John Connell provides a tremendous window on education in the developing world through his new job as Cisco’s Education Business Development Manager for the Emerging Markets – covering South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia.
His most recent post about education in a global environment– which I read in an internet cafe in Paris – was both exciting and disturbing in equal measures – not because I didn’t agree with what he was saying but because I don’t think we are well prepared to meet the challenge he sets out.
John’s high-altitude perspective enables him to see how developing countries are committed to transforming their economic progress through an education system which will:
“shift the locus of control to the individual learner”.
John refers to emerging nations whose:
“upstart thinking that is increasingly questioning the model of education in which standardized curricula are delivered by those expert conduits of knowledge known as teachers.”
His last point which made an impact on me was:
“The aging countries of the West are top-heavy with people in their 40s, 50s and beyond (people such as me, for instance!) – the emerging nations, on the other hand, are full of impatient youngsters who know that life can offer more than their parents were ever able to enjoy. They have (or will soon have) the skills and the attitudes necessary to prise the economic torch from the hands of their ponderous neighbours. Some are already doing so.”
Over the next series of posts I’ll take up John’s challenge to actively explore how we might engage in – as opposed to spectate upon -such a change process.