Consequently, doping controls will be conducted in schools, like those at sports competitions.
THE STRENGTH OF EDUCATION IN THE STRUGGLE FOR "SURVIVAL"
In 2068, education in "knowledge-rich societies" will imply extended period of study, flexible organisation, interdisciplinary learning areas, problem-based and experience-based learning and tutoring, continuous monitoring and grading and a focus on generic knowledge, skills and attitudes. Such education will be top quality, since increased requirements of work performed by educational workers will clearly reflect on their high social and financial status. A strong focus on peace and promotion of scientific research and space exploration will result in obvious advantage of such societies. Just like all the other systems throughout human history, these systems will also be faced with a wide range of challenges, such as the issue of emotion and personality control, monitoring and evaluation, as well as how to preserve principles of meritocracy. Nevertheless, their focus on young people and openness will provide them with a significant advantage in relation to others and increase their chances to participate in prevention of the occurrence of things included in the extensive list that may jeopardise humankind.
THE POSITION OF CROATIA
Our path will be even thornier. From the perspective of 2068, primarily the years in which we are currently living will prove to have played a crucial role in our lagging behind in terms of education. As a society, we are missing the opportunity to take the path followed by "knowledge-rich societies" because we are not in the position to understand the requirement for a comprehensive transformation of education system and we do not have the strength to reach a social compact concerning the direction of development in the next thirty years. Different political options will be directly responsible for this lagging behind, which primarily applies to those that have prevented the implementation of planned changes and those that highlight the importance of the current minor changes, such as the introduction of tablet computers in classroom environment. In the 2020’s there will be one last chance for Croatia to move towards more positive development perspectives and, if Rees is right, also towards the survival. If we do not succeed in implementing actual changes even at that point, Croatia will become an autocratic "knowledge-poor society", which will represent a lag behind that will not be possible to overcome and compensate. The consequence of this lagging behind will be a society with an underdeveloped human potential and underpaid educational workers who need to do extra income jobs in order to make a living. Furthermore, it will be a society on the margins, which is normally emigrated from and exploited by other "knowledge-rich" societies. In Croatia, there is currently sufficient knowledge and skills in order to avoid such a scenario and, in my opinion, Croatia stands a 51% chance of avoiding to become an autocratic "knowledge-poor society".
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