The rapid digitization of global economies and societies in general have exposed the soft underbellies of using technology as the primary foundation of growth and development. The global society in general is ill-prepared to wholesomely assimilate the globalization idea within the mainstream social and economic development agenda. Additionally, the familiarity of the traditional systems and institutions is proving to be a big millstone that needs to be overhauled if we are to effectively and efficiently push forward the digital economy and society agenda. These drawbacks have proven to be the main stumbling blocks in our quest of establishing a collective destiny. Opportunities that come with digitized economy and society have not be effectively tapped due to the push-and-pull tag of war between traditional and digital mindsets and systems.
One key area of the society that has suffered the full brunt of this lack of consensus is the global education sector. There is disconnect between the current education systems and traditions and the prevailing and potential opportunities in the labor market as a result of globalization and digitization of our societies. On one hand, talents are bogged down to restrictive and discriminative traditions that promote inequality and exclusivity within the global education sector. On the other hand, the demands of today’s labor markets, economy and society in general call for a more collaborative, progressive and inclusive approach to training talents.
These seemingly opposing realities then begs the question: is the time ripe for globalization and digitization of our economies and societies? On the surface, the answer to this question might seem obvious as we have witnessed the plethora of opportunities and benefits that comes with globalized and digitized economies and societies. However, the numerous hurdles such innovative ideas have faced over the years point to a global population that reluctant, ill-prepared to embrace the innovative ideas or both. Consensus building, which is one of fundamental blocks to achieving a fully globalized and digitized societies, is historically a painstakingly slow process.
While it is encouraging that the idea of consensus building has been mooted with some inroads already being made, the nagging question is: is there political from our leaders to see this process through? The history of bilateral and multinational treatises and agreements does not inspire hope that our leaders can summon enough courage to oversee successful consensus building process. Leaders renegading on their promises and obligations have jeopardized several regional and international treatises and agreements. Essentially, such treatises would form important benchmarks and precursors for global consensus building on embracing innovative education systems and digitized and globalized economies and societies. Combined, these factors underscore the inhibitors that have stunted the growth of such revolutionary ideas.
Moreover, the manner in which such discussions have been handled also contribute to challenges faced by the push for global consensus building. Operating with a top-down approach confines these conversations within the narrow spaces of individuals and institutions tagged as relevant stakeholders. A global agenda is too big an idea to consult the most relevant stakeholders only. It requires the participation of masses through inversion of the current top-down approach. The people should take center stage in driving the ideas forward as the primary and most relevant stakeholders. Business and political leaders, governments and the civil society should primarily concern themselves with the question of how to facilitate public participation.