Education must be freely available regardless of age, race or gender. Any degree of discrimination causes harm to those discriminated against.
The purpose of fulfilment without harm needs to be taught in schools as does the origin of education. Where education came from, its history and development, needs to be understood so people know why they study at school.
Lack of purpose is a prime cause of the shiftless, soulless modern reality many find themselves in, with some turning to religion, although its truths, revealing purpose and principle, are so mired in contradiction and obscurity they are missed or mistaken.
Education should be as flexible as it can be to the interests of the student, and individual expression encouraged, as the diversity of potential human contributions is unlimited.
Academic institutions and educational achievements within academia are not good predictors of knowledge. They should not be taken as the sole indicators of knowledge and understanding, as these can be developed outside of academia through personal study and experience.
Much of academia is built up around bodies of knowledge that complicate the subjects they deal with. The success of academic institutions is linked to this complexity, as they hold the key to it.
Fulfilment without harm is knowledge people can easily grasp and share. That this understanding is the vital foundation to build a working, cooperative society, undermines the idea that years of academic education is required to comprehend big issues.
That people, following their own lines of enquiry, their own interests, and their own ideas, can educate themselves to greater discovery and enlightenment than an institutional course is not what institutions want commonly known.
Institutions prefer the doctrine that no great things can be known until people have completed lengthy study at academic institutions. But the basic principles most important to people’s growth do not require great intellect or qualifications.
For greatest learning, people need to direct their own learning. For this, open institutions, open information, and open assessment are needed.
The internet facilitates self-directed study and shared, non-institutionalised knowledge. With its resource and facility people become learners in the greatest library of the world, directing their own lines of enquiry, sharing their thoughts and making discoveries.
The development of technologies like the internet give people more time to develop more technologies in a virtuous cycle of technological development.
The formal structure of university subjects, papers and assessment is restrictive. Universities would be better to foster the love of learning, providing facilities rather than formalising the process and delineating subject areas.
The learning process and subject matter can be left to students. If they are free to choose their subjects outside of the formal structure of departments and disciplines, develop their own reading lists in harmony with their own subject interests, and create their own questions according to their interests, they will love learning and create new thought.
Learning, expression and originality should be assessed, not the regurgitation of subject matter in response to standardised questions developed in separate departments.
It is the knowledge of those interested in the areas they are interested in that makes for the so called ‘wisdom of crowds’, but the people in the crowds who contribute in their areas of interest are not crowds of people, they are the self-selected few with an active interest.
Opening the gates to any contribution (to the ‘crowds’) enables all those with interest in an area to contribute, not just those within academia. The people with interest in an area, for whom the structured, departmental world of academia jars, can be the most informed and knowledgeable because their knowledge is unbound by academic boundaries.
[Excerpt from The Common Purpose Manifesto]