Project funded by the Consejo de Educación Superior (Council of Higher Education) in Ecuador.
The project Ecuador: Developing a Knowmad Society 3.0 (“Sociedad Knowmad”) strives to create opportunities for meaningful educational transformation by reducing the distance between our visions of the future and the reality of today. The research initiative is sponsored by the Republic of Ecuador’s Secretary of Higher Education, Science, Technology, and Research (SENESCYT). The final product will be a co-creative action agenda that aims to better prepare schools and teachers for new education futures in Ecuador.
The biggest problem in education: Our schools do precisely what they are designed to do. Our systems produce graduates with knowledge, skills, and loyalty necessary to serve as factory workers and government bureaucrats. As Ecuador moved into the knowledge and innovation economy from the mid-20th century onward, this profile of purpose has become antiquated. Recent studies by nations and development organizations (i.e., OECD) come to similar conclusions that there is a mismatch in skills taught in schools and what is needed in the workforce (see esp. Cobo, 2013). We are training today’s youth for jobs that existed in the 20th century, but not the skills necessary to adapt to “new” work in the 21st century.
Ecuador is expressing major regional leadership in the knowledge sector through initiatives such as the Yachay “city of knowledge” and its support of the FLOK Society initiative. The Sociedad Knowmad project complements these programs in response to the needs of the educational sector, including primary and secondary schooling, and teacher training. In addition, this project is designed to support the National Plan for Good Living 2013-2017 (“Buen Vivir”) by proposing various pathways for developing teachers nationwide.
This project specifically integrates with objective 4 of the Buen Vivir plan (strengthening capacities and potentials of citizenship) and objective 10 (promoting the production transformation matrix). The emerging “knowmad” economy requires citizens to be imaginative, creative, and to develop their abilities to innovate. They are not consumers of knowledge or other products, but they are prosumers, who are able to co-create and add value to an expanding ecology of options. For Ecuador, this marks a strategic opportunity where the nation can become a net exporter of knowledge, culture, and value-added capital.