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Introduction to the Ideal of a Free Progress University

“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.”
(Galileo Galilei)

Galilei, who was ahead of his times, already had this insight centuries ago. And yet, our universities are based on an even older pedagogical and didactical model. Its main purpose was that to create obedient citizens ready for commercial production and military efficiency. Nowadays dictatorships fall, new freedoms blossom, while the internet liberates individual self-expression, but higher education remains governed by an unchanged authoritarian mindset where the creative potential of the individual is at best considered a very secondary aspect, and in most cases even feared. College is more than ever mainly based on a mechanical and dry learning process that ignores the human creative and spiritual dimension.

It is time to change this!

We urgently need a university system where students can express their unique potential and which is able to liberate talents, individual freedom and everyone’s “inner call”. A system that has no hierarchical structures and encourages free self-initiative. A platform for a free expression of the individual potential and the development of one’s own personality. A place where new forms of learning and teaching are practiced. An environment for a lifelong learning by doing, a learning by teaching, and where everyone can learn to learn. Which means, that it should be a place without any compulsion to learn, where everyone is free to learn what is felt must be learned, and without an academic path forced onto the students from an institution or generation old bureaucratic laws.

Educational sciences are almost completely dedicated to primary and secondary schools. But there is no rational reason for this. It is a century old encrusted conviction that pedagogy is only for children. It has its roots in an idea that the “real” learning for the adult can’t be done otherwise than in its present format, and in a mentality that does not question the needs of the individual and is only interested in the uniform organization of state and the masses.

We will try to outline and lay the foundations for a Free Progress University (FPU) system based on the assumption that the best way of learning, acquiring knowledge, and doing research is a process that must be guided from within. Contrary to present college and university systems, that are focused on imposing a preordered knowledge by exams and grades, killing creativity and individual skills by uniformity, a FPU fosters, passion, intuition, self-learning in diversity, and especially the complete freedom of expression and progress of the individual guided by an inner understanding.

We envisage therefore a university where new forms of pedagogical and didactical approaches in higher education are tested. The focus will be on self-structured forms of learning and self-learning processes. The professors will be replaced by “mentors” who have no authority but become “helpers” and “facilitators”. Students will establish their own curriculum and chose freely their learning material, without the sanction of a bureaucratic and hierarchical system. New pedagogical and didactical forms will be like the self organized learning environment (SOLE), flipped teaching methods, un-conferences and spontaneous teamwork initiated by “groupformation camps”. And finally, only through the abolition of exams, grades, and degrees, among several other things, it will be possible that creativity, intuition and real forms of learning can return to flourish in academia.

We no longer believe in a reform from inside the current university paradigm, because it is in its intrinsic essence an authoritarian system. “Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them”, said Albert Einstein. And modern brain research has shown that it is difficult for us to leave behind the good old mind habits in order to take new paths and question the old behavioral and mental patterns. The same inertia holds for the established educationl system. Only a peaceful but radical revolution that grows and develops from new pedagogical ideals and institutions build from scratch has a chance to change the paradigm.
We, as a society, stand in front of several global challenges. For a peaceful future it will be necessary to recognize education as a priority for society as a whole, as an important resource and to engage collectively in favour of it. For a self-education that allows people to search for common solutions and new answers. People that, during their academic self-education, learn also to produce creatively from several sources, and not only from pure rational analysis and repetition of what is already known.

The present blog is a call to action. It invites all those who are interested and willing to participate with their know-how, skills and expertise to the realization of this dream to show up and participate to the creation of a full fledged FPU.

If you would like to know more read the manifesto for a FPU.

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