ALLIANCES FOR KNOWLEDGE: A STRATEGY FOR BUILDING THE FUTURE OF UNIVERSITY IN THE DIGITAL SOCIETY
Prof. Maria Amata Garito
International Telematic University UNINETTUNO
Prof. Maria Amata Garito aimed to explore how the Internet could redefine the structure and purpose of traditional universities. She emphasizes the difficulties brought forth by technology, globalization, socioeconomic development, and changing training requirements, and she emphasizes how crucial reinvention is for universities to stay relevant. Making the case that colleges and universities must switch from a traditional pedagogical paradigm to one that encourages collaborative learning, is made possible by digital technologies, and offers a forum for knowledge exchange that cuts across geographical boundaries. She clarifies the implementation of an open, inclusive, and flexible educational paradigm that offers courses in several languages, boosting cross-cultural understanding and international interactions, through the case study of UNINETTUNO.
She, highlight that the 21st century is defined by new communication technologies that have accelerated the processes of globalization in our society and created a new interconnected world that functions locally but operates globally. The “psycho-digital” journey on the Internet, where the global and the local intertwine, allows us to externalize consciousness at a planetary level. Even in our past, in the depths of time, we formed a collective, but we were not aware of it. Today, we have the opportunity to rediscover and experience, with all its complexity and challenges, the fundamental unity of all humankind, and, most importantly, to instil this awareness in the minds of those who will inherit the fate of this planet. On a global scale, the political choices and strategies of governments to materialize a new model of society and development that fosters synergy between technological innovations and human values are not yet visible. So, she strongly promote the creation of a global network of public and private universities, putting an emphasis on shared expertise, resources, and professor and student mobility. Her study is divide is four column, explaining the need of a global system of teaching and learning.
TRANSFORMATION IMPERATIVES FOR UNIVERSITIES
In this context, the very concept of education and training is undergoing a transformation, necessitating targeted interventions by public authorities. It is crucial that, alongside a new model of social ethics, new systems and public policies emerge to facilitate the development of innovative organizational models for schools, training centers, and universities at the local, national, and international levels. These models should integrate both physical and virtual presence, enabling them to effectively address the complex training needs of individuals in the 21st century. Curricula should encompass knowledge from different countries and languages, equipping individuals with the tools to respect cultural, religious, and political differences, as well as to effectively utilize new technologies and languages. The integration of professional skills with general cultural competencies is essential, enabling individuals to navigate complexity.
DISTANCE EDUCATION AS A CATALYST FOR INNOVATION
Traditional universities must embrace reinvention and break free from stagnation. Transformation is no longer an optional path but an unavoidable imperative. “In a world characterized by unparalleled connectivity, particularly among today’s youth, universities continue to operate as isolated entities focused on erudition and learning, failing to fully leverage the Internet’s potential to break down the barriers separating institutions, faculty, and students.” Moreover, “The convergence of the new web, the new generation of students, the demands of the global knowledge economy, and the aftermath of the economic crisis is creating a ‘perfect storm’ for universities, with signs of imminent change becoming increasingly evident.
INTERNATIONAL TELEMATIC UNIVERSITY UNINETTUNO INTERNATIONALIZATION MODEL
This model has been realized by the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, which has developed a unique educational platform worldwide, offering courses in five languages (Italian, English, French, Arabic, Greek), with plans to expand its content to additional languages. Instead of relying solely on translations of content from faculty members of traditional Italian universities, UNINETTUNO has engaged the expertise of top faculty members from various universities around the world. Each faculty member has the opportunity to deliver their teachings in their own language, fostering internationalization. Students and faculty members hail from different countries worldwide, not only from Europe and the United States but also from Arab countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey, to the 167 countries of origin of the students currently enrolled in UNINETTUNO higher education programs. Prominent professors from these countries, selected based on the international quality of their publications, have taught and continue to teach on the UNINETTUNO platform in their own languages. Courses in certain faculties, like Engineering, are offered in Arabic, French, English, and Italian, while other faculties are also developing content in English. Master’s courses are already exclusively delivered in English, with some even offered in Greek.
TOWARD GLOBAL ALLIANCES FOR KNOWLEDGE
The construction of a global society necessitates a new approach to the internationalization of educational systems. This internationalization should be based on the sharing of curricula and the formation of consortia among universities from countries with diverse policies and cultures. When the interconnected intelligences of faculty and students from different regions of the world, with no imposition of a cultural model over another one, harness the power of new social network systems and virtual interactions offered by the online world to create new knowledge, then they can establish a true laboratory for intercultural and interlingual cooperation to make the new generations able to develop a critical sense of knowledge and make them protagonists of change.
She concluded her study with a compelling call for democratizing information access and advocating the use of the internet to establish an open, global system of teaching and learning. This vision upends conventional wisdom and sets the path for a day when learning is genuinely limitless in the context of education.