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We have always lived in a world where we, as stereotypes, define education through a typical pen and paper based techniques. Pretty ironically, most of the lessons that we actually learn are a mere matter of experience from everyday encounters. Take for instance, a fry pan – an everyday utensil meant to cook the food. Some of us who are intrigued by the lesson of getting our hands burnt, stay away from it, while others just go deep into investigating stuff and perhaps end up becoming mechanics or chefs.
We encounter similar stuff as we go on living on with our lives. We indulge into monetary gains to such an extent that we are eventually oblivious of a good living that involves learning by doing throughout our lives.
Though the world has been pretty anticipative when it comes to the new e-learning methods, with universities such as MIT and Harvard introducing new courses online that are accessible online for those who wish to pursue their education, there are others who are not really receptive about the nature of online education. They criticize online education for lacking the “depth and feeling” that “real” education is meant to deliver.
For a working adult living in the 21st century, the whole idea of sticking on with the traditional mode of online education appears to be chimerical and impractical. In an environment where there’s a cut throat competition for excellence, the idea to manage work and academics in the same way as it used to be is grotesque.
As with everything else, education has to evolve. It has to move on; transit from a phase of physical desk and table to a modern online education is a process that allows continuous learning for professionals who perhaps don’t have sufficient time to attend an institution of their choice.
On the other hand, there has been sufficient development in the fields within the government sector, particularly within Middle East and Europe. There has been continuous offering of the e-book technology to the government sector, publishing houses, educational institutions and authors, allowing education to spread far and wide into the less literate sectors of the society. There are also sub websites for e-story authoring, an international site on the World Wide Web designed in Arabic and other languages aiming at enabling young innovators to produce e-stories utilizing more than 500 cartoon characters and thousands of backgrounds and images, in addition to being an open source for countless other additions.
Recently, Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, expressed his strong to the fundamental human right to education in his address to the 58 members of the Executive Council, the governing body responsible for overseeing the implementation of the program and budget of UNESCO, and stated that “We cannot leave behind generations of children and young people without skills suitable skills for the workplace, without knowledge to the information economy.” The Secretary General also expressed his strong support for the role of UNESCO to advance the sustainable development agenda and urged the Organization to bring together experts from all disciplines and regions to advise the UN.
Today, as we develop, it is imperative that we develop education in the light of the latest development in the field of education, allowing the humanity to ace with dignity and competence.
About the Author:
Estella Marvin, a Research Professor at Columbiana University and a historian of education. In addition, she is a resident senior fellow at the Royal Institution in Washington, D.C. She has written numerous articles and books, her more recent being The Era of Online Education.