The Challenges Ahead
The New Capacity Building Programme (WSWBQoLP) is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. The reason?
Possibly because this initiative spells hope. There is at last a way out, a realistic possibility to defuse the world ticking time bomb that threatens our civilisation and planet Earth.
There are however enormous obstacles. These are mainly political and educational not to mention the incredible inertia to change.
IMNRC-NewPOL Network HQ is based in a region of Flanders (Tervuren, Belgium)
that has witnessed (as for the rest of Europe) a rapid rise in Extreme Right (National Socialism)
that gangrenes the Flemish mentality and exacerbates the politico-linguistic apartheid and
ostracism in Flanders. These
political movements reject multicultural diversity, turning differences from
creative exchanges to destructive confrontations. Despite its multiple
breakthroughs and requests for funding, the IMNRC-NewPOL Network has not only
never received any support from the Flemish Government and Institutions but
everything is being done to crush it out of existence and prevent the New
Capacity Building Programme from succeeding. The IMNRC-NewPOL Network
needs international support to free itself from the Flemish Extreme Right
ugly claws in order to pursue its activities.
The challenges of real life are interdisciplinary and cannot be appropriately met with unidisciplinary tools. Despite the urgency and overwhelming evidence of the need to turn to Interdisciplinarity, unidisciplinarity is so hardwired to the mindset that interdisciplinarity - let alone integrated interdisciplinarity - is still far from even being understood in 2015! The problem is that unidisciplinarity is deeply rooted in the educational curriculum, formatting fragmented mindsets and contributing to creating a fragmented society. The whole existing educational system and vested interests in this area including the funding logic are based on an essentially unidisciplinary paradigm. Interdisciplinarity remains unwelcome, is not considered very seriously, and is looked upon with suspicion and disfavour in most quarters. Interdisciplinarity has yet to be converted to mainstream thinking.
This also explains why interfaces are so difficult to understand. Traditional education concentrates on the fragments in series. We integrate all the fragments - and what is between – together in parallel. True, there often is a "feeling" that everything is interconnected, but when it comes to devising a way of holistically processing this interconnectedness for useful applications, there is only helplessness: the mind balks at the very thought.
Most have been trained to break a challenge into fragments and then concentrate
on one fragment. This may facilitate a better understanding of that fragment but
at the same time it oversimplifies an understanding of the bigger picture.
latter means integrating the bubbles together and here, the present educational
system is quite powerless. In
fact, simplifying complexifies. The
best most can do today seems to be the creation of interdisciplinary bubbles
which is fragmentation in disguise.
I recently attended a
meeting at the European Commission on “Smart Specialisation”. I told the
panel and audience that the expression made me uncomfortable because to my mind
apart from being too abstract to awaken any interest and therefore catalyse any
significant interaction with the general population - we should find another
title - this is an oxymoron. Specialisation means creating a bubble. We are now
beginning to understand that bubble creation is not the end of the story and is
perhaps not that smart after all. Indeed, there is now a need to integrate all
the bubbles together. But this requires intelligence.
The expression “excellence” also makes me uncomfortable. With all the degrees that have been delivered worldwide, we could think that in this world of excellence it should be paradise... Talk of excellence to the ladies raped in Africa or to the families of the beheaded victims of extremism or to the homeless begging just outside the European Commission buildings in Brussels. So there is a need to look elsewhere. The problem is that you have unidisciplinary excellence bathing in a sea of integrated interdisciplinary incompetence. The impact of the former is limited by the latter. So there is a need to develop the citizens’ integrated interdisciplinary potential. This is exactly what we are doing in the New Capacity Building Programme (NCBP) that combines the Education of Tomorrow (bottom-up) with the Governance of Tomorrow (top-down). This is the kind of training that is needed today, going beyond accumulation to integration of data/knowledge.
Assimilation Programme (IAP) – a very advanced futuristic cognitive
neuroscience educational project enabling holistic integrated interdisciplinary
understanding – shall need new facilities with unlimited means. This is the
International Interface Research Center (IIRC) a futuristic educational and
research institute which shall be discussed during the International
Multidisciplinary Interface Research Congress (IMIRC). The ideas were sent to
the European Commission back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. A very pale copy of
the IIRC is the EIT which offers nothing new regarding integrated
interdisciplinary education and is therefore a complete waste of money. Full
support for the IIRC is needed. When shall come the day when a Nobel Prize in
Interfaces shall integrate all the other Nobel Prizes? When shall there be
just one “O” and “A” Level in Interfaces integrating all the others or a
Baccalauréat in Interfaces?
Had my advice and
solutions been taken into account more seriously by the majority (still very
conventional) and not just the minority of the Commissioners, officers and staff
in the European Institutions (who are more avant-garde and open-minded), the
IIRC would have already replaced the EIT, Horizon 2020 would have had a
formidable educational value and impact, the complexities of the European
Institutions would have been simplified and a new European governance would have
The Smart Specialisation
Strategy, Horizon 2020, many other programmes/thematics and the UN SDP are all integrated together in the
NCBP. So my obvious question and suggestion is: why not collaborate instead of
competing and working in parallel? Integration means efficiency, economy and
added value. Since there is a general consensus for the need of capacity
building, why not integrate everything and much more in the New Capacity
Building Programme? This means switching umbrellas to European/World Society
Well Being and Quality of Life which becomes the European/International
Education of Tomorrow (EdoT) means the collapse of the existing educational
system worldwide. This raises concern, resentment and even hate for many
a. Basic training
have become Degree Factories where not only has the quality of training become
questionable but also the evaluation itself because corrupted (who succeeds, who
fails, who shall obtain good marks or honours for the final global assessment
and so forth) in far too many institutions.
University, considered worldwide as the Temple of Knowledge, shall be
short-circuited, losing its omnipotent power over or hold on the citizen and
society. The University shall disappear because not needed anymore.
Or rather, its role shall be complementary (practical training and assistance
Or rather, its role shall be complementary (practical training and assistance if/where needed).
important to understand that the fate of universities as structured everywhere
in the world is doomed. Sooner or later, there shall be such brilliantly
customised software that the following sequence shall become a reality: I want
to be an engineer (for example) --- > I buy a customised course --- > I go
to a specific department for practical work --- > I take my examinations to prove my
competence as an engineer --- > I pass my examinations to the employer’s
satisfaction --- > job as an engineer. Deliberation shall not be needed
because it shall be replaced by the employer respecting a transparent selection
procedure. This shall happen. Acquiring
knowledge shall be so common place that you shall no more be considered as a
“Superior Being” because you know something. Everybody shall know what you
know or have your skills (or soon be able to acquire them). Knowledge and
training shall be accessible to all in a pleasant informal atmosphere. The
status of knowledge shall change. The Temples of Knowledge shall cease to exist.
The Era of Academic Anarchy, Dictatorship, Despotism and Absolute Rule shall be over.
most complex problem lies elsewhere. The Third Millennium’s Top Priority is achieving and
sustaining World Society Well Being and Quality of Life. This issue is perhaps
the most complex integrated interdisciplinary challenge there is because this
implies holistic multicultural interdisciplinary integration of data. We can’t do
this. Yet. We must
therefore turn to the Education of Tomorrow that concentrates on developing the
human being’s interdisciplinary integration potential. This is the New
Capacity Building Programme that includes the futuristic International
Interface Research Center (IIRC).
Unidisciplinary research is systematically replaced by holistic integrated interdisciplinary research with a direct impact on World Society Well Being and Quality of Life. Research shall be open to all.
existing Educational System is a very lucrative commercial enterprise. Open any
University Programme and look at the plethora of all these exquisitely tasty
are becoming obsolete, not all that useful anymore.
But what is a useful degree in 2016? A useful degree in 2016 is a degree that
addresses and contributes usefully to the 3rd Millennium’s top priority,
achieving and sustaining World
Society Well Being and Quality of Life. We
are now progressively reaching a stage where being a Top Unidisciplinary
University in whatever classification (Shanghai, …) shall make no sense in an
ACTION = FOLLOW-UP!!!
One of the greatest difficulties is keeping connected. The problem is that even though there may be a definite wish to re-communicate, the reality of everyday life is that after a meeting during which cards have been exchanged, each returns to his/her hotel or home or professional/family/cultural/... bubble and tomorrow is another day! Very few exchanges actually take place and most fall silent sooner or later because there is often just too much to do in one's bubble. And so the connection is lost. We may be living in a technologically hyperconnected era but the fact is that everything remains hyperfragmented.
meetings must be promoted to encourage holistic thinking bearing in mind that
locations, regions, nations and continents are not only interconnected but also
perpetually changing in a very dynamic world where everything is in a state of
rapid transition and certainly not static. This must be understood. Country A or
Continent B shall not be the same in 20, 50, 100, 500 years... In other words,
isolated national or even continental governance makes no sense. It is by
necessity urgent to prepare the transition to a much more flexible and
articulate New Global Governance (see below) and it is important to prepare the
mindsets for such a transition. In fact all countries and continents are in a
state of transition. Europe’s enormous added value here shall be its
experience trying to manage 27 countries, by learning from both its achievements
and its mistakes.
A bottom-up top-down world organisation is needed to sustain the initiative. This is the Human World Grid.