Access to Education: A Guarantee of a Less Divided World?

Macdonald, H Ian
Corporate Author
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
Report/Paper Number
Access to Education: A Guarantee of a Less Divided World? The Sixth G. Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture, Gyan Darshan Educational Channel of Doodarshan, Indira Gandhi National Open University, The Commonwealth of Learning, New Delhi, India 2 July 2001 by Dr. H. Ian Macdonald, Chairman, The Commonwealth of Learning // I hope that Ram Reddy would have approved of the title of my Lecture- Access to Education: A Guarantee of a Less Divided World? I am sure that he would. During the all too brief period when I was privileged to work with him on the Board of Governors of The Commonwealth of Learning, I became instantly aware of two qualities: first, he insisted on knowing the objective of any course of action; second, he was in every sense a citizen of the world. And so, although he was a pioneer in the methodologies of distance education and open learning, he was forceful in forever raising the issue of the basic purpose of education. That purpose was no narrow or self-serving end; rather, it had a relationship to the concept of making the world a better place, both locally and globally. That is the task with which I wish to wrestle in my reflective monologue today. // For many years and in most places, philosophers have argued about the purpose of education: is it for individual betterment as an end in itself, or should it be for occupational preparation? In his famous discourses in 1852, Cardinal John Henry Newman argued: "Knowledge is capable of being its own end. Such is the constitution of the human mind, that any kind of knowledge, if it be really such, is its own reward." And yet, at that very time, the great universities of Oxford and Cambridge were also designed for occupational preparation: to produce teachers, lawyers, ministers, doctors and public servants.
Access, Education for All, Policy and Legislation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Sustainable Development
Asia, Global