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Education 2030 – Need for new solutions in a rapidly changing world OECD says

This OECD Learning Framework 2030 offers a vision and some underpinning principles for the future of education systems. It is about orientation, not prescription. The learning framework has been co-created for the OECD Education 2030 project by government representatives and a growing community of partners, including thought leaders, experts, school networks, school leaders, teachers, students and youth groups, parents, universities, local organisations and so- cial partners. This is work in progress and we invite you to join us in developing future-ready education for all.

Education 2030: A Shared Vision

We are committed to helping every learner develop as a whole person, fulfil his or her potential and help shape a shared future built on the well-being of individuals, communities and the planet.

Children entering school in 2018 will need to abandon the notion that resources are limitless and are there to be exploited; they will need to value common prosperity, sustainability and well-being. They will need to be responsible and em- powered, placing collaboration above division, and sustainability above short-term gain.

In the face of an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, education can make the difference as to whether people embrace the challenges they are confronted with or whether they are defeated by them. And in an era characterised by a new explosion of scientific knowledge and a growing array of complex societal problems, it is ap- propriate that curricula should continue to evolve, perhaps in radical ways.

Need for new solutions in a rapidly changing world

Societies are changing rapidly and profoundly. A first challenge is environmental: e.g.
• Climate change and the depletion of natural resources require urgent action and adaptation. A second challenge is economic: e.g.
• Scientific knowledge is creating new opportunities and solutions that can enrich our lives, while at the same time fuelling disruptive waves of change in every sector.

Unprecedented innovation in science and technology, especially in bio-technology and artificial intelligence, is raising fundamental questions about what it is to be human. It is time to create new economic, social and institutional models that pursue better lives for all.
• Financial interdependence at local, national and regional levels has created global value chains and a shared economy, but also pervasive uncertainty and exposure to economic risk and crises. Data is being created, used and shared on a vast scale, holding out the promise of expansion, growth and improved efficiency while posing new problems of cyber security and privacy protection.

A third challenge is social: e.g.
• As the global population continues to grow, migration, urbanisation and increasing social and cultural diversity are reshaping countries and communities.
• In large parts of the world, inequalities in living standards and life chances are widening, while conflict, insta- bility and inertia, often intertwined with populist politics, are eroding trust and confidence in government it- self. At the same time, the threats of war and terrorism are escalating.

These global trends are already affecting individual lives, and may do so for decades to come. They have triggered a global debate that matters to every country, and call for global and local solutions. The OECD Education 2030 contributes to the UN 2030 Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), aiming to ensure the sustainability of people, profit, planet and peace, through partnership.

Need for a broad set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values in action

Students who are best prepared for the future are change agents. They can have a positive impact on their surroundings, influence the future, understand others’ intentions, actions and feelings, and anticipate the short and long-term conse- quences of what they do.

The concept of competency implies more than just the acquisition of knowledge and skills; it involves the mobilisation of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to meet complex demands. Future-ready students will need both broad and specialised knowledge. Disciplinary knowledge will continue to be important, as the raw material from which new knowledge is developed, together with the capacity to think across the boundaries of disciplines and “connect the dots”. Epistemic knowledge, or knowledge about the disciplines, such as knowing how to think like a mathematician, historian or scientist, will also be significant, enabling students to extend their disciplinary knowledge. Procedural knowledge is acquired by understanding how something is done or made – the series of steps or actions taken to accomplish a goal. Some procedural knowledge is domain-specific, some transferable across domains. It typically develops through practical problem-solving, such as through design thinking and systems thinking.

Students will need to apply their knowledge in unknown and evolving circumstances. For this, they will need a broad range of skills, including cognitive and meta-cognitive skills (e.g. critical thinking, creative thinking, learning to learn and self-regulation); social and emotional skills (e.g. empathy, self-efficacy and collaboration); and practical and physical skills (e.g. using new information and communication technology devices).

The use of this broader range of knowledge and skills will be mediated by attitudes and values (e.g. motivation, trust, respect for diversity and virtue). The attitudes and values can be observed at personal, local, societal and global levels. While human life is enriched by the diversity of values and attitudes arising from different cultural perspectives and personality traits, there are some human values (e.g. respect for life and human dignity, and respect for the environment, to name two) that cannot be compromised.

Competencies to transform our society and shape our future

If students are to play an active part in all dimensions of life, they will need to navigate through uncertainty, across a wide variety of contexts: in time (past, present, future), in social space (family, community, region, nation and world) and in digital space. They will also need to engage with the natural world, to appreciate its fragility, complexity and value.

Building on the OECD Key Competencies (the DeSeCo project: Definition and Selection of Competencies), the OECD Education 2030 project has identified three further categories of competencies, the “Transformative Competencies“, that together address the growing need for young people to be innovative, responsible and aware:

• Creating new value
• Reconciling tensions and dilemmas
• Taking responsibility

Creating new value

New sources of growth are urgently needed to achieve stronger, more inclusive and more sustainable development. Innovation can offer vital solutions, at affordable cost, to economic, social and cultural dilemmas. Innovative economies are more productive, more resilient, more adaptable and better able to support higher living standards.
To prepare for 2030, people should be able to think creatively, develop new products and services, new jobs, new pro- cesses and methods, new ways of thinking and living, new enterprises, new sectors, new business models and new social models. Increasingly, innovation springs not from individuals thinking and working alone, but through co-operation and collaboration with others to draw on existing knowledge to create new knowledge. The constructs that underpin the competency include adaptability, creativity, curiosity and open-mindedness.

Reconciling tensions and dilemmas

In a world characterised by inequities, the imperative to reconcile diverse perspectives and interests, in local settings with sometimes global implications, will require young people to become adept at handling tensions, dilemmas and trade-offs, for example, balancing equity and freedom, autonomy and community, innovation and continuity, and effi- ciency and the democratic process. Striking a balance between competing demands will rarely lead to an either/or choice or even a single solution. Individuals will need to think in a more integrated way that avoids premature conclu- sions and recognises interconnections. In a world of interdependency and conflict, people will successfully secure their own well-being and that of their families and their communities only by developing the capacity to understand the needs and desires of others.

To be prepared for the future, individuals have to learn to think and act in a more integrated way, taking into account the interconnections and inter-relations between contradictory or incompatible ideas, logics and positions, from both short- and long-term perspectives. In other words, they have to learn to be systems thinkers.

Taking responsibility

The third transformative competency is a prerequisite of the other two. Dealing with novelty, change, diversity and ambiguity assumes that individuals can think for themselves and work with others. Equally, creativity and problem-solving require the capacity to consider the future consequences of one’s actions, to evaluate risk and reward, and to accept accountability for the products of one’s work. This suggests a sense of responsibility, and moral and intellectual maturity, with which a person can reflect upon and evaluate his or her actions in light of his or her experiences, and personal and societal goals, what they have been taught and told, and what is right or wrong. Acting ethically implies asking ques- tions related to norms, values, meanings and limits, such as: What should I do? Was I right to do that? Where are the limits? Knowing the consequences of what I did, should I have done it? Central to this competency is the concept of self-regulation, which involves self-control, self-efficacy, responsibility, problem solving and adaptability. Advances in developmental neuroscience show that a second burst of brain plasticity takes place during adolescence, and that the brain regions and systems that are especially plastic are those implicated in the development of self-regulation. Adoles- cence can now be seen as a time not just of vulnerability but of opportunity for developing a sense of responsibility.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at OECD Education 2030 – OECD


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