Global Education

THIS REMARKABLE WRITING of Vijayadev Yogendra, “The Future Education”, reminded me of another striking book I read recently “The Global Brain”, by Peter Russell. In it the scientist shows how the growth and increasing complexity of the human species has brought about an evolutionary transformation similar to earlier ones in the history of life on this planet, namely the birth of new global organs of perception, warning, adaptation and decision. Thus, through a mushrooming network of communications – travel, exchanges, news, education, international institutions, conferences etc. – a global brain is being born to humanity.

I am witnessing this phenomenon in my work at the United Nations. Whenever I receive indications from various points of the globe that a number of people have the same concern or idea, I open a file because I know that these flickers of the global brain indicate a new trend which will become a major concern within a few years.

This has happened with the concept of global education. It appeared here and there sporadically until it became a subject of active discussion in a growing number of countries. Although I am not an educator, I was asked by the international educational review “The New Era” in London, to write down my views on global education. The essay “The Need for Global Education” found its way around the world in various languages, especially through UNESCO documents. Then later, I was asked by the same magazine to write down my response to the question: “What would you like to see taught to all children of the world if you were the World Education Minister?” So I wrote the World Core Curriculum which Vijayadev Yogendra kindly annexed to the present writing.

In his introduction, Vijayadev Yogendra says that he was touched to know that on the other side of the globe there were efforts being made on the need to change the education pattern of the world at large. I would like to say similarly that I am very happy that on the other side of the world from where I am, he is exerting his efforts and has written these remarkable thoughts on the future education. I am doubly happy, because he is an educational expert and I am not. The book speaks for itself. My copy of the manuscript is underlined enthusiastically and approvingly in many places, with a good number of comments in the margin. I have discussed it with several people and hope that it will be widely diffused in Australia and other countries.

The book reminds me also of former Secretary-General U Thant, a teacher and headmaster from Burma, with whom I worked closely during the last years of his life. When we discussed the future of the world, he used to say to me: “Robert, our generation will not be able to bring about peace, justice and happiness to this world. Only the new generation can do it. And the only way is through a new education”. This is why he gave his wholehearted support to the new International Schools, proposed a United Nations University of Peace in the only country on Earth which has prohibited arms and the military by constitution: Costa Rica. The International Institute for Nuclear Physics in Trieste, an educational institution of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, and the World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden, established by the UN World Maritime Organization, are two further examples of new world institutions of learning.

May the work and writings of Vijayadev Yogendra inspire the great country of Australia, a country of immigration and a staunch supporter of the United Nations, to make a bold contribution to the new field of global education. Nothing would be more welcome in this Year of Grace 1985, the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations, the International Youth Year and the eve of the next Millennium, which is only fifteen years away. In particular, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Javier Perez de Cuellar has expressed the hope “that 1985 will witness the beginning of a serious educative effort to foster world-wide information about the United Nations”.

May God bless Vijayadev Yogendra’s work and actively diffuse his writings through the many veins and arteries of humanity’s new global brain.