Monday, 28 September 2015 10:57

About knowledge, science and education …

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Have you ever thought that the branches of contemporary science, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and so, are actually concepts created by really bright and inspired :) minds in order to close the gap between personal/human and universal knowledge :), there are definitely other reasons :):). Said otherwise the given three “disciplines” are part of the branches of natural science and could be described as our best way of expressing our understanding of the (particular) laws of nature around us. For instance the mathematics is “initially” built upon axioms, which by definition are something like given or truly believed starting points of reasoning... and for example Wikipedia gives the following list of axioms, but that’s not my point. My point is rather the concept of knowledge and our understanding/description of the World:) through it... (just to note that despite the fact that I’m constantly giving hyperlinked information about the subjects I write, I rarely look at it now...but sure I used to read, not much but deeply:)...). Hence said in my words knowledge is our best perception of the World surrounding us. Then (written) science is our best notation (letters, numbers...meaning:)...) of our knowledge, as the scientific notation was created also by inspired:) and gifted minds... Or science could also be described as our best perception of Universal-knowledge (the laws of the Universe and the Nature, as I consider the humanitarian and social sciences as their subdivision) at given time (for instance, think about the atom as of the time of Aristotle and Niels Bohr...:)).

Then, there is a saying: “that in a longer period, under the Sun survives only the truth ...?”, which in terms of the Pythagorean theorem is quite true, BUT looking backwards we could find also regrettable periods of our “development”, such as the dark ages of the inquisition and again just for instance its blind claim that the Earth is in the centre of the Universe ... The latter lived regrettably long and it’s an example of what I would call “quazi-science” ...or uncritically accepted prejudice...

So let’s move towards education:), which in my words could be described as a process of organized learning or scientific transfer of the (presumably:)) universal/scientific knowledge to people. And as of today, the era of ICT (information&communication&technology), one could easily find lots of rankings and so, giving or trying to give some/best measurement of “educational goodness :)” or efficiency. Here just an example of “Academic ranking” that I personally like (do not want to discuss here about the particular ranking methodology, but if you want have a look, according to me it is good...). Well regarding the given ranking one can easily see that the majority of the top World Universities are American (US) and British, see bellow (just to note that here I list only the first 10 simply because that’s the best of “my print-screen”:)):

 

Source: http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2015.html

I’ve tried to discuss the subject in a Facebook discussion, where I was given both some relevant and according to me not very relevant points, so here just few of them:

-          - the given ranking is paid by ...? I do not know that and according to me the described by the Shanghai University ranking methodology is good and sound:).

-          - the language used in the given scientific journals and platforms for publication is primly English - well yes it’s a limitation, but could you tell me a better one:)? Also in my best belief the meaning/knowledge has no language and when found is translated into many languages:), at the moment the “most powerful” of them happens to be English:), but it hasn’t always been this way...

-          - and then I personally do not take a side, rather try to be objective, so at the very moment you’re reading this, check with what software/processor works your computer or mobile device:) and I hope you will personally see a practical example of an outcome of the above ranking:)...

So if we accept the above ranking for relevant (why not:)?), let’s try to see what might be the reasons for its hierarchy. As you might have seen, I live in Finland, a small Nordic country famous with its high quality “gymnasium” schooling :)), but then let’s see where Finland in the given Academic Ranking stays? Let’s take the first 100, where at N67 comes the University of Helsinki (the only one within the first 100), which is really great for our small nation:), but for instance the equally small Denmark ranks N35 (University of Copenhagen) and N73 (Arhus University) applying the same ranking criteria and given two very similar by scope and size Nordic systems (given the applied criteria a University almost half-way in front plus a second University in the 100, equals a big number of students/lecturers and scientific publications...).

Also why one of the best systems for “gymnasium” schooling, is not equally good at University level? The reasons are surely a lot and I do not have knowledge about many of them, but here my modest opinion about at least an important one – the level of high-quality internalization of some or many of the Finnish Universities, includes both the lecturers and the alumni... In contrast the top World Universities, such as Harvard, Stanford, Oxford :) and so on...are highly international – the bright mind has no colour or accent:), its prime feature is creative difference:).

I want also to note that in my view an important prerequisite for productive and creative internalization goes much beyond solely the educational system. It’s the whole cluster of nation-wide infrastructure and environment supporting transparency and creativity:). In that regard and for my sadness the current strong anti- immigration and radical nationalist movements, are something towing the whole Europe backwards... Yes I understand that the refugee crisis is a problem, but see no creative way of solving it through hate and blind prejudices! Quite on the contrary the latter are things spoiling the quality of productive and creative national environment and internalization. Let’s not forget that the cultural and scientific heritage of the civilized mankind is multicultural outcome of productive (now-days international) human collaboration – the letters, the numbers, the computers:) and so..., neither that a contemporary great mind like Steve Jobs is an adopted child from Syrian origin, who was suspended several times from the prime school for misbehaviour...and later on went out of the college ... Still in the given “productively-inspirational-creative :) wow” environment he managed to become one of the most successful innovators and businessmen of recent time! If I remember correctly, the part with the college with Bill Gates was similar, but the part with the business success not:) and I believe that despite their personal qualities, here in front comes again the inspirational and productively friendly environment around them... I’ve never been to the US, but looking from aside and envisioning education... it seems that the US system is somehow more rational, when speaking about academic-schooling and science...A system closer to the high-quality of the content in terms of creativity and productivity, instead of the presumably taken for granted high status of a diploma/degree :)...seen in other systems and parts of the World. Also the US business environment tends to be such recognizing and adapting creativity briskly, including its productive absorption from elsewhere in the World...

P.S. Well let’s try to assume a situation from the real life :). Try to imagine a big contemporary company with, for simplicity, only two prime types of bosses (the other types could be found from the scale in between...): 1) an “uncolleged visionary – that in my view, does not necessarily equal uneducated” boss of type “Steve Jobs” and 2)MBA of type “the invisibly big, which was about half of an almost empty set :)”. Well either of them could be a good or bad personality, father or so, but when it comes to creativity and innovation, it is the creative difference or the gifted visionary which in “normal” environment will outperform and lead. His alternative, who in the given imaginary example could also be described as “degree of clichés :)", might also be a good executive (CEO :)), but highly unlikely a productively creative one...

P.S.2 One of the two from the P.S. example will almost always try to shape the future into strictly quantified clichés J, while the other one could quite likely step out of the box and create brighter dimensions ...Some of the best like Steve (and others J), for as many of us/(all?) as possible ...

 

P.S.3 Have you ever asked yourself is the melody knowledgeJ? In my New Finnish and European Generation point of view if it thrills you or otherwise motivates your reaction ...YES J!

Kind regards, Rosti 

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