By Khalifa Hemed
Published January 22, 2020
Primary and secondary school systems have a critical role to play in preparing the global citizens and workforces of the future.
Schools of the Future: Defining New Models of Education for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a white paper published by World Economic Forum (WEF), stresses that education models must adapt and equip children with the skills to create a more inclusive, cohesive and productive world in the context of job disruption, demand for new skills and increased socioeconomic polarisation.
The paper, that WEF says came out of its desire to ‘identify promising models of quality education for the Fourth Industrial Revolution — “Education 4.0”’, lists what it calls ‘critical characteristics in learning content and experiences’ that ‘define high-quality learning in the Fourth Industrial Revolution—“Education 4.0”.
- Global citizenship skills
Include content that focuses on building awareness about the wider world, sustainability and playing an active role in the global community.
- Innovation and creativity skills
Include content that fosters skills required for innovation, including complex problem-solving, analytical thinking, creativity and systems analysis
- Technology skills
Include content that is based on developing digital skills, including programming, digital responsibility and the use of technology
- Interpersonal skills
Include content that focuses on interpersonal emotional intelligence, including empathy, cooperation, negotiation, leadership and social awareness
- Personalised and self-paced learning
Move from a system where learning is standardized, to one based on the diverse individual needs of each learner, and flexible enough to enable each learner to progress at their own pace
- Accessible and inclusive learning
Move from a system where learning is confined to those with access to school buildings to one in which everyone has access to learning and is therefore inclusive
- Problem-based and collaborative learning
Move from process-based to project- and problem-based content delivery, requiring peer collaboration and more closely mirroring the future of work, and
- Lifelong and student-driven learning
Move from a system where learning and skilling decrease over one’s lifespan to one where everyone continuously improves on existing skills and acquires new ones based on their individual needs.
Jens Waltermann, Executive Director of United World Colleges (UWC) International that has 18 schools on four continents and also contributed to the Education 4.0 report, calls for the public and private sector to partner in education and act to prepare young citizens from all social backgrounds to address global risks.
Saying the white paper that lists 16 examples of schools, education programmes and school systems that are paving the way toward Education 4.0 based on the uniqueness of their approach, demonstrated impact and geographical diversity, Waltermann says public-private partnerships and action in education are critical in helping prepare young people for the new realities.
“Only when we have citizens who can work across boundaries to come up with shared solutions to shared problems are we on the path to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ” Waltermann stresses. “It is important that high-quality education is provided across all social divides and not only for the children of the financial elite or from the privileged parts of the world. Children from privileged and less privileged backgrounds need to learn together, the increasing split between private schools for the privileged and public education for all others will drive our societies further apart.”
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