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Towards Knowledge Societies: Book Review
In the present scenario of digital revolution, the book "Towards Knowledge Societies", published and circulated by Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a noteworthy publication. The book, while calling the present era the 'third industrial revolution' – that of the new technologies – stresses interdependence and knowledge being regarded as 'the object of huge economic, political and cultural stakes'.

The book rightfully suggests some ethical and practical pointers are needed to remain human and livable in the digital age. For this, the knowledge societies will have to be the societies of shared knowledge with a need for an accepted diversity. According to Koichiro Matsuura, as pointed out in the preface, the new knowledge is promising because of the potential offered by a rational and purposeful use of the new technologies. It offers the real prospects for human and sustainable development and building of more democratic societies.

It has been suggested that needed are the lines of reflection and action for making communication and information serve the transmission of knowledge. Also, we need to accelerate the diffusion of knowledge in time and space, as well as between generations and cultures.

The book has ten chapters; each discusses a topic with some sub-topics. For example, the first chapter is titled "From the information society to knowledge societies" with the sub-topics like knowledge societies as a source of development; digital solidarity; and freedom of expression as the touchstone of knowledge societies.

The chapters in the book discuss, topics like network societies, knowledge and the new technologies; learning societies; towards lifelong education for all; towards a market in higher education; a research revolution; science, the public and knowledge societies; risks and human security in knowledge societies; local and indigenous knowledge, linguistic diversity and knowledge societies; and from access to participation: towards knowledge societies for all.

The stress has been laid on making a paradigm shift from the knowledge divide to knowledge; gender issues sharing in knowledge societies and renewal of democratic public forums in knowledge societies; and  institutional reform, pedagogical research, teacher training and quality of education.

I too think that institutional reforms for making a paradigm shift toward creating knowledge society are more viable than the imposed reform across institutions. The book is available on the internet for free access.

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