On The Global Strategic Goals Of Modern Education

Abstract

The article reveals the author’s position on the goals of education in the context of the development of a dialogue of cultures and global crises of our time. While considering the problems of European multiculturalism, the conclusion is made: what is good for one culture can be unacceptable and even destructive for another. In the context of considering global crises and possible comprehensive disasters, the emphasis is on the fact that the world’s population is now facing an increasingly acute problem of survival, forcing people to seriously rethink some of the priorities and values that are established in a civilized society. It is noted that the difference between the communist and capitalist ways of social development, which had been at war in the XX century, consists only in the economic and political mechanisms that determine the movement towards the same goal: satisfying the constantly growing consumer demands of the population. The author poses the question: “Is this goal true?” The article provides a rationale and a conclusion that the global strategic goal of modern education is to rid people of consumer psychology that has been formed over the centuries. People need to pay close attention to the moral side of their being and finally recognize the priority of spiritual values over material values.

Keywords: Problems of educationgoals of educationdialogue of cultures

Introduction

The problem formulated in the title of this article is very large-scale and interdisciplinary in nature. Its consideration involves the implementation of a serious and deep dialectical analysis of global, diverse and, at the same time, interdependent processes taking place not only in education, but also in other spheres of life. Recognizing that despite numerous interdisciplinary and substantive anthropological research works, both human being and the meaning of human’s existence on Earth to this day remains an open and unsolved question, we can state that everything related to human education is quite reasonable to consider as an open question, to which there is no single answer, and thus there are no unambiguous, universally recognized and accepted definitions, concepts, theories or models. Based on the foregoing, as well as the essential specificity of the stated topic, the author of the article will not strive to give a ready answer or to impose his own point of view, which he considers to be the only true one. In a given perspective, it would look overly presumptuous and not very smart. The materials presented will only give individual subjective judgments about the problem of dialogue of cultures, contemporary challenges to humanity in the form of global crises, and their relationship and influence on the strategic goals of education.

Problem Statement

As you know, contemporary humanities researchers pay special attention to the cultural mission of education focused on the formation of a “cultured person” that meets the standards of development of society in all forms of its existence: activity, consciousness, social interaction, behavior (Shamova, Davydenko, & Shibanova, 2007). However, in conditions of growing globalization, the cultures of other civilizations as well as the planetary problems of the inhabitants of the Earth as a whole have an ever more noticeable influence on the lives of nations, countries, and definite persons. All this affects the sphere of education, prompting it to respond in the form of adjusting its strategic goals. These goals should take into account the new situation and be oriented towards the solution of not only local but also many existing global challenges of today;

Research Questions

What is a modern dialogue between the cultures of the West and Russia?

What is the first global goal of the present-day education?

What is the essence of modern global crises?

What is the essence of the contemporary education crisis?

What is the second global goal of the present-day education?

Purpose of the Study

The study aims at revealing of cultural dialogue problem within the context of West and Russia relations, global crises defining, and, consequently, reasoning of modern education global strategic goals.

Research Methods

The methods used to solve research problems are determined by the interdisciplinary specificity of the ongoing research and include:

  • a systematic and differentiated categorical analysis, which allows one to ascertain the essence of the concept of “dialogue of cultures” and to present its specific content with a pedagogical dimension;

  • historical-reflexive analysis as a synthesis and subject-based pedagogical interpretation of information contained in diverse sources, which allows revealing the objective prerequisites for the emergence, forming patterns and prospects of the development of global crises and education crises;

  • the method of induction, which makes it possible after analysing specific facts to pass from particular considerations to the general scientific and pedagogical conclusion in the context of the study.

Findings

At present scholars note that in the context of globalization there is a convergence of the “Eastern and Western styles of thinking, image and discourse, actions and contemplation, human beings and nature.” However, this process cannot be considered balanced and equal. An analysis of the events occurring in Europe and in the world in the last centuries and decades shows that the dominant value and cultural priorities are those of the Western countries. The formed way of life and thinking has a noticeable influence on other civilizations and countries, including Russia, actively circulating in the public mind and education. (Ivanov & Gavrikov, 2018).

Meanwhile, social, cultural, anthropological, psychological, and some other studies, as well as history and events of the last years show that what is good and acceptable for one culture cannot be good and can be even destructive for another. It means that the Western values, that now on a global scale are moving upfront as universal, can cause if not total, but at least partial rejection in other nations, and there are plenty examples of it.

A good figurative illustration is the well-known fable about Elephant and Giraffe. Considering his own characteristics, needs and ideas, Giraffe built for himself a comfortable and cozy house with high ceilings, doors, etc. and invited Elephant. With joy Elephant accepted the invitation, however, coming to the externally beautiful house of the neighbor, he could go only as far as a threshhold, since only his head could go inside the door. Then Giraff advised Elephant to lose weight, attend fitness centre during the day and a ballet school in the evening. Saddened, Elephant reluctantly agreed with the advice of a neighbor, plus he also kept a diet, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not enter the house of Giraff. In the end, after many unsuccessful tries, he realized that the house planned by the architects for Giraffe would never be suitable for Elephant (Pevzner & Petrjakov, 2016).

Using the symbols of fable in the context of the topic of the article, we conclude that one should not look at people, cultures and social mechanisms as corresponding to some norm invented by someone. We live in the world of diversity where both “normal” and “other” form a single whole.

In this regard, speaking of a permanently developing dialogue of cultures between different countries and peoples, it must be remembered that, essentially, there should not be imposing and unconditional acceptance of the experience and values of others, but equal communication and mutual enrichment. It should be borne in mind that any nation, even with the strong outside pressure or a radical departure from its own historical and cultural roots to a different ideology and lifestyle by the will of its newly-minted leaders, will always strive for self-preservation, self-regulating of emerging changes through deculturation and acculturation of artificially and naturally brought-in ideas and experiences. However, in the case of a tough situation, there is a lot of disruption and in this process there could be failures, due to which distorted layers of culture appear causing uncertainty and instability in the society.

The above is related to the situation in post-Soviet Russia and to other countries from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. One can speak about common cultural identity of all the Europeans, in particular, only in regards to their further historical development. The leading role in this process will be reserved for education, through which the growing generation must have the basic access to different socio-cultural images and meanings, their tolerant perception and understanding. This is the first of the global strategic goals of present-day education , without which it is impossible for people to unite and jointly solve the urgent problems of mankind, that pose a real threat to life on the Earth.

In the current century, the people of our planet, including Europe, in addition to the crisis of multiculturalism and periodically occurring economic crises, will have to face other serious global manifestations (Birdzenyuk, 2018). Both scientists and politicians single out the following among them:

– an impending energy crisis , which, on the one hand, prompts scientists from different countries to actively search for alternative energy sources, and, on the other hand, creates a situation that can provoke another struggle of the leading powers for the redivision of the world, which, in the presence of large volumes of weapons of mass destruction, carries a real threat of destruction to life on the Earth;

– rapidly growing environmental crisis characterized by depletion of natural resources, pollution of water and the atmosphere, destruction of the ozone layer, a gradual change in the climate due to the fact that there is a lessening of water supply, etc. that also threatens the humanity existence (Kukushkina, Yolkin, & Ivanov, 2019).

Along with the named global crises, certain countries from time to time encounter problems determined by the specific economic, political and sociocultural situation. So, at the end of the XXth century in Russia, there was a large-scale crisis that encompassed all spheres of life, including, among other things, education. Under these conditions, there was a massive outflow of teaching staff from the educational institutions of different levels, and, simultaneoulsy, due to the emergence of new ideological ideas, an old system of education collapsed. The sphere of vocational education demonstrated its unreadiness for the situation when many young and already established professionals would become not wanted in the emerging new labor market and would have to start looking for opportunities to learn other professions. Many managers demonstrated the lack of managerial skills, they were unable to make correct decisions in the changing social and economic situation due to the shortage of knowledge, skills, and personal qualities.

Present-day education both in Russia and in the world face serious problems at content and organizational-methodological levels. In the current conditions, the familiar “knowledge” educational paradigm shows its failure more and more. The enlightening model of the world that has been formed over time and pansofic school connected with it has gradually become obsolete, i.e. they no longer correspond to new realities. It is primarily due to a different understanding of the human activity nature which gradually becomes the main way of self-realization of a person in the process of personally motivated creative work (Afanasyeva, Bezrogov, Logvinova, Tyunnikov, Shukaeva, & Yurchenko, 2019).

In a generalized form, the essence of the crisis of the present-day education could be expressed with a critical statement that the current mass school is torn away from real life. This thesis, by identifying and analyzing the existing contradictions, was very well and clearly revealed by A.A. Pinskiy. In particular, he notes the following. Life requires from a person the ability to independently search and creatively use the information received - the school presents it in a ready-made form, you should just remember and act in the same way. Life requires the ability to understand people, engage in a dialogue, work in a team, whereas at school, like on a bus, people sit looking at the back of another person, silently burying themselves in a notebook, textbook or smartphone. In a democratic society, it is important for a person to know and be able to defend the rights by acquiring the necessary skills of legal consciousness, while the traditional system of internal “legal” school life is built according to the feudal model of “getting incentives from a superior senior’ ”(director, teacher, tutor, etc.). In democracies, the individuality and the “peculiarity” of each person are increasingly valued - a mass school, as before, teaches everyone everything frontally and in the similar way, almost without taking into account the differences of interests and inclinations. More and more often people talk about the value of health – a traditional school, however, not only does nothing to contribute to the health of schoolchildren, but only makes a significant contribution to its deterioration (Pinskiy, 2002).

Thus, based on the foregoing, it can be stated that global crises, along with local crisis phenomena in some countries, entail the crisis state of a modern human being, who, having faced a comprehensive problem: “How to live further in order to survive?”, is forced to rethink some of the past life experiences and values.

If you look back at the evolution of humanity and think about why people have not died out yet like dinosaurs, then the answer might well be the following: Homo Sapiens phylogenesis has such a long history, first of all because during the difficult periods with a real threat of the disappearance of people as a species, human beings united and made a conscious radical restructuring of their evolutionary process, which ultimately allowed them to survive and to continue their earthly existence and development.

Looking back at the distant past, you can see at least two such restructurings. Both of them are connected with the crises of the external conditions of being, which at that moment really could result in the complete disappearance of the ancestors of the modern man.

The first restructuring took place during the Paleolithic era, when ancient people were able to formulate their own decisions and the rules of common life, following them saved their lives.

The second restructuring is connected with the Neolithic era, when people in order to survive radically changed their life style and the conditions of their life, making an important transition from gathering to farming, and started creating their own cultural environment.

Both the first and the second restructurings “were possible only because people consciously changed their way of life and themselves on the basis of jointly accepted and generally recognized values and taboos, that is, they developed as creatures of morality and spiritual knowledge” (Maksakova, 2004, p. 40).

Nowadays, scientists and some politicians express the opinion that humanity is on the eve of yet another restructuring of its evolutionary process, since the problem of the extinction of people, even if only because of the above-mentioned global crisises, is becoming very urgent. And for this third restructuring, we will be given not millennia, like for the first two restructurings, but, in the best case, hundreds of years and even decades.

Now comes, probably, a paradox. As it is well known, in the XXth century the whole world witnessed a tough confrontation between capitalist and communist ideologies, which were perceived at both household level and in the public mind as non-reconciled antipodes. However, if you look at these ideologies from the standpoint of their ultimate goals to which they led the nations, then you can easily notice that they are not that much different from each other. Thus, the ideology of communism for over seventy years, although to no avail, led the representatives of the socialist camp with the Soviet Union at the head, to a society which required “from everyone according to one’s abilities” and promised to give “to everyone according to one’s needs.” As for the capitalist ideology, it has brought the developed capitalist economies to the postindustrial society which is also called “the consumerism society”. In other words, the distinction between the capitalist and communist ways of of development is manifested, in the global sense, only in the specificity of economic and political mechanisms used for achieving, in fact, one and the same goal: to fully satisfy the ever-growing consuming desires of people.

Thus, we can state that seemingly irreconcilable political ideologies have a similar goal. But here quite a reasonable question arises: “Is this goal true? “Is that the correct way that we follow, and where will we be at the end of the road?”

The word “we” here means not so much the present one but the future generations, which, with such a development of events, will probably have to deal with more complex global problems than we are now.

Therefore, in order to look with hope into the future, to a new saving restructuring that can correct the evolutionary process of the development of mankind, it is necessary to prepare and start today. The essence of such a restructuring is seen in the following. People, closely confronted with the challenges in the form of the aforementioned global crises threatening the destruction of life on Earth, must understand the objective need for change and consciously change themselves by ridding of the consumer psychology that has been implanted in their minds for many years. The time has come for us to acknowledge the spiritual values priorities over the material values and to take into account the moral aspects of existence (Kuznetsov, 2017). Education should take the most active stand in this process, its social and even civilizational and enlightening role will be getting more importance in the present-day world. This is the mission and one more global strategic goal of education nowadays .

Conclusion

The changes in the life of peoples in Russia and abroad in recent decades have led to an understanding of the need to create a strategy for updating and further developing the education system by abandoning its previous guidelines and moving from “knowledge-centrism” to “human-centrism”, that is, to such a goal setting which is focused on the priority development of the personality of every student, taking into account personal interests, inclinations and requests (Bebenina, Elkina, & Naydenova, 2019).

Traditionally, for many years, the goal and planned result of school education has been subject knowledge, interdisciplinary and general scientific knowledge, and skills. Nowadays, the understanding has come that this is not enough. However, in the mass school, there are almost no visible changes. Moreover, from the knowledge-skills type, as it was before, the school is moving to just knowledge type school because of the increase in the amount of information that must be acquired by a growing person over the years of study and the reduction in time for building and developing skills. This state of affairs, of course, is even more exacerbating the critical situation in which the present-day education exists.

In its most general form, the essence of this crisis can be formulated as follows: life requires one thing - the school teaches another.

Here comes a fair and particularly relevant question: “What to teach?” UNESCO has proposed moving to the concept of human competence, which has recently been actively developed in various countries, including Russia. According to a number of Russian scientists, the competency-based approach focuses on the process and the result of education, and the result is not the amount of learned information, but the person’s ability to successfully act in problem situations. And therefore, in school education, it is necessary to more actively make the transition from memorizing a large amount of information to the development of new types of activity - creative, design, research activities, which, according to program documents adopted in Russia and a number of other states, will ultimately help in solving current economic problems and the achievement of material well-being and prosperity in the future.

Thus, if we turn to what was mentioned at the beginning of this article, we can state that modern society still has not fully realized the extent of the threats that are increasingly hanging over humanity, and still directs education to the solution, first of all, of applied (economic, material) and not global problems, the solution of which is possible only with the help of a radical restructuring of consciousness and the revival of spiritual and moral foundations, which are fading into the background today.

If you look to the future in line with the competency-based approach, then the basic competencies mastered by a growing person should be focused, first of all, on a tolerant attitude to other cultures and peoples, the formation of a planetary environmental consciousness and recognition of the priority of spiritual needs over material needs.

Acknowledgments

The study was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research in the framework of scientific project No. 18-413-530001.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

26.08.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.02.1

Online ISSN

2357-1330