REVISTA FACULTAD DE INGENIERÍA, U.T.A. (CHILE), VOL. 11 Nº2, 2003, pp. 02


EDITORIAL


THE SOCIETY OF KNOWLEDGE

Considering the present circumstances, the society we live in should be called the Society of Knowledge.  We have left behind the times of progress, where advantage laid on capital and labor available to society. Today, the source of advantage resides on the capacity to acquire, transmit and apply knowledge.

Presently, information is not available uniquely to a small groups of scientists  and scholars, as in the past. On the contrary, today knowledge can be reached by hundreds of millions of people in the internet.

At the beginning of the year 2000 there were 2.500 million electronic pages in the web and this number was growing at the rate of 210 million pages per month.  In the field of  scientific publications, the increase of transferable knowledge is no less dramatic, if we consider that there are 100 thousand scientific journals circulating in the world – as we speak - compared to 10 thousand in the 20th century.

The present growth of knowledge is astonishing, especially if we envision that it took 1.750 years  to double  the amount of  knowledge for the first time, whereas today this happens every five years and the same process will take place every 73 days by 2020.

As it happened at the beginning of Modern Times and later with the advent of the Age of Technology, nowadays the mission of the University consists of adapting to the new paradigm, in order to successfully face the challenges of the present and the dilemmas of the future.

Just like the new standards for the education of the new generations, prescribed by the new order, demands graduates  will be extremely high in terms of  knowledge validity and professional competitiveness, as they will have to regularly give proof of  the validity of their qualifications, in order to avoid professional obsolescence and ultimately, unemployment.

Considering the present scenario, the University must take the necessary steps so as to increase access to knowledge through a vigorous process of continuing education and professional development, that fills the gap between older and younger experts. It also must offer programs that are in tune with performance standards of global validity where – in conjunction with a rigorous professional training - leadership, entrepreneurship, English language and technology are active components, when it comes to building the bridge that will connect graduates  with the society of knowledge.

Universities from emerging countries, specially those in Latin America, urgently need to identify and consider the new paradigm when elaborating their strategic direction.  This is the fundamental step, that will allow them to transform present threats into opportunities, in order to become part of the new Society of  Knowledge.


Dr. Emilio Rodríguez Ponce