Where do we get the resources necessary to do it?
Every society on this planet struggles with these fundamental questions. The education problem evolves in time and as technology advances, as societies change, and we are constantly trying to find better solutions for it. The student tuition crisis in Quebec/Canada is seen as part of this process of finding solutions (although this crisis must be seen within an even larger socio-economic crisis). It is described as a conflict between two social factions who have different views on the problem and who propose incompatible solutions. On one side we have a coalition of student associations, now enlarged by other non-student organizations, and on the other side the Liberal Government of Jean Charest.
But why should we have a conflict in the first place? We are talking about a social problem, therefore it must concern every one of us. Why should this problem solving process be divisive and conflictual? The #occupy movement taught me an important lesson: Diversity of opinions doesn't necessarily mean opposition and conflict when it comes to problem solving and decision making! The Consensus process that was refined within the #occupy movement turned diversity of opinions into an advantage, leading to better solutions to complex problems. Yes, there is divergence at the personal level, but the entire process, seen from a distance, looks inclusive and collaborative.
Isn't the government supposed to represent the will of the people? In theory YES. Now we're getting close to the core of the problem... In a representative democracy nothing guarantees that the intentions and goals of the elected leaders align with the intentions and goals of the people. Wherever you have representation you can also have misrepresentation and deception. Charest's government, like most governments, is merely an instrument for a handful of individuals controlling the real levers of power, an instrument for the 1%, to use the terminology developed by the #occupy movement.
So we should NOT trust the government to design OUR education system. In fact the government is part of the problem! And obviously, through the government the 1% will oppose us to design OUR education system, because that undermines their control over us. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE A CONFLICT. Because there are two opposing factions, and the opposition runs deep, it's nothing less than one faction exploiting the other. This is why we need direct democracy to replace representative democracy.
Main stream media talks about conflict, negotiations, mediation, ... These terms imply division, confrontation and opposition, which reveals the tension between our representative government and its population.
When did we start negotiating solutions to a problem? It makes sense to me that solutions must be designed NOT negotiated. If more than one solution is proposed by different parties, we should go back to the drawing board and design a new solution by mixing elements of those that are proposed. What really makes sense is a "design by consensus" process rather than a negotiation process. The student crisis in Quebec is the manifestation of a social problem, not of a market transaction. We should all sit down and co-design a solution, not send a few individuals (the so called "student leaders") behind closed doors, to negotiate a deal with the government. We are NOT looking for a deal here. We are looking for a solution to a complex social problem.
Why do we need mediation in problem solving? Shouldn't we collaborate to find a solution rather than opposing each other? Why do we need a mediator? The conflict arises from the growing separation between the government and its people. The problems of the people are not the problems of the government, and vice versa. Therefore, students cannot collaborate with the government on a solution. This is why we negotiate and argue, and need mediation. We need to see beyond the centralized state and the representative democracy, which are failing us, which is degenerating into a new type of feudal system.
When approaching a problem, we can decide to be divisive and competitive, or inclusive and collaborative. The entire dynamics that will follow will be greatly affected by the choice we make, and the solution to the problem can also be very different. #occupy showed us the consensus way. Can we apply it to co-design a solution to the education problem? We'll deal with the government later...
For those of you who are slightly behind with p2p methods, crowdsourcing is using the crowd, a vast number of people, to gather resources and to do something. Such massive action must rely on a special infrastructure for communication, coordination and collaboration. More concretely, this process needs a virtual space where ideas are proposed by anyone and processed (discussed, compared, sorted, mixed...) by everyone, where proto-solutions are gradually shaped and compared against other proto-solutions, mixed with other proto-solutions. Note that we are only dealing with information, so in theory almost everything can be done within this virtual space (on the Internet), with no temporal and spatial constraints. To add energy to the process this virtual space can be paralleled with real spaces, where those who want to get involved can meet in person and interact. All the tools and methodologies already exist.
So let's bypass the government, an entity designed by the 1% for the 1%, to find a solution to this complex social problem (to provide access to education). Once we have a solution that represents a wide consensus we can put pressure on the government to implement it. I think this is the only way to go before we have it our way... a p2p society.