WHAT THE FUTURE WILL BE LIKE IN 2000 A.D. ?
By Bro. Bancha Saenghiran
I. GENERAL BACKGROUND AND TRENDS:
Alvin Toffer, in his 'The Third Wave' has said: 'In probing the future in the pages that follow, therefore, we must do more than identify major trends. Difficult as it may be, we must resist the temptation to be seduced by straight lines. Most people - including many futurists - conceive of tomorrow as a mere extension of today, forgetting that trends, no matter how seemingly powerful, do not merely continue in a linear fashion. They reach tipping points at which they explode into new phenomena. They reverse direction. They stop and start. Because something is happening now, or has been happening for three hundred years, is no guarantee that will continue.' The general idea is that the actual future of the society will probably not be a straight-line path. What the writer wants to do, is to make a future projection of life style into the 2000 A.D. basing his judgment on the present American standard of living.
In the year 2000 A.D. the following areas can be considered:
1. Eoonomic: The basic needs are generally satisfied. Production, distribution, communication, and transportation systems are essentially global. They require and depend upon, the resources of the entire planet and, more importantly, the global interchange of research, development, and technical and managerial expertise.
As a reaction to such economic development of the world, it is to be marked by profound resolutions of rising expectations, disharmony. and social discontent.
2. Scientific-Technological: There will be much progress in scientific and technological areas. There will be, on one hand improvement in industrialization, better transportation, and communication. Computers will be utilized in every home or by every person. Medicine will be more effective. More equipments will be manufactured and used, and so forth. With these improvements, there comes the problem attached to each improvement which men never foresee. Two major problems can be cited as examples:
(i) There is a loss of control of the management of human affairs. In the areas of nuclear power, the destruction may be unimaginable. The nuclear warfare in the future may be in terms of Psychological warfare instead of actual blasting of them. In terms of medicine, the side effects may create someting unheard of, etc.
(ii) The gap between the industrialized and under developed nations will be worsened. This will go according to social principle in that the poor will become poorer and the rich will be richer, Thus in the prosperous nations, there will be an acceleration of technological and industrial development, while there will occur the staggering problems in the overbreeding and underdeveloped countries.
3. Cultural-Psychological. Since the basic needs of man are satisfied, and according to Maslow, man mav in the future tend to be 'growth-motivated, instead of 'deficiency-motivated. This shift, even right now, is showing itself in the higher valuations placed on the feeling and subjective side of life, on self realization, and on finding meaning and significance in work.
Psychologically, there will be increasing stress on personal level, producing forces on the individual. The future will be characterized by a good deal of fear of change, fear of powerlessness, fear of loss of privacy and independence, fear of insecurity, etc.
4. Social-Ecological: In the existing society, there exists already the gap between the rich and the poor. With the increase in affluence, there will also be the increase in self-consciousness of the under-class. Thus there will be increasing imbalance between the haves and the have-nots. Family unit which is already loosened, will be in the future deteriorated up to the point of no formation of family. The social web that can pull the people in the society together will be just individual security and survival.
5. Beliefs and Values: Since man will become 'growth-motivated, therefore awareness of self and of his relations to others will come to the front. Man will discover values which are wholesome in terms of promoting his growth toward the most fully human state and his actualization of his highest potentialities. His basic needs will be towards growth and becoming. Deep personal relationship will be highly valued, again because in experiencing them, one more fully will experience himself.
6. Educational: In the year 2000 A.D., schools in the forms we have known will virtually disappear. Instead, education will take place via combined systems of machines and human assistants located in homes, neighborhood centers, specialized learning centers, museums, and industrial and business locations. A diversity of educational paths will be available, and men will not be judged on the basis of single uniform academic standard, Education will center on developing self-learning habits and skills, problem-solving and decision-making abilities, individuality, sound valuing capabilities, capability of continuous self-renewal, and self-understanding. Furthermore, there will also be an increasing involvement of education with other social institutions.
On the whole, there will be more years of education per person and a near-hundred-percent literacy rate.
7. Daily-living: Each individual will be provided enough resources, and in such a way, as to enable him to live in dignity. Underlying the economic system will be the proposition that each free man has the right to a full life, which includes useful, rewarding work and self-developing.
New applied technology will have affected life in many ways. New types of household devices, many based on small computers and elaborated communication services, will be available, not only transforming the life of the housewife, but also allowing education and various forms of business to be carried on in the home. For example, before going to work, to avoid the traffic congestion, the person travelling can consult the computer for which route to take and how long it will take to reach the place. And if one desires to take an particular route, when will the traffic be thinned down. The housewife in the future can get any information concerning the availability and prices of the goods from the home-computer. Ordering and paying of money will be done in the same way. The time will come that this society will be turned to person-centered society. Mobility will be less since each one can do everything in his own home, either in terms of food, schooling or business.
Religion will be of lesser value to the new generation. Marriage life will be in a younger age, thus accelerated the generation gap and towards the beginning of 2000 A.D., marriage life may not be necessary for procreation. Family life will be in the form of those who are compatible and can associate with one another to make their life happy.
8. The Generation-Gap: As the acceleration of the advancement in technology, science, etc. are going on, the existing generation gap will become wider. The alienated young will be raising another generation, also alienated. There will be more tension arising from the dissatisfaction, and dissention of the time.
II. GENERAL IMPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATION:
With the above projection in mind in the year 2000 A.D. trends towards education will be as follows:
There will be an expanding fraction of the population involved in education.
2. There will be a new conscious role of education.
3. There will be an increasing involvement of education with, and functional relationship to other social institutions.
4. There will be an extension duration of the educational period.
5. There will be an extension of educa? tion to industry, community, and home.
6. There will be a departure from traditional methods of instruction.
7. And consequently, there will be a movement toward an atmosphere of shared learning.
8. There will be a current replacing sequential arrangement of educa? tion and work.
Consider the programs now going on in the school. They are reading, writing, mathematics, language, social studies, athletics, science, and religion.
1. Reading: In the year 2000 A.D., there will be high utility program in reading. Students need to know how to read. This belief can be confirmed by the way the records are kept. Thousand of literature, books, magazines, newspapers, etc., have been written. Writing is one of the major ways of communication. And even the new invention in computer,. In order to use it effectively, one needs to know now to read.The school has to prepare students how to read. As adults in 2000 A.D., they must be able to read variety of books and assimilation has to be made accurately and concisely. Teach them how to make use of the library, how to search for knowledge from various text-books, etc.
2. Writing: There will be high utility program in writing. The communication in the year 2000 A.D., will be global and one means is through writing. From the above mentioned area of educational trend, the writer also mentions about the higher rate of literacy of near hundred-percent.
The school has to prepare a program 111 such a way that the students in the year 2000 A.D., must be able to express his idea in writing accurately and concisely. They must practice reading and writing together in an efficient manner. The emphasis must also be on fast reading, since in the future it is an era of information. Students must be quick to read to cope with the abundance of news and in formations that flow in daily.
3. Athletics: There will be hight utility program in athletics. The need to keep the body healthy and strong will always be there in the year 2000 A.D. especially when that time comes, due to the introduction of new technologies and sciences, we will be less mobile.
The school must build In the progTam vanous athletic programs and sports to create a habit in the students for exercises. moveover, in the year 2000 A.D., people will be in stress due to dissatisfaction and desire. Athletics and Sports will help release the tension and they can be a part of their life in their leisure and recreation. The school must train the students to know how to play sports and athletic programs in that spirit.
4. Mathematics: There will be low utility in this area. The reason for my belief is that the technology in computers is accelerating. The computation done by man will be obsolete and computer use will replace it. Inspite of this fact, the school still should maintain the teaching of basic mathematics for the elementary operation of the compu ter and for the indirect effect of logical thinking.
5. Seience:There will be low utility. Science and technology in the modern world has moved at a giant stride. What has been taught in the school now will be irrelevant. Even now, the plaything of a child may be more complicated than what is taught in the school. Man thrives to improve on the existing technology and science to make life better. There will be continuous research In nuclear power, medicine, elcctricit y, industry, energy, etc. According to Tofller in his, 'The Third Wave,' we are right now at the thresh-hold of the 'Info-Techno' phase. Thus by the year 2000 A.D. the experiment or the subject taught in class will not be of any use.
As I have mentioned earlier, there will be an increasing involvement of education with other social institutiolls. Therefore, the school should allow the students to have direct contact with outside institutions in area of science so that they will be able to cope with change. Meanwhile, the school acts as an intermediary and introduces the students to the principles of the subject.
6. Language: There are no high utility or low utility programs. Though language computer-interpreter may act as an in fallible interpreter, yet the writer believes that people do not fed comfortable with the media used. At the other end, travelling in the fu ture will be global, fast and oftener. Interaction between people of various nationalities will be done. Yet language will still move at the middle pace, since language is an art th at takes time to develop and. needs practice and skill on the part of man to do it. Thus the school still has a good role to play in the area of teaching language. In this regards teaching language will be that of presenting real situations.
7. Social Studies: There will be high utility program. By the year 2000 A.D. materially man will be the master of the universe. Personal ralationship, self-growth will be taken up. School must prepare program in such a way to prepare students for an increasingly humans future. To this purpose, it must operate in on ever more humanistic fashion. Concern for individuals, respect for human dignity and integrity, cooperative effort, respect for human rights, caring for others, must be established not only as matters for students to learn but as guidelines for action and criteria for educational assessment in all aspects of schooling. In other words, the school must teach the students to learn to live with themselves and other people. Guidance and conseling programs will play a very great role.
8. Religion: There will be high utility program in the year 2000 A.D. Man runs after material comforts. By the year 2000 A.D., economic as well as other basic meeds are generally satisfied. Man is capable to invent many things. Thus we tend to forget about God. As in years past. religion is the fiber that holds members of society together. Though the school cannot teach religion in the United States, but various activities can be organized to the purpose. Moral class can be offered to instill in the hearts and minds of students a sense of higher value.