Many people are too busy or do not have the opportunity to take formal courses in a classroom setting, whether it is at the high school or university level. People are usually too busy trying to put food on the table or they do not have the funds to go to traditional places of learning. I want to bring those places to them … for free where possible … to those who want to participate in a sparetime university. Radio, mobile phone and newspaper are media that can be used to get desired information to the people who toil all day attempting to make enough money to provide food and shelter for their families.
A “sparetime university™” can help demystify global change science and make science accessible to, as well as usable by, the public. It does so through presentations and discussions of social and cultural issues that are affected by quick onset (abrupt and extreme) and by slow onset (creeping) climate, weather and water events and their impacts. Most environmental changes in which people are involved are of the creeping kind.
The reason that the time has come for the notion of a sparetime university™ is because the traditional approaches to education and training appear to be painfully slow and overly selective, with some of the selection criteria for high schools and universities left over from old style traditional educational methods and media.
STU is an idea that could benefit diverse societies, regardless of their level of economic development. To those involved in the establishment of an STU, there is the satisfaction of educating people during their free time, whenever and wherever those educational moments of opportunity might arise. STU is not just a clever notion; it is a way to meet personal as well as national needs. It sounds like a new concept to bring knowledge and information to those unable to attend school in a traditional classroom setting. It is not. It is an idea that appeared more than 150 years ago in Europe and, in the 1930s, in China. It may even exist in some form in other countries.