Irrelevance of educational curricula Ineffective social education Imbalance of educational curricula Prescribed irrelevant curriculum Disrelated school lessons
For essentially historical reasons, the subjects of traditional curricula are given a value that often bears little relation to their educative or social usefulness. Literature and history are generally invested with greater prestige than geography or economics, and the study of classics takes precedence over learning about the contemporary world. Even science as a whole suffers from such prejudice: pure science is often more highly regarded than applied science. Many educational programmes are therefore ill-adapted to provide knowledge of the real universe, as the present generation sees it, and to the problems facing people today: military, social and racial conflicts; worldwide famine; pollution; the status of youth and women; and the condition of minority groups. Educators may feel that they do not possess sufficiently accurate information on these subjects, or they may wish to avoid controversial subjects, or the subjects may require multidisciplinary treatment which would be hard to include in strictly subject-based timetables. Furthermore, the unwillingness to recognize that curriculum goes beyond compartments of subject matter hinders the development of non-formal efforts to make schooling more responsive to the real life needs of persons of all ages.
No educational institution or informal educational system today equips people with techniques to plan and act toward their community, toward their nation or toward the world. This is reflected in the massive disquiet seen among workers, students, parents and teachers alike. In many developing countries, especially former colonies, education dominated by imported values and systems, has no relevance to the local or national needs. In fact, in many countries, there is no social education at all. The so-called education is directed towards producing graduates who are insipid, devoid of roots in their own culture and socially useless. Education today is geared towards a materialistic life style characterized by ever increasing sophistication and extravagance. It is producing tensions, strain and exhaustion even among the relatively affluent section of the people in their pursuit of the means to afford the consumption standards required by this life style. In the resultant competition, those who cannot afford, and therefore, cannot satisfy their needs, basic or imaginary, have little time or patience to think in terms of duty towards community, nation or world. This is even less so for the vast majority of poor whose major concern is food while clothing and shelter occupy only second and third place in their priorities.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.