Veselin VUKOTIC, PhD*
Abstract. We live in the time when collective entities of all kind are being crashed, when they go through invisible substantial transformation. The dominant social paradigm is moving focus from collective to an individual. This paper analyses the influence of changing social paradigm on education system. Why education system in new era has to be designed to provoke student’s mind and make his/her spirit active, competent and critical in the complex world? Will such education model suppress current model within which students sit in their classrooms, absorb and memorize facts, and then just reproduce what have been served to them?
Key words: education, energy, economy, competence, knowledge, idea, life intensity
We live in the time when collective entities of all kind are being crashed, when they go through invisible substantial transformation. The dominant social paradigm is changing – the focus is being put to an individual. Instead of material wealth, physical goods, and property importance is given to the quality of living, experiences, enjoyment, pleasure, and highly estimated leisure. As Jeremy Rifkin wrote in his book ”The Age of Access” – ”intellectual capital is driving force of the new era… Concept, ideas, images, not material things are considered to be valuable object in new concept of economy. Wealth is not in material, physical capital any more, but in human imagination and creativity.” This means that human capital is the most important asset of a company. This transition to new paradigm is not just a mechanical change, but comprehensive, long and demanding process of social change, which requires development of individualistic culture and new way of thinking. This change requires significant changes of education system. Problems of education system are more visible in transition countries where collectivistic spirit from socialism is still very strong, however education system in all countries worldwide are facing the same challenges. This paper is looking for answers about the influence of the change of the dominant social paradigm on education system and overall implications on economic development.
Change of dominant social paradigm in globalized world and the role of education system in this transition bring us back to the time of ancient Greece, whose education system gave us so many philosophers, mathematicians, logisticians, political scientists… What kind of education system gave us Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes, Socrates? How can it happen that ideas of people who lived 2,000-4,000 years ago are still so relevant and fresh, how can their ideas still make the base of our civilization? They didn’t have modern school buildings, black boards, computers, notebooks etc. however their ideas survived several thousand years and are as fresh and as relevant, as those probably had been in the time of their creation.
CHALLENGES FOR EDUCATION
Challenges for education systems are the same as always – indeed we are going back to the past – to the time before 19th century and industrial revolution. The ideas of industrial revolution had negative impact on education system, first of all – the principle of mass production. Even Friedrich Nietzsche has warned on this: ”two seemingly opposite flows, similar in its dangerous consequences are dominant in our education institutions today – on one side, the desire to expand it and distribute it widely, and on the other, the desire to reduce it and make it weak.” This means that first movement is leading us to mass education, and the other encourages the approach according to which people should give up their highest novel ambitions and put themselves in the service of, for example, state.
Current education system is founded on so called industrial paradigm, which is in conflict with the trends caused by new information paradigm, i.e. information society. The background idea of this paper is to identify directions for future developments in this area.
We can say that industrial paradigm of education had been created before industrial revolution. This paradigm is created along with the birth of national state. In other words, when education started to divide from church (monasteries had been first universities), education institutions named schools had been created. The goal of schools was to produce common spirit aimed to preserve interests of ruling class, i.e. the state. Four pillars of national state – language, army, territory and currency – are based on schooling system. These pillars lean on education system which is controlled by ruling elites, who are educated at the same concept. Many people didn’t agree with such idea of education. One of them was Jan Komensky, Czech author of the book ”Labyrinth of the world”, reformer and the head of one college in England. ”It is in nature of school to become rigid, so occasionally we should shake it back into life.” The reason for this lost of vitality lies in the fact that political power wants to establish common will. That’s why, from time to time, both of them should be reexamined and the key idea, which was lost in daily routine, should be re-injected in them. ”Fatherly: the school should be transformed from prison to playground, which provoke and satisfy student’s curiosity.”
These words from 17th century sound as a contemporary metaphor!
The idea that school system should serve the dominant ideology, was followed by capitalistic ideas where education was put in function of increasing production, satisfying human needs and making profits: ”More production and better satisfied needs leads people to more happiness – that’s a formula of success. Here, the purpose and the goal of education are to raise utility, i.e. profits and earnings”.
However, this union of ”intelligence and property” according to Nietzsche initiated something he calls ”animosity to education”. Animosity is understood as something that kills spirit. Nietzsche says that education is strengthening the individuality of a person, it ”makes somebody lonely and this loneliness (individuality) leads a person to education out of money and earnings, which takes much time. People usually want to get rid of such aspirations, usually named ”the highest level of egoism” or ”immoral Epicurus education”. Dominant understanding of moral in society requires something completely opposite – quick education… The goal is that the man becomes a being who earns money.”
This approach to education was the foundation of the idea of rationalization (Max Weber). The bureaucratization is considered as the ultimate vivification of this process. The truth is that Weber feared that the society will turn into invisible network of rationalized institutions, and people overwhelmed with such rationalization will become individuals closed in ”iron cages” (bureaucracy) who don’t have way out. Mises and Hayek also wrote on the dangers of bureaucratization.
It is obvious that education based on industrial paradigm is in deep conflict with the paradigm of ”new global stage” (Kenichi Ohmae), founded on informatics and globalization. On one side, education is in crisis, and on the other it becomes necessary condition for survival of an individual, companies and civilizations.
But, what kind of education are we talking about?
It would be pretentious to hope that we can find precise answers to this question. It is impossible. However, if we go back to history, to ancient Greece and follow the anthropology of creation in different civilizations along the course of history, if we understand the history of future, we can maybe find some guidance.
In today’s world information is putting more emphasis on the development of an individual, his capacities, personality and character and less on collective, the state… Information put the dominant orientation to creative and innovative capacities, more than on imitation and obedience.
Globalization is completely changing the role and the importance of national state, its possibility to control processes on national level. National state is opening and many national levers are weakening. In less than 30 years welfare state concept collapsed. Global market successfully absorbed many activities which were jurisdiction of state and government (including public transport, communal and telecommunication services) – these activities became commercial. Emphasizing the concept of European social state today’s reminds on reflexive moves of a dying being… We need to encourage free entrepreneurship again.
As already said ”the age of access” (J. Rifkin) put emphasis on the importance of networks and strategic partnerships, which strongly influence dominant social paradigm. This paradigm moves the focus of an individual from material wealth, physical goods, and property to the quality of living, experiences, enjoyment, pleasure, highly estimated leisure. We are talking about the initiation of the new paradigm, not about the world where this paradigm is already dominant. This paradigm starts from the assumption that human capital is the most important asset of a company – ”profit is in the heads of people”. Somewhere, like here in the region, human capital is considered as expense; however an approach that human capital is the main driver of development is being widely accepted. People become aware that also human capital can be ”rented”, so the demand for ”free-lancing” experts in different areas grows.
Information economy is encouraging long-term transfer from industrial to cultural production. The position of so called economy of experience becomes more important. Is this cultural production (production of experience) the last development stage of capitalistic life style, which has the mission to bring as many human activities in commercial sphere, is less important issue here?
This change of paradigm is creating the environment for the new approach to education system.
An important question which is raised here is what is happening within young, new generation and its mental profile. It seems that not enough attention is put on the change of system of values and the way of thinking of the young generation today. How can we speak about education system and its efficiency, if we don’t know the psychology of a student who studies in it? Adler’s ”understanding of human nature” is good guideline, but it is incomplete and not adapted for today’s moment. There are many analyses and studies on current young generation, especially in USA. Why is it important to include factor ”generation” in the discussion about education system? Each person belongs to a generation. The time when we were born determines the culture we live in. Society and social norms in which we live while being young shape us as individuals and we stay to live with it. Many studies conclude that the time when we were born have stronger influence on our personality, than the family which raised us. As old Arabic proverb says: ”People looks like time they live in, more then they look like their fathers.”
Features of young generation, so called Generation ME (people younger than 35) are important for the discussion in this paper.
Why this generation is named Generation ME? It is a generation for which the self is the highest priority. Members of this generation want freedom in everything they do; they like to personalize everything (to adapt it to them); they have tendency to research (especially through available networks). Generation ME wants entertainment and game within their work, education and social life – this is the generation of cooperation and connections (Facebook, games, homework…). This generation needs speed, not only in video games.
NEW MODEL OF EDUCATION: S = z ∙ i2
Current education system is based on passive knowledge, memorizing facts, ”warehousing” information, the importance of formal achievements (diploma is important by itself) and strong division between theoretical knowledge and practical problems. The new era requires education system which will develop skills and competences, change student’s way of thinking, and improve innovative and creative capacity of a student. This means that the transformation of current education system should be oriented to the development of critical thinking and empirical imagination.
What reforms of education system are needed in order to efficiently overcome changes induced by the change of dominant social paradigm? What are directions for future development of education system? How can education system become focused to an individual, its personality and character? How can it educate people to be creative and to accept challenges of real life game? Is there any ”formula” which can explain all of this and enable transfer from one to another education model? Why education system has to be designed to provoke student’s mind and make his/her spirit active, competent and critical in the complex world? Will such education model suppress current model within which students sit in their classrooms, absorb and memorize facts, and then just reproduce what have been served to them?
We touch upon all these issues in this paper trying to present the new model of education which we use at private University Donja Gorica (UDG) in Montenegro.
Today’s world is the world of permanent changes, world of risk and uncertainty. Contemporary life in global world can be understood as the ”ride” on the top of the (global) wave. When an individual tries to stop the wave, (s)he will get into the fight lost in advance. But when the one realizes the direction in which the wave is moving and understand invisible streams that move the wave, then (s)he can learn how to ”surf”.
There we come to the question if the knowledge was the goal of education in contemporary era. This question is heretically provocative, especially in time when the dominant opinion is that future developments depend on how much the society is knowledge-based. The thought that only knowledge-based society has the future is dominant today. New education model which we discuss don’t deny the importance of knowledge. However, we insist on analysis of knowledge and its importance from individual perspective. Knowledge is important depending on the context and influence it has on personal character, way of thinking, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of an individual…
New education model developed at UDG puts emphasis on the knowledge which can be transformed into individual ability and competence, into capacity of an individual to solve problems and be creative. A student in the new education model is not the person who passively absorbs formulas, definitions, factors, models, etc (elements of knowledge).
New education model rely on the assumption that knowledge is individual and Hayek’s thesis that it is spread in head of individuals. There is no such thing as the collective knowledge. From the perspective of an individual and individual competence we can understand knowledge as something we take from other people – not as something that comes out of us. We adopted our knowledge about relativity theory from Einstein, Pythagoras theorem is taken from Pythagoras, knowledge about class struggle from Marx, etc.
This raises logical question: how someone else’s knowledge is converted within an individual? Can we achieve it simply, by inserting knowledge in the head of an individual, or there are some factors of conversion? These questions probably seems odd to a reader, maybe even senseless. This usually seems simple and clear to everybody, but the real issue lies in the fact that two persons who had learned (absorbed, memorized) exactly the same ”amount” of knowledge achieved different results in solving problems in real life. Why? Is there some relation between the level of knowledge and the results of its implementation? Does the secret of education lie in this factor ”well known to everybody”?
Can Einstein help us in looking for an answer to these question with his famous equation E = m ∙ c2 (hereafter EE) which shows that energy is the product of mass and squared speed of light? This equation raise the question how mass is transformed into energy? When we speak about education, the question is how knowledge (mass) is transformed into ability and competence (energy)?
According to Einstein’s solution, presented in simplified form, speed of life is the factor of convergence – factor of transformation. In other words, mass and energy can be transformed one to another. Factor of conversion in currency exchange is the exchange rate, while the speed of light is the factor of conversion when transforming the mass into energy.
When we speak about education, what is the ”exchange rate” between knowledge and individual ability and competence? In the new education model we develop at UDG, we understand the goal of higher education as the development of individual capacity and competence. The factor of converting knowledge into individual competence is the squared level of the intensity of life of an individual. Written in the form of equation:
S = z ∙ i2 
- S – individual capacity and competence (immanent to energy in EE);
- z – knowledge (immanent to mass in EE);
- i – intensity of life (immanent to speed in EE).
As already said, the goal of higher education in competence oriented education approach is the competence which an individual is acquiring during university education. It is the ability of an individual. Knowledge is not the goal itself – it is just one of the elements of individual ability and competence. The ability of an individual in the model is seen as the capacity to solve problems and find solutions in permanently changing circumstances. Individual capacity and competence always results in new achievements, new ideas, creativity and dynamics. The ability of an individual is initiating mental processes, which increase capacity for abstract thinking, imagination and new ideas. It is the background of Einstein thought: ”Imagination is more important than knowledge!”
This understanding of ability of an individual as the goal of education (not education for specific profession), emphasize the need for education system which will ”produce” (as an outcome) intellectual i.e. creative entrepreneurs. This means that each individual, no matter what he or she does, should be entrepreneurial and creative. This is particularly important in global environment where the average time spent on one job is 5 years. Quick changes and moving from one job to another, rapid technology changes and globalization require the ability of an individual, not concrete knowledge for specific job… As famous Montenegrin poet Njegos said: ”Whatever comes, we are ready!” This sentence is pointing out the importance of individual capacity to accept and overcome life challenges.
In a nutshell, the main product of new education model we implement at UDG will be graduated student who is the expert for uncertainty. Graduated student should be able to make decisions based on imperfect information, in permanently changing circumstances of global scene.
As knowledge is understood as something ”taken from other people” it is crucial how it can be converted into capacity and competence of an individual. In other words, how can you convert components of education programs and curricula, information from text books and other literature into ability and competence of an individual? New education model which we develop at UDG see the intensity (speed) of life as the factor of conversion.
What is the intensity of life? It can be understood as the devotion to life; enjoying life and thinking about life! When you see human life as the gift from God, you can extend it only through creation. What an individual creates in life – it is the measure of his or her individual ability and competence.
Intensity of life consists of various activities and functions that each individual is conducting in a time unit. What is the level of someone’s life intensity, if (s)he sleeps 12 hours a day? What is the level of the life intensity of an individual who have never traveled out of birth town? How intensive is the life of a person who communicates only with his close family and friends? What is the level of life intensity of a person who doesn’t accept different life challenges, such as enjoyment or creative activities?
Intensity of life results in certain level of experience, but it doesn’t have to be the case always. Experience is something that an individual has deeply passed through, something that has deeply engraved in his mind. Experience becomes integral part of mental constitution of a person. It is not just collection of memories – it is emotional and spiritual driver, which brings new impulses and new ideas.
Is there something more personal than the experience? Is the experience, acquired through understanding of life, some kind of human spiritual DNA which shapes a person’s ideas? Einstein said that ”all true learning was experience and everything else was just information”.
Through intensity of life, each person is acquiring skills and competences.
Skills should be understood as the ”domestication” of somebody else’s knowledge acquired through education process. This ”domestication” is achieved through development of personal affinities and vocation. Only knowledge which is transformed into skills is efficient.
Competence is also the result of the intensity of life of an individual. Competence is the capacity of an individual to use his/her personal resources, to posses some self-driving impulses, be self-confident and brave… Competence is understood as awaken intellect, moved by emotional, intuitive and creative forces within an individual!
If the role of intensity of life is so important in creating individual competence and ability, why dominant education system still focuses on memorizing and mechanical acquisition of knowledge?
As already said, Professor’s Equation is looking for the answer how to convert knowledge into individual competence and ability.
Elements of vector model [S] = [z] x [i]2 are given below:
Figure 1: Individual competence of the student – Elements of matrix [S] in UDG practice
Figure 2: Knowledge of the student – Elements of matrix [z] in UDG practice
Figure 3: Intensity of Life of the student – Elements of matrix [i] in UDG practice
If we get back to the Professor’s equation which represent new education model S = z ∙ i2, then we can conclude what happens if i = 0. In other words, what happens when an individual has lifeless knowledge. Such knowledge will not produce competence and abilities of an individual. Does it mean that there are situations when we don’t need knowledge (z = 0)? Of course, the answer is no. From methodological point of view it is important to emphasize – acquisition of knowledge is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for efficient education model.
The essence of transforming current education system, which is evidently becoming inefficient in new global environment, lies in the relation between knowledge on one, and competence of an individual – student on other side. It means that approach to education should move from current model expressed through S = P + V, where S (goal of education) is knowledge, to the model expressed through equation S = z ∙ i2, where S (goal of education) is understood as individual competence and ability.
Thus the focus of education moves from mechanical sum of theoretical lectures and practical lessons to the multiplier of knowledge and experience broadly defined as intensity of life. Current model (sum) is the result of mechanical approach to education system, while the new model (multiplier) is based on holistic, organic approach.
The goal of new education system is not knowledge itself. Knowledge should be acquired in order to develop someone’s competence and individual abilities. This education model abandons the thesis that the amount of knowledge (collected information) in the head of student’s increases student individual competence and creativity. Speaking from the perspective of the education equation presented in the paper, current education model put emphasis on variable z. However in contemporary global era the focus is moving in the direction of i. In other words, it is necessary to adjust and harmonize activities from area of z and i, in educational practice in systematic and holistic way.
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- European Commission (2012), ”Rethinking education: investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes”, http://ec.europa.eu/education/news/rethinking_en.htm
- Forshaw, B.; Kox J. (2009), ”Why E=m∙c2?”, Dacapo Press, London;
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FULL INTEGRATION OF MINORITY NA
* University of Donja Gorica – Rector and Full ProfessorUDG, Donja Gorica bb
** University of Donja Gorica – Dean of Faculty for International Economics, Finance and Business, Associate Professor, UDG, Donja Gorica bb
 Rifkin, J. (2005), ”Doba pristupa”, (translation of ”The Age of Access”), Bulaja Copies, Zagreb, pp. 13;
 Nietzsche, F. (1997) ”Budućnost obrazovnih institucija” (translation ”Future of Education Institutions”), knjižnice Zoran Stojanović, Sremski Karlovci, pp. 27;
 J. Bodin, French lawyer, created the concept of national state in middle 17th century;
 We don’t want to enter discussion about reformers and reformation movement which contributed to the development of the idea of mass education in function of serving state;
 According to: Barzun, J. (2003) ”Od osvita do dekandencije – 500 godina Zapadne kulture, od 1500. do danas”, translation of ”From Dawn to Decadence – 500 years of Western Cultural life, from 1500 to the Present” Masmedia, Zagreb, pp. 226-227. Kamensky actually reacted on the measure proposed in England that all cities should build barracks for 120 boys 12-21 years old, where they would study about God. It is the purpose of education according to which a man is the servant who conducts all activities of private and public life, including war, fairly and eternaly.
 Nietzsche, F. (1997), pp. 20;
 Nietzsche, F. IBID, pp. 28;
 Max Weber wrote about bureaucracy as of the paradigmatic vivification of the rationalization process. Although, he saw all advantages of rationalization, he was more occupied by the dangerous impacts it brings, especially with the possibility to enter ”iron cage” of rationalization. He considered rationalized systems dehumanized and not human, so he feared the posibility that many segments of society will become rationalized.
 Mises, L; Hayek, F. (2003), ”O slobodnom tržištu” (On Free Markets), collection of essays, Mate, Zagreb;
 See more: Ohmae, K (1999), ”Invisible Continent”, Harper Collins Publisher, New York;
 Riderstra, J; Nordstrom K. (2006) ”Karaoke kapitalizam” (translation of Karaoke Capitalism), Plato, Beograd;
 Wahl, A. (2011), ”The Rise and the Fall of the Welfare state”, Pluto Press, Norway;
 Rifkin, J, IBID, pp. 13;
”Global travel and tourism, theme cities and parks, destination entertainment centers, wellness, fashion and cuisine, professional sports and games, gambling, music, film, television, the virtual worlds of cyberspace and electronically mediated entertainment of every kind are fast becoming the centre of a new hyper-capitalism that trades in access to cultural experiences.” (Rifkin, J, IBID. pp. 13-14);
 Pine, J; Gilmore, J. (1999) ”The Experience Economy”, Harvard Business School Press, Boston;
 Twenge, J. M. (2006) ”Generation ME”, Free Press, New York;
 Many people call this generation ”net generation”, i.e. net boomers;
 Tapskot, Don (2010) ”Odrasti digitalno”, (translation of ”Grow Up Digitally”) Mate, Zagreb, pp. 56-57;
 OECD, ”The Knowledge Based Economy”, 1996, http://www.oecd.org/science/sci-tech/1913021.pdf;
 More on this: F. A. v. Hayek ”The Use of Knowledge in Society,” American Economic Review, Vol. 35, No. 4, Sep., 1945
 See interesting explanation in: B.Kox and J.Forshaw, ”Why E = m∙c2?”, Dacapo Press, London, 2009;
 This equation is known as ”Professor’s Equation” named by Professor Veselin Vukotic, who is the author of this concept and the idea of this new education model;
 This sentence had initially been quoted in interview with A. Einstein by G.S. Viereck, The Saturday Evening Post, p.17, Oct. 26, 1929;
 P.P.Njegos, ”The Mountain Wreath”, Transl. by V. D. Mihailovic, Serbian Europe Publishing, Belgrade, 1997, line #2496;
 For Einstein’s quotes see: A. Calaprice (ed), F.Dyson (foreword), A. Einstein (author), ”The Ultimate Quotable Einstein”, Princeton University Press, 2010;
 Following Einstein’s equation E = m ∙ c2, it is immanent to the question: ”What is the level of energy of the parked car?”
 Example of an attempt to implement concept S = z ∙ i2 at University UDG, Montenegro is given in annex.