The teacher has been of immense importance in the past, because he knew he had passed all the examinations, he had accumulated knowledge. But the situation has changed – and this is one of the problems, that situations change but our responses remain the old ones. Now the knowledge explosion is so vast, so tremendous, so speedy, that you cannot write a big book on any scientific subject because by the time your book is complete, it will be out of date; new facts, new discoveries will have made it irrelevant. So now science has to depend on articles, on periodicals, not on books.
The teacher was educated thirty years earlier. In thirty years everything has changed, and he goes on repeating what he was taught. He is out of date, and he is making his students out of date. So in my vision the teacher has no place. Instead of teachers there will be guides, and the difference has to be understood: the guide will tell you where, in the library, to find the latest information on the subject.
And teaching should not be done in the old-fashioned way, because television can do it in a far better way, can bring the latest information without any problems. The teacher has to appeal to your ears; television appeals directly to your eyes; and the impact is far greater, because the eyes absorb eighty percent of your life situations – they are the most alive part.
If you can see something there is no need to memorize it; but if you listen to something you have to memorize it. Almost ninety-eight percent of education can be delivered through television, and the questions that students will ask can be answered by computers. The teacher should be only a guide to show you the right channel, to show you how to use the computer, how to find the latest book. His function will be totally different. He is not imparting knowledge to you, he is making you aware of the contemporary knowledge, of the latest knowledge. He is only a guide.
With these considerations, I divide education into five dimensions. The first is informative, like history, geography, and many other subjects which can be dealt with by television and computer together. The second part should be sciences. They can be imparted by television and computer too, but they are more complicated, and the human guide will be more necessary.
In the first dimension also come languages. Every person in the world should know at least two languages; one is his mother tongue, and the other is English as an international vehicle for communication. They can also be taught more accurately by television – the accent, the grammar, everything can be taught more correctly than by human beings.
We can create in the world an atmosphere of brotherhood: language connects people and language disconnects too. There is right now no international language. This is due to our prejudices. English is perfectly capable, because it is known by more people around the world on a wider scale – although it is not the first language. The first is Spanish, as far as population is concerned. But its population is concentrated, it is not spread all over the world. The second is Chinese; that is even more concentrated, only in China. As far as numbers go, these languages are spoken by more people, but the question is not of numbers, the question is of spread.