The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released a report that has identified education as one of the key factors that contribute to the growth and prosperity of economies around the world. They recognise that the current education systems must be reformed in order to meet the needs of the 21st century and prepare individuals for the future of work.
WEF focuses on changing and updating education systems firstly because it is believed that education is critical in building a competitive workforce. As technology and automation continue to transform industries, workers will need to develop new skills and adapt to changing job requirements. Education plays a key role in helping individuals acquire the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.
Second, the WEF believes that education is key in promoting economic growth and reducing inequality. Education can help to break the cycle of poverty by providing individuals with the tools they need to improve their lives and contribute to the community. By ensuring all individuals get access to high-quality education, societies can create more equitable and prosperous economies.
Several key skills have been identified that are needed in a rapidly changing digital world, and the WEF have outlined how the secondary education curriculum needs to change to address these skills (see below).
- Critical thinking and problem solving: The ability to analyse complex problems, evaluate evidence, and develop effective solutions is increasingly important in a world that is constantly evolving. This means that students should be taught how to analyse information and think critically about complex problems. They should also be encouraged to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to these problems.
- Creativity and innovation: The WEF also recognises that education is crucial for fostering innovation and creativity. The ability to think creatively and generate new ideas is essential for success in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world. By encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills, education can help individuals to develop new ideas and solutions that can drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for people all around the world.
- Communication and collaboration: The WEF also believes that students need to develop strong communication skills. In a world that is becoming more connected and globalised, the ability to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with people from diverse backgrounds is critical, both in person and online. This includes the ability to communicate clearly and persuasively, as well as being able to work effectively in teams.
- Digital literacy: There should also be an emphasis on the importance of digital literacy skills. As technology continues to transform every aspect of our lives, it is important for students to develop strong digital literacy skills to navigate the complex digital landscape and use technology effectively. This includes understanding online safety and security, as well as being able to use social media and other digital tools to communicate and collaborate.
- Emotional intelligence: The ability to understand and manage one's own emotions, as well as to understand and empathise with others, is increasingly important in a diverse world where people are more interconnected than ever before.
- Global citizenship: In an increasingly interconnected world, it is important for students to develop an understanding of global issues and a sense of responsibility to contribute to positive change.
- Adaptability & Flexibility: Finally, the WEF stresses the importance of adaptability and flexibility. In a rapidly changing digital world, students need to be able to adapt to new situations and technologies, and to be able to learn new skills quickly and efficiently.
To address the need for these skills, the WEF suggests that secondary education curricula should focus more on project-based learning, which emphasises critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. Schools should also integrate digital literacy and communication skills into their curriculum, and provide opportunities for students to learn and practice these skills in real-world settings. Additionally, the WEF recommends that schools incorporate more opportunities for students to develop their adaptability and flexibility through experiential learning and exposure to diverse perspectives.
The key skills and competencies that have been identified (see above) should be included in curricula to better prepare students for the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
The WEF has also emphasised the importance of interdisciplinary learning, which involves integrating knowledge and skills from different subject areas to solve complex problems. This approach to learning can help students develop a more holistic understanding of the world and prepare them for the complex challenges of the future.
Overall, the WEF believes that curricula should be designed to cultivate the skills and competencies that will be most valuable in a rapidly changing world, while also encouraging students to develop a sense of curiosity, adaptability, and resilience that will help them navigate the challenges of the future.
This point of view and projection is fully reinforced by BGA and we are part of the fight for the future of education requiring change in order to support and give the best opportunities to our future workers and planet dwellers.
For more information on BGA’s ethos, please click this link and sign up for our webinar - discover this new opportunity in secondary education!