The current state of youths reflects the reality of the 21st century. On the surface, youths today may appear superficial, indifferent, lost in a virtual realm of smartphones and tablets, but the truth of the matter is that they are far more developed than we are. It is a generation that lives and breathes in a connected, fast, and integral world where political borders do not exist, and where all are citizens of a global sphere.
If we “look” into their hearts, we will discover an entire generation that does not settle for following the safe route of college, career, children, but seeks to know “What for?” They wish to understand their role in the world and the type of connections they must establish to obtain happiness. This is why they are defiant toward the schooling systems we have built. It is not lifeless information that they need; they need education in the fullest sense of the word.
The educational agenda of the 21st century need not be force-feeding information into youths. Rather, it should be provision of social skills to help them overcome alienation and mistrust that abound in today’s society. To make the youth an active force in initiating social change, we must help them understand the laws of the new world. Even more important, we must help them see what they can do to use these laws to their favor.
In their unique way, youths are compelling us—the generation of the old world—to realize that the world has changed and that we must rethink our position in it.
The Solution: Get the Youth Involved
To lead the world out of its current crisis, we need to qualify a new generation of educators—aware of the laws of the new world and sense it in their very being. The foundation for this generation of educators is the youth. Moreover, the platform on which this new education system is to be built already exists—the Internet.
The Internet exists virtually everywhere. The net has already proven its ability to promote social and cultural ideas, and to motivate people into action. It derives its power from its openness, collectiveness, and interactivity, but primarily from the fact that on the Internet, every person truly counts.
The net allows every person in the world to become familiarized with any phenomenon and idea, and to affect the global change. While the Internet is still not completely omnipresent, it is an infrastructure that is far easier to set up than establishing countless high quality colleges.
As we have established an education-system that prepares our children for life in the old world, we must now build a virtual education-system, a sort of free online university that educates youths about the new relations we must establish in the global era, thus making them educators of the new generation.
As part of the training, youths will learn that the ego, i.e. the desire to enjoy at the other’s expense, is the primary cause of suffering in the world. They will also study the nature of integral systems in nature to understand why relations of mutual consideration and tolerance are the only sustainable solution for life in an interconnected world.
Each youth completing the training will receive a diploma from the UN and will be declared a “Global Educator,” qualified to train children in his or her own country from early childhood to adulthood.
Thus, without tuition, and even without having to leave one’s town or village, any youth will be able to learn the most vital profession in the 21st century—global education.
From our experience with youth-groups worldwide, we see that they are fascinated by the challenge in such a project. Moreover, the collaborative learning that the virtual medium enables creates a social learning environment that bridges all gaps—ethnic, cultural, religious, or racial—allowing every individual to become integrated and mutually complemented.
If we implement the experience gained by us and collaborate in establishing an online university that qualifies tomorrow’s educators, we will instigate a change of epic proportions. These educators and tutors will usher children into life’s complexities in an integral world through games, clips, discussions, and direct interaction. Thus, a new generation will grow: caring, considerate, empathic, and aware of the laws of life in the new world.
If we educate one generation, they will educate all generations henceforth.
UNESCO can lead the establishing of the virtual education-system the world needs today. By so doing, it will not only demonstrate its care for the well-being of humanity, but will lead humanity into a bright and glorious future.