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A rare opportunity to inject ethical considerations into education - Jason Blackstock

Higher Education was the topic when we welcomed Jason Blackstock to a recent Hattusia meet up.

Jason is the Founder and CEO of How to Change the World – a social enterprise spin-out from University College London that delivers experiential education programs based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals in partnership with leading universities around the world. From 2013-2018 he was the Founding Head of UCL’s Department of Science, Technology Engineering and Public Policy, and he has previously taught, led research and provided policy advice from universities and think tanks including Harvard, Oxford, the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Jason’s introduction was “Higher education is going through a radical transformation, and discussions about what higher education should be shifting out of academia and into broader society. We're seeing more societal discussions about who can have access to what kinds of knowledge. But to better understand this shift, we must first look at where our current models came from, and why they are no longer fit for purpose.”

The synopsis for Jason’s talk was:

On the one hand, the fourth industrial revolution is creating entirely new educational and skills requirements for citizens, corporations and countries – requirements that we are only beginning to understand as accelerating automation across industries increasingly alters the human employment landscape. On the other, the same foundational technologies at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution present unprecedented opportunities for democratising and open-sourcing educational resources… or not, depending on how educational systems are structured. At the heart of both accelerating trends are higher education institutions who are both driving the knowledge generation and education that fuels the technological revolutions, and grappling with multi-hundred-year-old legacy hierarchical structures… while governments and societies are increasingly asking whether the current systems are (remotely) fit-for-purpose in this new world. As a result, new experiments are emerging around the world… and ethical considerations need to be at the heart of the redesign of our new socio-technical higher and live-long education systems.

Jason provided us with an in-depth view of the structure of the current model of higher education and then spoke on what an educational model fit for the 21st century might look like. Unsurprisingly, Jason’s provocation sparked lots of great questions as well.

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