THE CONTENT OF EDUCATION IN A GLOBAL CIVILIZATION
2nd International Roundtable
November 29-December 6, 1999
About the Roundtable
The purpose of this Roundtable is to begin a process of discovery of a new paradigm in education taking into account a common vision of the human potential. Education for the 21st century needs to be different than the predominant 19th-century model of education that we have become so accustomed to globally-a model whose basic premise has been fundamentally material in its division of children by age and career streams to prepare for the rapidly industrializing Europe.
Although educational methods have improved since the 19th century, and educators have applied these improvements in alternative and mainstream education everywhere, these innovations and improvements have been confined mostly to the "how" and not the "why" and "what" of education. Education at the core has remained mostly material, with its original goals intact.
Improvements have focused mostly on learning and teaching methods (the "how") but not as much on what the content of education should be. In other words, we should be asking what should be taught in the first place and what kind of human being education should inspire.
As many educators are finding, existing character education programs are not a sufficient response. Innovations also have been largely insufficient for fostering a new paradigm of education for the 21st century.
This mismatch between considering all aspects of human development and addressing society's material needs only has been responsible for much of the agony felt by the youth today who are less sure of themselves, less able to meet life's challenges and less able to find meaning in life. The results are evident: statistics show increased crime and psychological disorders among youth and children of younger and younger ages in significant numbers globally.
As families are increasingly unable to focus their full attention on children, it has become even more important that education in the schools be viewed more broadly as a system to develop the whole child. Needed, therefore, is a reexamination of the premise on which current education is based and to start a process of redefining education's content in view of the needs of our era.
This continuing discussion of an progress towards a quality education will require frequent collaboration and communication among teachers, parents, academics, researchers, students, policy makers, and donors. To facilitate such connections and to advance current thinking on the content of education, the International Roundtable will address the challenges of education and practical measures that need to be taken to meet the needs of the next millennium.
The conference will focus on four critical building blocks of a child's complete education as promoted by the Council for Global Education: Universal Values, Global Understanding, Excellence in All Things, and Service to Humanity.
Specifically, we believe this Roundtable will be a forum for discussion and a vehicle for the following:
- Initiating an ongoing dialogue and learning process
- Discussing how education may be remolded
- Discovering universally shared principles in education
- Determining what curriculum development and other specific measures may be needed
- Preparing an agenda for action and implementation at the worldwide level
- Supporting institutions and facilitating networks
Format for Discussion
Following an initial brainstorming session in which participants will discuss the tentative program and any changes or additions, guest speakers will present a series of one-hour panel discussions on pertinent topics. Special topic panels will be convened throughout the event or as new participants wish to share work for which there is widespread interest.
The major part of the Roundtable will be smaller roundtables on key "streams" or topics (for example, see the nine topics discussed last year). These open-format sessions will be the core of the event and where most of the creative work will take place. Each individual may participate in a number of roundtables and may suggest new roundtables according to his or her interest.
Each stream will have 3 coordinators who will be responsible for documenting the findings and steering the discussions within their roundtable. All participants in each stream will be considered co-authors of the topic under consideration and will work together with other contributing authors worldwide. The Council for Global Education will be the repository of these jointly prepared documents. Among others, these findings will be shared with the members of CGE and Panel 2005.