Education is at a transition point in need of change in the 21st Century. We are living through a period of rapid change in an increasingly globalized environment with economical, technological, environmental and societal shifts. This compels education systems to adapt and build a more sustainable, inclusive and peaceful future. It compels us to “reimagine our futures together” - an initiative currently led by UNESCO. The initiative challenges us to renew education by asking;
- What has been done that needs to be continued?
- What should be abandoned?
- What needs to be invented afresh?
A few ways to think about this can be by considering the problems the world faces and how they are linked to education. Another way to look at it is by asking what we can disrupt in education? Is it
- The way we learn? Should learning be teacher or student-centred?
- The curriculum and subjects taught? Education in the 21st century aims to set children up to succeed in a world where more than half of the jobs they’ll have over their careers may not even exist yet. So what do we need to be teaching now?
- The literacies, skills, qualities and competencies? Our current and future world of life and work demands various capabilities. A quote by Alvin Toffler says “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
- The school environment? Schools as institutions can be reimagined including architectures, spaces, times, timetables, and student groupings in diverse ways.
- The time and space? In all times and spaces of learning, we should move from thinking of education as mostly occurring in schools and at certain ages, and instead, welcome and expand educational opportunities everywhere for everyone.
“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” ― Nelson Mandela
How do you as a parent, guardian, educator, member of the community or employer see the future of education and what should we change? How can you get involved?