4.1 Redesigning the Education System

   A structural and long-term transformation is taking place in the world. The decentralized communication platforms, the rapid...

   A structural and long-term transformation is taking place in the world. The decentralized communication platforms, the rapid expansion and use of artificial intelligence along with major environmental, demographic, sociopolitical and economic shifts are impinging on a major change in our society. This situation demands empowering citizens to promote economic growth, sustainability, social justice, and political stability. In particular, youth must develop a capacity to think and act differently which requires a major transformation of our education systems.

   Decision-takers all around the world in public institutions and private organizations are facing issues (ecological, social, economic, energy, transport, migratory, etc.) of an ever-increasing complexity. The economic and education systems are intricately and intimately intertwined. The education narrative goes around economic competitiveness and focuses on preparing people for the knowledge society in a digital economy leaving aside the enormous challenges humankind is facing, some of them existential. 

   In the last four decades events like Chernobyl, the Global Financial Crisis, the Gulf Oil split, Fukushima´s tsunami and current pandemic have shown the danger of this lack of consciousness of the potential planetary effects of man-made decisions. Hence, decision-takers need to use systemic approaches to cope with the complexity of these issues to avoid global crisis. Crisis, in ancient Greek, refers to the breaking of connections.

   Within the systems movement, a wealth of conceptual and methodological knowledge has been created that is adequate for this task. Both researchers and practitioners now have the challenge of making young people aware and knowledgeable of these foundations and proficient in their application.

   Today’s education system is fragmented and has become very ineffective and inefficient. Redesigning the education system means overcoming disciplinary barriers, intellectual constraints of particular ideologies, promoting new ways of knowledge production and learning approaches, to move from a human-center rationalism towards a planetary-center awareness of the interconnectedness of all human cognitions, what Vladimir Vernadsky has called the noosphere.

   Cultivating cyber-systemic approaches, with their related ontologies, epistemological roots, their methodologies, methods, tools, and concepts provides a way of thinking and acting that allows developing such a collective consciousness.  

   On the other hand, the substantial development of Cognitive and Neural Sciences (CNS) during the last decades has provided crucial empirical evidence regarding human learning. As the CNS fields grow and mature, our knowledge regarding how learning is modulated by contextual and pedagogic interventions tends to expand at an ever-faster pace. A large body of behavioral, genetic, anatomical, neurophysiological, and computational data has accumulated over the past decade alone. The extraordinary development of the CNS is certainly leading to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying successful and failed learning, with great potential to transform the way education is implemented by schoolteachers. This advance in knowledge is expected to impact cultural and economic aspects of the modern society, debunking myths and promoting a science-based transference of knowledge to educational practice.

   The changes taking place in technology, market, etc. are affecting the match between the skills that employers (and society) need and those that the persons developed through the education system (what it is “demanded” does not fit with what it is “supplied”). This imply that people should take the responsibility for keeping their skills up to date all lifelong. The conscience about this should be developed through their education process.

   Also, the tendency, accelerated by the pandemic, to transform the working modes (ie. working from home, temporary, short duration of specific jobs, etc.) will require a capacity for quick adaptation to this new changing situation. Again, the education systems should prepare people for this new working reality.

   Therefore, a holistic approach to this new broad and fast changing landscape is necessary. If stakeholders (employees, employers, teachers, and decision-takers) share this vision, a whole redesign of the education system is mandatory.

   It seems important to go beyond multy and interdisciplinary approaches to develop a new transdisciplinary way of thinking and acting; a kind of indiscipline in which we must recover Aristotle´s practical wisdom. 

   We will distinguish between systemic education and the educational system. The first concept refers to the learning and teaching processes as well as the contents needed to embody systems thinking and holistic behavior in our daily living. The second focuses in setting the organizational capacity needed to have an effective educational system.

   Both dimensions can be observed along a life spam of a person. We can recognize four stages for learning: childhood, primary and secondary education (k12), higher education and life-long-learning (adulthood).

   Of course, there are additional questions that cross all dimensions, such as: How can we articulate every stage of learning? How innovation, information technology (MOOC, Kahn Academy, etc.) and the use of artificial intelligence permeates all stages of learning? How can we develop the ability of learning to learn in a complex changing environment? What is the purpose of education in each of these dimensions?  What is the systemic nature of educational relations that allows the emergence of new learning ecosystems?

   The main goal of this section is to define key problems and an agenda for a cyber-systemic research and development for reshaping the future of education.

   We invite contributors who may want to present innovative ideas, conceptual frameworks, methodologies or case studies (experiences) that may illuminate alternatives to address these or similar issues from a cyber-systemic perspective to send their proposals to WOSC 2021.

Discussion points

  • How to introduce Systems thinking in education? Elementary and High School; Undergraduate (universities, colleges); Post-graduate (Master and doctoral); Life-long learning; Consulting companies, etc.

  • How to handle inter and trans-disciplinarity.

  • How can people be prepared for the huge impact of artificial intelligence? How can artificial intelligence (AI) help teachers in their tasks?

  • Development of a global ethics for citizens of the future

  • How to develop an adaptation capacity for the education system (Formal, Informal, Free open courses etc.)?  

  • What could be the strategies to permeate diffuse Systems Thinking in society? How can systemic education be present in: Education; the Press; Media (TV, etc.); Social networks?

  • Experiences. Success stories of systemic learning in academic and non-academic institutions.

  • How can holistic visionary and responsible future-thinking in planetary scale may become an organic part of universities curriculum?

  • What kind of knowledge, research projects and institutional building initiatives for promotion of that issues can be developed within communities of systems movement?