Abstract: Economic globalization not only brings opportunities to all countries in the world, but also brings crises and challenges. The solutions to crises and challenges also entrust education different missions. To this end, there is an urgent need to re-examine the purpose of education, to update the means of education and to change the role of education in order to respond to the logic of history, cultural orientation and the demands of the times, in accordance with the concept of equitable, viable and sustainable human and social development. Mainly from the 1970s, the education concept changes from lifelong education to the learning society. In the 1980s, the educational means from information technology into the virtual class, and then in the 1990s, the educational role with the economic globalization to the trade of educational service. Entering the 21st Century, the mode of educational development was from the Millennium goals to the sustainable development. The goal of sustainable development of human society depends on the sustainable development of education. The sustainable development of future education rests on the implementation of comprehensive, inclusive, just and quality education to ensure that all people have the opportunity to learn for life.
Keywords:Education, Sustainable development, Common interests of human beings
摘要 (Jing Xiang & Ying Yan: 挑战，变革和应对：全球化视角下的教育研究）：经济全球化不仅给世界上所有国家带来机遇，并且也带来危机与挑战。危机和挑战的解决方案也赋予教育不同的使命。为此目标迫切需要重新审核教育的目的，更新教育的手段并改变教育的角色，根据公平的，可行的和可持续的人类与社会发展的概念，以回应历史的逻辑，文化的取向和时代的要求。主要从1970年代开始，教育理念从终身教育转变为学习型社会。在1980年代，教育手段从信息技术进入虚拟课堂，之后在1990年代，教育角色随着经济全球化而走向教育服务贸易。进入21世纪，教育发展的模式从千年目标到可持续发展。人类社会可持续发展的目标取决于教育的可持续发展。未来教育的可持续发展取决于全面的，包容的，公正的和优质教育的实施，以确保所有人都有终身学习的机会。
摘要 (Jing Xiang & Ying Yan: 挑戰，變革和應對：全球化視角下的教育研究）： 經濟全球化不僅給世界上所有國家帶來機遇，並且也帶來危機與挑戰。危機和挑戰的解決方案也賦予教育不同的使命。為此目標迫切需要重新審核教育的目的，更新教育的手段並改變教育的角色，根據公平的，可行的和可持續的人類與社會發展的概念，以回應歷史的邏輯，文化的取向和時代的要求。主要從1970年代開始，教育理念從終身教育轉變為學習型社會。在1980年代，教育手段從信息技術進入虛擬課堂，之後在1990年代，教育角色隨著經濟全球化而走向教育服務貿易。進入21世紀，教育發展的模式從千年目標到可持續發展。人類社會可持續發展的目標取決於教育的可持續發展。未來教育的可持續發展取決於全面的，包容的，公正的和優質教育的實施，以確保所有人都有終身學習的機會。
Zusammenfassung (Jing Xiang & Ying Yan: Herausforderung, Veränderung und Reaktion: Bildungsforschung in einer globalisierten Perspektive): Die wirtschaftliche Globalisierung bringt nicht nur Chancen für alle Länder der Welt, sondern auch Krisen und Herausforderungen mit sich. Die Lösungen für Krisen und Herausforderungen betrauen auch die Bildung mit verschiedenen Aufgaben. Zu diesem Zweck ist es dringend notwendig, den Zweck der Bildung zu überprüfen, die Mittel der Bildung zu aktualisieren und die Rolle der Bildung zu verändern, um der Logik der Geschichte, der kulturellen Orientierung und den Erfordernissen der Zeit im Einklang mit dem Konzept einer gerechten, lebensfähigen und nachhaltigen menschlichen und sozialen Entwicklung gerecht zu werden. Vor allem seit den 1970er Jahren wandelt sich das Bildungskonzept von der lebenslangen Bildung zur lernenden Gesellschaft. In den 1980er Jahren wanderten die Bildungsmittel von der Informationstechnologie in die virtuelle Klasse. In den 1990er Jahren wurde die Bildungsrolle mit der wirtschaftlichen Globalisierung und dem Handel von Bildungsdienstleistungen verbunden. Mit dem Eintritt in das 21. Jahrhundert ging der Modus der Bildungsentwicklung von den Millenniumszielen zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung über. Das Ziel der nachhaltigen Entwicklung der menschlichen Gesellschaft hängt von der nachhaltigen Entwicklung der Bildung ab. Die nachhaltige Entwicklung der zukünftigen Bildung beruht auf der Umsetzung einer umfassenden, integrativen, gerechten und qualitativ hochwertigen Bildung, um sicherzustellen, dass alle Menschen die Möglichkeit haben, ein Leben lang zu lernen.
Schlüsselwörter: Bildung, nachhaltige Entwicklung, gemeinsame Interessen der Menschen
Резюме (Джинг Ксианг & Йнг Йан: Вызовы, трансформации и реакции: исследование образования в глобальной перспективе): Экономическая глобализация ассоциируется не только с определенными шансами для всех стран мира. Есть и обратная сторона этого процесса, которая провоцирует кризисы и вызовы. В задачи образования также входит поиск путей решения таких кризисных ситуаций и вызовов времени. Чтобы образование начало решать эти задачи, необходимо еще раз посмотреть, что является целью образования, актуализировать средства образования и изменить роль образования. В этом случае удастся гармонизировать логику истории, культурной ориентации и требований времени, с одной стороны, и концепцию справедливого, жизнеспособного, устойчивого социального развития, с другой. Начиная с семидесятых годов прошлого столетия образовательная концепция трансформируется от модели «обучения в течение всей жизни» до представлений об «обучающемся обществе». В восьмидесятых годах двадцатого века меняются средства образования – на смену информационным технологиям приходят виртуальные классы. В 90-е годы роль образования связана с экономической глобализацией и предоставлением образовательных услуг. С наступлением двадцать первого века целевым модусом становится стремление к устойчивому развитию. Цели устойчивого развития человеческого общества зависят от устойчивого развития в сфере образования. Устойчивое развитие будущего образования базируется на имплементации глобальной, интегративной, справедливой и качественной модели образования, чтобы дать возможность людям обучаться в течение всей жизни.
Ключевые слова: образование, устойчивое развитие, общие интересы людей
Globalization poses a severe challenge to education
The world today is in the midst of rapid change, which is reflected in the rapid development of the internet, mobile technology and other digital media, as well as in the growing recognition of cultural diversity, which is leading to political, economic and cultural globalization, which is inevitably leading to the formation of new centers of power and interest groups. Such changes, in turn, have led to changes in local and global governance, such as the “demand for a voice in public affairs” and the “opening up of public educational opportunities and multiple forms of private provision”, as well as to new knowledge horizons that cannot be ignored, all of which have altered political, economic and educational participation patterns to varying degrees. At the same time, irreversible ecological damage, climate change and economic globalization have exacerbated the fragility and inequality of the industrial situation between and within countries. Education, on the one hand, records contributions such as the increase in the global literacy rate of young people aged 15-24 from 83% to 91% and the narrowing of the female-to-male gap between 1990 and 2015, the increase in net primary school enrolment from 84% in 1999 to 93% in 2015, and the rise in learning assessments from 12 indicators based on national standards in 1990 to 101 (UNESCO, 2015, p. 3-8) in 2013. On the other hand, there are still 836 million people living in extreme poverty globally as of 2015, resulting in an estimated 57 million (UN, 2015) school-age children out of school, around 100 million children not completing primary education and millions of children leaving school without basic life skills due to the poor quality of primary education. The so-called upheavals illustrate the growing ties between different nations and regions, the persistence of intolerance and conflict, the upsurge in cultural and religious chauvinism and identity-based political agitation and violence, and the prevalence of terrorism, drug-related violence, war, civil unrest and even domestic violence, as well as violence in schools, all of which raise questions about the value of education and attitudes in fostering coexistence (UNESCO, 2017, p. 8). Moreover, as a result of armed conflict and violence, nearly 30 million children (UNESCO, 2017, p. 8) are deprived of their right to education, which will result in generations of uneducated adults being neglected in development policies. These issues pose a serious challenge to the growing aspirations for human rights and dignity in an environment based on justice, social equality, sustainable development of individuals and societies and, consequently, mutual human understanding and integration of the global community.
The major problems that trouble people around the world have the characteristics of integrity and global. It is precisely because of such characteristics that all countries and stakeholders in the world must treat the world as a community with a shared future to deal with and solve problems, and in the process trying to find ways for education to create value in an unforeseen future. Since the space of human life has been expanded to the global scope, education can only commitment to cultivate the values in a global perspective and spare no effort, in thought and action, to reduce poverty, exclusion, incomprehension, oppression, war, etc. Only on the basis of humanism education and development, we call for respecting individual life and human dignity, advocating equal rights and social justice, and respecting cultural diversity. In the process of uniting international forces and sharing responsibilities and obligations, human-oriented dialogue can cultivate children who actively participate in the common life of their countries, regions, cities, villages and neighbors, and move towards the common life of “global village” in the process of living together with their natural communities. Education could enable the realization of each person’s creative talents and potential through social, humanistic and natural science issues, thus creating the self, and also help them to acquire the ability to interpret major events of importance to the fate of individuals and society. Education promotes the active and responsible behavior of individuals and societies to achieve sustainable human and environmental development. We should be committed to transforming the normative principles of education, such as “the right to education” and “education for the public interest”, into “education and knowledge”, so as to become the global common interest. Such an education can participate in the acquisition, authentication, use and creation of human knowledge as a common heritage of humanity and as a common good that accompanies every human being throughout his or her life. Advocating for changes in new forms of education and updating its content to develop the capacity of individuals and societies to adapt and respond to change. Only by doing so can we ensure a sustainable future and a life of dignity for all people everywhere.
In an ever-changing and complex world, education is based on responding to the fundamental questions of what knowledge should be imparted in different times and contexts, why it should be imparted and when and how the information, understanding, skills, values and attitudes acquired will be used, and how it will be used, for the development of individuals and societies.
Globalization has led to many changes in education
Human beings have enjoyed the productivity and standard of living gains of the technological changes introduced by cultural evolution, while resisting the social changes caused by technological change, which requires them to evaluate and adjust themselves accordingly. The imbalance between the two is enough to explain why human beings, with their increasing knowledge, are able to adapt their environment to their will but are increasingly unable to make their environment more habitable (Stavrianos, 2006, p.7). Education helps to bridge the wisdom between the increasing amount of knowledge that human beings possess and how to use it, and to mitigate the imbalance between technological change and the social change that makes it inevitable. This imbalance has been recurring since the 1960s and 1970s, forcing education to respond and react to the sustainable development of individuals and societies and of the world as a community.
(1) A conceptual breakthrough in education in 1970s: from lifelong education to a learning society
After the Second World War, the marked decline in neonatal mortality, the dramatic increase in the number of multiple births and the birth rate, which led to a dramatic increase in the population of the developing countries, and the marked increase in the proportion of the population of the third world have all contributed to the trend towards a highly uneven growth of the world’s population and a significant increase in the total number of persons. From 1960 to 1968, the first United Nations Development Decade, the world’s population grew from just under 3 billion to almost 3.5 billion people, a 17% (UNESCO, 1996, p. 52) jump in eight years, and from 3.684 billion in 1970 to almost 4.5 billion (Rasekh, & Vedinu, 1996, p. 13) in 1980, a decade in which population growth was matched by rapidly changing societies have led to dramatic changes in the physical, spiritual, and moral worlds facing humanity. In addition, medical advances and the dramatic increase in the level of medical care, which has increased life expectancy, have forced the need to develop the quantity of education; while at the same time the education system and the school system must also respond and adjust. The dramatic changes in the social, economic and technological structure of the world have led to a crisis in the patterns of life, ideology and relations among people and countries are trying to renew their mindsets and ethics through education and to create citizens who are properly trained to assume responsibilities and tasks. The rapid development of the mass media has connected everyone in the world to every major event in the world through the press, radio and television, and only through careful and continuous training can the individual constructively understand, interpret, assimilate and use the information and data received and thus develop a critical and selective faculty. Advances in scientific knowledge and technology require individuals to continually update their knowledge and skills, necessitating that education focus on teaching students to learn. While the modern form, scope and content of leisure is a product of industrial society and has a decisive influence on the living conditions of people in all countries of the world, education, by providing people with the means to understand, think and express their thoughts and emotions, can make full use of the positive effects of leisure time, thereby improving the state of individual life and enhancing people’s quality of life. Realities and challenges such as these make continuous education and learning both a must and a necessity.
In response to the international context and characteristics of the 1950s and 1960s, Paul Lengrand, a French adult education scholar and Director of UNESCO’s Division of Adult Education Programme, presented a proposal on “Lifelong Education” (Lengrand, 1965) at the Second Committee for the Promotion of Adult Education, convened by UNESCO in 1965. The proposal states that in order for society to provide individuals with opportunities for education and learning from birth to death, governments should support and coordinate the integration of the educational functions of primary, secondary, and university schools, as well as regional social schools and regional cultural centers. It also aims to promote the improvement of systems and initiatives in each country and region, such as workday adjustment, educational leave, and cultural leave, and to fundamentally change people’s attitudes towards education, so that education exists in the school system as well as in all aspects of personal life related to work and leisure, and that the concept of lifelong education permeates all human activities. Lifelong education goes beyond schooling and extends the functions of education to all aspects of society as a whole, that is to say, education is no longer confined within the walls of the school, but all existing institutions (whether established for teaching or not) and all forms of socio-economic activity must be used to serve the purposes of education (UNESCO, 1996, p. 224-225) towards a learning society. Lifelong education can be seen as the basis for the creation of a learning society. The educational functions of non-educational sectors such as industry, commerce, agriculture, etc. should be vigorously utilized in order to achieve the social goal of individual self-actualization and the perfection of humanity. Since education is of such importance and high value to any human being and any society, the society should be called a “Learning society”. (UNESCO, 1996, p. 203)
The learning society aims at the full development of all people and the realization of their potential, and is centered on the establishment of all social systems and social development plans as a guarantee to lead and promote the development of society as a whole. A learning society is a new type of society that is broader and more advanced than lifelong education and lifelong learning. Lifelong education, as the guiding principle of educational reform at all levels, is the foundation for the creation of a learning society. By encouraging learners from all walks of life, such as industry, commerce and agriculture, to participate in non-education sector activities, they can give full play to their responsibilities and roles in all fields to build a learning society, and lifelong learning is the path to building a learning society. In short, the terms lifelong education and lifelong learning aim at both rebuilding the existing education system and giving full play to the motivation and initiative of each individual, so as to fully explore individual potential and build a learning society throughout one’s life.
(2) Updating the means of education in the 1980s: from information technology to the virtual classroom.
The history of human science has witnessed the first scientific revolution from 1543 to 1687 marked by Copernicus’s Theory of the Operation of the Heavenly Bodies (Copernicus, 1543) and Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (Newton, 1687); the second scientific revolution from 1803 to 1864 marked by Dalton’s Atomic Theory (Dalton, 1808), Darwin’s Theory of Evolution (Darwin, 1858), and Maxwell’s Theory of Electromagnetism (Maxwell, 1873); and the third scientific revolution from 1895 to 1928 marked by the Theory of Relativity (Einstein, 1905) and Quantum Mechanics. (Xingmin Li, 1986, pp. 33-40) From the first scientific revolution, which lasted 144 years, to the second, which lasted 61 years, to the third, which lasted 33 years, it can be seen that modern knowledge is being transformed into productivity at an ever-increasing rate. As a result of the unprecedented speed of computer retrieval, storage and dissemination of information, a huge computer industry was formed rapidly, leading to global technological progress, which led to a profound social change; such as the advent of artificial intelligence in 1956, with knowledge representation, knowledge acquisition, knowledge utilization as the knowledge processing system, and in 1953, Watson of the United States and Crick of the United Kingdom published in the British Journal Nature “DNA double helix structure of the molecular model” research results also marked the birth of molecular biology. Today scientists are able to read the genetic code, modify it, and create new genetic codes. Genetic engineering has created insulin, growth hormone and several new vaccines, which have been applied in various industries, such as agriculture, chemical engineering, health care and biomedical engineering. These are sufficient evidence of the advent of the fourth scientific and technological revolution led by the information revolution, characterized by the widespread application of such civilian technologies as electronic computers, bioengineering, optical fibre, quantum information technology and new energy sources.
If it is said that the fourth technological revolution originated from the birth of the electronic computer, then with the computer information media, computing speed, the scale of networking and the degree of extension of the information highway, the application of information technology affects every aspect of our lives and forces education to change. The combination of computer multimedia technology and network communication technology connects schools, research institutions, libraries and homes around the world, allowing learning to take place anywhere in the world, beyond the time and space constraints of traditional classroom teaching. At the same time, students and teachers located in different parts of the world can also sit in the “virtual classroom” for learning and discussion, making it possible for individuals to choose education autonomously and freely in the information society. The changes in learning resources, learning channels and learning styles will inevitably lead to changes in teaching contents, teaching means, teaching methods and teaching modes, which will ultimately be reflected in the changes in educational thinking, educational concepts and teaching and learning concepts.
A multimedia networked environment is sufficient to provide the educational content for the basic learning needs of every person, whether child, youth or adult, including the basic learning tools of reading, writing, oral expression, arithmetic and problem solving, as well as the basic learning content of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. Education should also be constantly enriched and modified in the light of research advances in new disciplines such as cognitive science, learning science, artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, biotechnology and information processing technology. We should “adopt a comprehensive, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary pedagogical approach in a context of increasingly widespread, dispersed and constantly increasing knowledge”, “characterized by respect for the complexity and richness of reality, so that everyone “learns the laws of probability and relativity instead of absolute methods” (Rasekhp, & Vedinu, 1996, p. 86), and “uses training in materials and the organization of educational credits to equip the recipient with the ability to “learning to know” in order to achieve the goal of lifelong education”. Thanks to information technology, knowledge can be presented in multimedia such as text, images, animation, sound, video and graphics. The richness and variety of the real world can be simulated or virtualized, which is conducive to individualized teaching, group collaboration, remote real-time interaction, online learning, online discussion and other teaching methods, as well as changing the teacher from a lecturer and transmitter of knowledge to a helper and guide in the construction of meaning for the learner.
The mastery of educational content and methods underpins continuous learning and work, laying the foundation for each person to develop their full capacity to participate in and make informed decisions to improve their quality of life and move towards a life of dignity. Education also has a mission to promote a rational approach to knowledge, empowering basic learning needs to enable anyone in any society to look critically at the vast expanse of information and the complexity of the world, to have the capacity and responsibility to respect and rely on their common linguistic, spiritual and cultural heritage, to promote and advance the cause of social justice, to protect the natural environment on which it depends, to defend for “Humanitarian values and human rights universally accepted by the peoples of the world, thus building international peace and solidarity in an interdependent world.” (Zhao Zhongjian, 1996, p. 16)
In the face of the rapidly digitizing, colorful multimedia world, will the text’s place in information dissemination and education gradually recede from its central historical position like the old-fashioned phonograph? And will the long-winded text be replaced by complementary digital multimedia tools? In spite of the rapid development of information technology, “writing” and the written word are still the main and irreplaceable means and tools for mastering, organizing and expressing complex issues and preserving ideas. Science itself is not only externalized in the form of artifacts such as techniques, processes, technologies and products, but also in the form of knowledge such as concepts, laws and theories; it is also embedded in the spiritual form of its unique ideas, concepts and methods (Newton, 2006, Preface 6), which enables children to understand the logic of history, grasp the spirit of the times and absorb the power of scientific and humanistic thinking.
(3) The changing role of education in the 1990s: from economic globalization to trade in educational services
Since the twentieth century, the opening of economic and financial borders promoted by the theory of free trade has led to the rapid development of transnational corporations, reinforced by the collapse of the Soviet Union and fuelled by information technology, which has led to economic globalization becoming an irreversible trend in the development of the world economy. China’s formal accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 as the 143rd member country means that, except for educational institutions (such as military colleges and universities) that are fully funded by national governments, all educational activities of a commercial nature that charge tuition fees fall within the scope of education trade services, especially higher education, adult education and vocational and technical training, indicating that all WTO member countries have the right to participate in competition in education services, and that economic globalization has led to the formation of a large international market for trade in education services.
Economic globalization has brought opportunities to all countries but also crises and challenges to almost all of them, and the solutions to these crises and challenges have given education a different historical mission. Since the ripple effect of public decisions and actions in any country or region worldwide is first and foremost economic and technological. But the tensions between the “local” and the “global”, created by the vast political, economic, technological and cultural differences between countries, have led to a confluence of sensitivities and the free circulation of images and expressions that not only changes the relationship between nations but also changes the way people identify with the world. The growing interdependence of States is beginning to reveal imbalances, such as the growing imbalance between rich and poor countries, between the rich and the excluded within States, unrecognized ethnic and cultural diversity, which are rapidly becoming known to the disadvantaged sectors and inexorably breeding feelings of resentment, frustration, antipathy and even hostility. At the same time, there is also extreme nationalism for political separatism and social disintegration, as well as genocidal massacres and hate motivated ethnic cleansing campaigns (Delors, 1996, p. 225), and even the common destiny of the future of mankind is still threatened by the stockpiling of weapons by States, including the development of nuclear weapons for an “arms race” (Delors, 1996, p. 32) with the most advanced weapons. This imbalance is further exacerbated by the fact that the powerful countries or private groups that have access to information systems have real cultural and political influence and are thus able to promote certain obscure values in order to erode other cultural identities. Today, scientific and technological inventions have achieved significant results and the cold war pattern has come to an end. In the 1990s, marked by the increasing interdependence of peoples and the globalization of problems, education is also facing a shift from the concept of development as “all about economic growth” to a new vision of sustainable development, in which the sustainable development of each individual depends on education providing not only a complex and dynamic map of the world, but also a navigational compass so that individuals can seize and take advantage of opportunities throughout their lives to continually update, deepen, and enrich the knowledge they initially acquire in order to adapt to an ever-changing world. In other words, education has moved from the concept of “lifelong education” to a “learning society” and then to “lifelong learning”, a comprehensive educational concept in which learning to know, learning to do, learning to be and learning to live together are the four pillars that support lifelong learning.
“Learning to know” is reflected in the use of attention, memory and thinking ability to learn the three major categories of knowledge in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, through games, text reading, scientific experiments and other activities to cultivate children’s attention to focus on one thing for a long time, through boring, tedious memory training to avoid the individual affected by the immediate information of the media, in order to develop children’s associative memory, according to the characteristics of the subject combined with the use of deductive and inductive methods, from the concrete to the abstract and then from the abstract to the concrete repeated training of children’s thinking, through this process in order to achieve learning to know; “Learning to do” is the ability to teach a student to practice what he or she has learned so that it can be translated into new careers and new employment opportunities in a future that cannot be fully anticipated. This ability is a combination of “rigorous qualification, social behavior, collaboration, initiative and risk-taking (Delors, 1996, p. 80), acquired through technical and vocational training”; “Learning to be” means that individuals can, through quality education, achieve the freedom of thought, judgment, feeling and imagination necessary for any person in any society to fully develop their talents and take control of their future destiny, thereby assuming responsibility as individuals, members of a family and society, a human community, on the basis of increasing autonomy, judgment and responsibility; “Learning to live together” is reflected in an education that sows the seeds of concern for others from the earliest years of every person’s life, teaching through innovation and dialogue, listening to the voices of the oppressed and those in distress, promoting universal values and fostering a sense of concern and compassion for others, so that children can grow into world citizens who share a sense of common values and a common destiny and who are consciously concerned with the survival and well-being of humankind.
(4) Patterns of educational development in 2000-2010: from the Millennium Goals to sustainable development
The Heads of State or Government of the States Members of the United Nations, meeting at Headquarters in New York from 6 to 8 September 2000, in keeping with their universal desire and purpose to achieve peace, cooperation and development for all, voted to adopt the Millennium Declaration in eight areas, such as values and principles; peace, security and disarmament; development and poverty eradication; protection of our common environment; human rights, democracy and good governance; protection of the vulnerable; and meeting the special needs of Africa (UN, 2000). In December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a follow-up resolution to guide Member States in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration, and these measures are gradually forming a global blueprint for development. The blueprint, which began at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations and will be completed by the end of 2015, is a global blueprint for development with the participation of heads of State, academics, United Nations agencies, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, donor agencies and the private sector, setting out the direction and specific tasks for humanity as it enters the twenty-first century. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly further developed eight more actionable and measurable UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs, 2011) to “eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development” (UN, 2015). The Millennium Goals reaffirm that, in addition to their respective social responsibilities, the heads of State and Government of the United Nations have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of dignity, equality and equity for all peoples and nations throughout the world, with a particular responsibility to the vulnerable and to the children of the world who have a future.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the period 2000-2015 have documented the many efforts made to achieve the Millennium Declaration, highlighting tangible global achievements in various areas, but also recognizing that gaps remain and that lessons need to be learned and used as a basis for further action. Reflecting on the root causes of problems at the technical level and ignoring the value level will inevitably lead to a limited analysis of the causes and fail to reveal the power relations behind policies and practices, as well as the deep structure and influence mechanisms behind power. In an international development framework where power is entrenched, an analysis of phenomena only at the technical level can only cater to the short-term planning of the Millennium Development Goals and pay insufficient attention to the concept of sustainable development.
In order to transform the world to better meet the economic and living needs of human beings, there is an urgent need to protect the environment, maintain peace and effectively realize human rights, so that individuals with rights can have a sustainable future and, through their sustainable development, achieve sustainable development for all human beings. The UN Development Summit in September 2015 unanimously adopted “Changing our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” submitted by the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. This means that, as of January 2016, the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda have replaced the Millennium Development Goals of the early 21st century as “a social contract between world leaders and peoples”. They are both a list of actions for the benefit of people and the planet,” (Xinhua, 2016) and a blueprint for humanity’s quest for a sustainable future. Changing Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to develop an action plan of 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets for the sustainable development and prosperity of people and the planet, which are holistic and indivisible goals that will bring together all countries and stakeholders for cooperative action in areas of critical importance to people and the planet, taking into account the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. To take the much-needed transformative steps to eradicate all forms of poverty and deprivation and to make every effort to heal the wounds of the planet and provide continued protection to restore a world that is sustainable and has the potential for recovery. The reaffirmation of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls for the realization of human rights for all is undoubtedly a necessity for the sustainable development of each individual and a demand for world peace and sustainable development. In particular, it was emphasized that access to quality education is fundamental to improving people’s lives and achieving sustainable development, which entails ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all, as well as lifelong learning opportunities for all to cope with the rapid changes in science and technology and an uncertain future.
Education’s response to the spatial configuration of globalization
The global sustainable development goals emphasize and reaffirm comprehensive, inclusive, equitable, quality education with lifelong learning opportunities for all as a plan and aspiration for education to achieve sustainable development. Comprehensive education demonstrates the concern of education for the all-round development of each person’s personality, and the talents cultivated should possess such core characters and key abilities as humanistic literacy, scientific spirit, learning to learn, healthy living, responsibility and practical innovation, so as to meet the needs of lifelong learning and social development; inclusive education embodies the accessibility and inclusiveness of education. Because education is a basic human right that everyone in the world can exercise. Every country must ensure that all children have access to at least one year of free pre-school education and 12 years of government funded compulsory primary and secondary education, and that all young people and adults have access to learning opportunities for functional literacy and numeracy; equitable education is based on an understanding of and respect for the diversity of human beings in terms of ethnicity, race, beliefs and the elimination of any form of discrimination, exclusion, marginalization, injustice and other inequalities in access, participation, retention, completion and assessment of learning. Equitable education pays particular attention to gender equality and the role of women’s empowerment in sustainable development and lasting peace for humanity. Establish and improve educational facilities that integrate children, disability and gender to provide a safe, non violent, inclusive and effective learning environment for all, and significantly increase the amount of educational assistance to developing countries, especially the least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries on a global scale; the connotation of quality education is to ensure that all learners can master the knowledge and skills needed for sustainable development, carry forward the culture of peace and non violence, enhance the awareness of global citizens, (UN, 2001) and affirm the contribution of cultural diversity and culture to sustainable development so as to implement education for world citizenship by carrying out education on sustainable development, sustainable lifestyle, human rights and gender equality people education.
Whether quality education can be achieved is also reflected in the quantity and quality of teachers. We should strengthen cooperation between developed countries and developing countries, especially the least developed countries, and regularly carry out measures such as teacher training, long-term and short-term learning systems, and international assistance to increase the number of teachers in these countries and effectively improve the quality of teachers. Policy and legal measures can also be adopted to improve the working and social welfare conditions of teachers and other educational personnel in order to attract the best and most motivated teacher candidates and place them where they are most needed. Critically review, analyses and progressively improve the quality of pre-service and in-service training for teachers so that they can integrate brain research, cognitive science and cutting-edge technology to improve the teaching ecosystem and customize learning programmers’ to suit the different learning styles and needs of students and to accommodate creative learning with a critical and questioning spirit. The virtual classroom built by the Internet and information technology will enable children to learn in both the real and virtual worlds simultaneously, will enable university teachers around the world to teach all of the students simultaneously through internet and 3D technology, will enable the sharing of quality teacher resources through automatic real-time translation of the language of instruction, and will lead to new models of collective assessment and quality certification.
Developing and implementing effective feedback systems to support good teaching and ensure teacher motivation, establishing and reinforcing relationships between teachers and the community, which ensure the full participation of teachers in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of education policies. (In Xu Li, Wang Mo, & Cheng Huangdi, 2015, pp. 16-25)
The sustainable development of education also requires the concept of a “community with a shared future” (Song Qiang, 2018) to prepare the world citizens we need. The “community with a shared future” is a comprehensive and variable vision which covering economy, politics, society, humanity, ecology and culture. Due to the economic globalization, the material basis for human survival and development, as well as the science and technology based on the material basis have become the common interests of mankind. The globalization of the world has gradually weakened the ideology, conflicts between different civilizations and cultures implied in the process of capital circulation, which shows that only mutual understanding of the political ecological environment can help the realization of the community with a shared future. The virtuous functioning of various social forms, stages of development and different social systems is positively correlated with the survival and development of any individual member, so individuals, collectives and even the society share weal and woe. We should pay attention to the issues of morality, ethics, equity and justice, the humanistic environment based on “respect for life and human dignity, equality of rights, social justice, cultural diversity, international solidarity and common responsibility for creating a sustainable future” advocated by the humanistic education concept, as well as the public resources such as the ocean, air and ozone layer, and pay attention to the War, national interest disputes, population expansion and other reasons lead to irreversible destruction, consumption and urgent need to save the ecosystem. Compared with the conflicts in politics and economy, culture is deeply rooted because of its spiritual values. On the cultural level, recognition and persuasion are equal to cultural identity. An important factor in cultural development and economic prosperity throughout the world lies in mutual understanding between East and West, and only by understanding the logic of Western ways of doing things, critical thinking, curiosity about the unknown, and experimental approach to discovering the truth are the only way to truly understand Western culture. On the basis of understanding, we should form a common value consensus and cultivate the awareness of caring and sympathizing with others, so as to grow into a world citizen who pays attention to the common destiny and well-being of mankind.
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About the Authors
Prof. Dr. Jing Xiang: Associate Professor, Jiangxi Normal University (CHN); Head of the general pedagogic subject “A Scientific Approach to the Living Space of Children in the City”, sponsored by the National Social Science Fund in 2017 (Grant No. BHA170155); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ying Yan: Postgraduate of Elementary Education school Jiangxi Normal University (CHN); e-mail: email@example.com