Courtesy Reuters

Two Revolutions

Two simultaneous revolutions in the developing countries-in education and in communications-can be expected separately and through their interaction to have an impact which is as yet only vaguely foreseen. They promise changes not merely in degree but in kind. As education pushes toward universality, and as the communications network makes more and more sweeping use of printing, broadcasting, film-making and other new methods, the effects will be not only on the economy but perhaps on the basic civic structure of the societies concerned. Whether the long-run political results will be beneficial is another and quite different question. And whether the side effects will strengthen the social fabric is likewise in doubt. But, whether for good or ill, overwhelming changes are going to occur. We should think about them if we are concerned with the welfare of Asia and Africa and Latin America, or with the relations of their societies with the rest of the world.

A look at the size and shape of the educational revolution is necessary before we consider the communications revolution with which it interacts. We start with the proposition that the developing countries should be able to achieve important shortcuts, proceeding directly to new methods of instruction. Ironically, the underdeveloped state of both their education and their communications is a positive boon in that new methods will be far easier to introduce than if there were more substantial vested interests committed to old-fashioned ways of doing things, hence inclined to regard progress along any new lines as a threat. The developing nations should be able to use audiovisual techniques instead of depending exclusively on individual teachers and the printing press. Contact of the best teachers with the mass of the country's pupils should be possible through multiplication by electronics. At least some of the principles of programmed learning can enter the new textbooks. Wide currency can be given to supplementary reading that is interesting to the student instead of imprisoning the mind in the narrowness of one

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