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Information technology in the global age


Published with the kind permission of I.P.O. Information Service

Tokyo, Japan

President of International Progress Organization addresses 12th International Forum on Lifelong Integrated Education.

Addressing an audience of over 1,000 delegates at Pacific Convention Plaza Yokohama, Japan, the President of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), Dr. Hans Köchler, called upon all stakeholders in the field of education, including governments, to follow a humanistic approach in the teaching of information technology and in the application of IT in the field of education. He said that digital competence must be defined in a holistic and comprehensive sense. Instead of merely focusing on computer and software skills, education should also include critical analysis and awareness of the consequences of information technology, and in particular artificial intelligence, on the individual’s perception of reality, and on society in general. In a keynote speech at the 12th International Forum on Lifelong Integrated Education, organized by the Tokyo-based Nomura Center, Dr. Köchler described the impact of the new social media on public discourse and democratic decision-making in industrialized societies and called for better mechanisms to protect citizens’ rights in the age of big data and borderless communication. In the “global village” of today, one of the principal tasks of lifelong learning will be to ensure – and sustain – the individual’s ability to keep pace with the rapid development of information technology. Only digital competence at the meta-level – as ability to understand and identify the impact of IT on our perception, and construction, of reality – can preserve the autonomy of our action and, ultimately, human dignity, Dr. Köchler concluded. As from 2019, Dr. Köchler will serve as Academic Director of the Institute for Culture Development at the newly established Berlin University of Digital Sciences. 

Mr. Manabu Miyagawa, Director-General for Cultural Affairs at the Foreign Ministry of Japan, Ms. Mami Oyama, Director-General for International Affairs at the Ministry of Education of Japan, and Mrs. Yumiko Kaneko, Director-General of the Nomura Center for Lifelong Integrated Education, among others, addressed the opening session of the conference. Speakers included Dr. Barbara Ischinger, former Director for Education and Skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mr. Hideka Morimoto, Vice-Minister at the Ministry of the Environment and former Director of the Nuclear Safety Agency of Japan, and Dr. Akihiro Chiba, Asst. Director-General (ret.) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Representatives of foreign branches of the Nomura Center for Lifelong Integrated Education and delegates from Brazil, Bulgaria, P.R. China, Germany, India, Republic of Korea, Norway, Palestine, Panama, Slovakia, United Kingdom, and the United States participated in the debates.

Text of speech by Dr. Hans Köchler is available here