Georges Haddad, a high-profile director at UNESCO, stresses that education in the 21st century is becoming more challenging and more stressful for families in many countries.
“It’s so sad to see many students are intensively stressed by education, and when they fail they lose their confidence, lose self-respect to commit suicide,” he said.
“We don’t want education stress, but it should remain a joy.”
Since 2010, Haddad has been leading UNESCO’s Education Research and Foresight.
He was at the World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar to discuss how to plan education for the future.
Following are excerpts from an interview with The Korea Herald.
Korea Herald: What is your view on the future of higher education?
Haddad: The concept of higher education is changing slowly. Now you have a bachelor’s degree at 20, have a master’s degree at 22, and Ph.D. at 25, then you are lost completely in society. We can’t continue like this. It’s so important now that we do not focus only on a diploma itself as a goal, but focus on knowledge acquisition.
Herald: Do you think Korea can be an education role model for developing countries?
Haddad: Korea created a “renaissance” from great suffering; now many emerging countries are copying the Korean education model. Yes, Korea is a model. It’s a real kind of paradigm of what could be done in the last 60 years. But my question is what will happen in 60 years? We should not concentrate on analyzing in the medium-term, because history is not written in 60 years.
Herald: What kinds of reforms are needed for higher education?
Haddad: We have to rethink how we evaluate knowledge. For instance, I’m at UNESCO trying to analyze the process of university ranking, how this has been evaluated. Some countries say they want to have top-10 universities in the world in 20 years. But we need to have universities at all levels. If we focus only top-class universities, education is dead.