By Alexandra Sverrisson, faz
Yesterday afternoon SOFIMUN offered its delegates and participants the chance to hear Hristian Daskalov’s guest lecture on the topic of open source education. His first vital point covered the issue of contemporary global crisis that has spread indif
ferent branches for the last several years. The present state of the economic sector has proved the lack of execution of proper change and crisis management. Daskalov argued further that mismanagement on high levels has led to a mixture of serious problems not only for the current global situation, but also for future generations. The old system just proves to be unable to satisfy the demands of our social environment. Having to deal with debt, unemployment and the inefficacy of the old status quo, citizens start expressing their frustration on a global scale. The last months have simply proven this point: mass protests in Turkey, Bulgaria and Brazil exemplify just a few cases of loud display of dissatisfaction and willingness to express it.
Daskalov pointed out that this hindering situation has nevertheless given birth to a new wave of political activity: the freelance politicians. This type of politically engaged citizens promote policies that are considered relevant for their community. Yet they don’t hide behind the name of a specific political party which distinguishes them from the traditional idea of a political activist.
Coming to his point, Daskalov linked the mentioned political structure to the second social system that also massively lags behind: education. Rooted in the 19th century, the whole concept is so heavily outdated that it simply cannot serve the needs of our labour market. Based on studies, employers seek for interpersonal and intellectual skills, flexibility, the ability to take more responsibility and to analyze more complex tasks in their employees. The current education system, however, has only limited knowledge to offers. It basically fails to adapt to the new reality.
Daskalov offered therefore his resolution to the problem. He introduced the open source form of education which is similar to the above mentioned freelance political activity: he called it “hacking the system”, meaning getting rid of the old one and replacing it with an efficient new one. The open source program brings all the pieces together, because it endorses knowledge of the human culture and the world, it builds up personal and social responsibility, and develops the flexibility in a variety of situations. Open source practices cover high impact practices such as learning communities, common intellectual experiences, community-based learnings etc.
The best part of Daskalov’s presentation was the fact that all this theoretical proposals actually do find their implementation in reality. The Find a Friend @ NBU (New Bulgarian University) mentoring program, for example, offers students the possibility to interact with and to learn from one another. New students build up contacts with students from a higher semester in which way the crucial base of a learning community is set, where people not only receive, but deliver knowledge. Already familiar with the shifts in our society, students can only benefit from the open source forms of education, part of which is also the SOFIMUN conference.