Manuel Castells: Creative education for the Information Age: Mission Impossible?

26 November, 2012

Notes from ‘Manuel Castells: Creative education for the Information Age: Mission Impossible? by Gerard Pagès i Camps

‘I’m going to talk about the Obstacles and let we will find the solutions’

Manuel Castells who understood very early in the 90’s that Internet is going to change everything and recently received the 2012 Holberg International Memorial Prize from the Parliament of Norway, pointed as a key idea of his speech how educational institutions can resist to change, can transform for change.

A recent study on education published in Science calculated that the amount of digital information in the world went from 52% of the total in 2002 to 07% in 2007.

New skills are needed to be able to select and recombine information, to be capable to create new knowledge and meaning. And education is absolutely central.

Education is the critical matter for equality of opportunities.

Looking to the Finnish secondary education system for some answers to their success Castells said to find only one answer: ‘the fundamental key is the quality of the teachers, and this quality comes from they enthusiasm and the social recognition of the teacher role in society’.

  • Social recognition is the key
  • Technology will not solve this problem

In other hand universities have to consider universities themselves as a system. Research in university is the source, and this important, but is a higher system, of teaching and learning, a network.

The university system is the fundamental key of the education system, and is facing some problems:

  • Is not adapting to society and his reality
  • Is keeping professorial privileges
  • Is not adapted to technology
  • Is not listening to the demands of society
  • And is not sensible to the interest of the students

Why it happens?

Tremendous market pressure is to destroy universities to transform it into a commodity. Oligarcs are brutal and ignorants and they buy universities as they buy football clubs!

We have to preserve universities from the river of pirañas who want to sell them by pieces.

  1. Production of values
  2. The university as productive force
  3. The university that connects knowledge to the ability to create profit companies and good administration models.

The critical point pointed by Castells: Universities help to create the person, flexible, adaptable in the long life… not only well organized mentally… a person able to change professions not only jobs.

To be flexible because we have to be ready for everything. And strong because life events will change some personal values but a person have to keep some few fundamental values untouched.

Universities need autonomy to develop. Autonomy from government, autonomy from bureaucracy and autonomy from the markets.

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