Schooling for Tomorrow

I came across this fascinating OECD-CERI project through Dave Cormier and George Siemens’ Open Course in Education Futures. Please download the Schooling for Tomorrow StarterPack document here. It gives practitioners, administrators and other stakeholders a way to think about key questions such as:

  • What is shaping the future of schooling?
  • What might schooling look like in the future?
  • How to go about it?

It provides a framework based on an analysis of trends (such as growing inequality, economic globalization, population trends, the expanding web and social interaction), realistic scenarios based on these trends (such as bureaucratic systems and system meltdown) and considers five dimensions (attitudes, goals, structures, geo-politics and teaching force) on which the scenario can be contextualized and analyzed as a possible alternative future. Taken together, this framework could provide an effective way to construct our future realities and allow us to then transform our beliefs through powerful, coherent and effective plans of action.

Scenario 3 is interesting. Schools as core social centres are visualized within “new community arrangements with learning at the core”. The Right to Education Act, that came into effect this year in India, sees a similar approach. However the Act and its main vehicle, the Sarva shiksha Abhiyaan, does not seem to focus on the community apart from the administrative and quality dimension. The Starter Pack scenario goes ahead and explores many new dimensions that I believe would be helpful in shaping policy and outcomes. For example, the goals:

Schools continue to transmit, legitimise, and accredit knowledge, but with intense focus on social and cultural outcomes.

Competence recognition also developed in the labour market, liberating schools from some credentialing pressures.

These goals are  extremely important in the Indian context. Specifically, we need to move away, perhaps, from thinking about facilitating the emergence of a new engineer, to facilitating the emergence of a new engineer who will bring value in the context of the region’s natural resource and abilities; which in turn, will play into a wider national strategy.

I would suggest that a bit of all and perhaps a preponderance of one will be the dominant paradigm in most countries around the world. Within any country’s educational system, there will be a rich diversity and discussion around many forms and systems of education.

Take for example Scenario 4 (The extended market model), that talks of a “demand-driven”, highly developed learning market responding to stakeholders dissatisfied with the public school system and with the obvious threat to social equity – sums up pretty much the debate around privatization in education and the common school system in India.

I believe that this is a useful approach to try to bring some collaborative direction to our problems. This should help not only clarify the problem, but also point us to possible scenarios unique to our region and how to go about thinking of the change.

Postscript: I re-evaluated using trends as a basis for a model such as this.

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