OECD report: Building a future that works for all
23rd May 2022
2020 humbled us with a global shock: the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been reminded that, despite best-laid plans, the future likes to surprise us. The crisis has exposed the glaring inequities in our school systems – from the broadband and computers needed for online education to training teachers to keep classes going digitally.
Most education systems were nimble: we rethought the curriculum, embraced hybrid learning, adjusted school calendars and schedules, and adapted examinations and assessments methods. We opened up new channels connecting students, families, schools and local authorities.
We boosted spending. And, we took remedial measures to prevent learning losses, especially for disadvantaged students. Now, as we emerge from the crisis, what lessons have we learned? How do we use the ingenuity we showed in the depths of the pandemic as a springboard to stronger, bolder, better education?
The pandemic is just one of a kaleidoscope of disruptions we are looking at. Climate-related crises, extreme digitalisation of societies, new forms of political turbulence both at home and abroad and military conflicts make for a future that is very different from our expectations.
Change may be happening further and faster than we would imagine and, when change grows exponentially, so too must the ability of our education systems to respond to it.
We must be imaginative. We must ask ourselves questions, the right ones. What are the fundamental purposes of education today? What are the kinds of skills that will matter most? What kinds of learning environments will 21st-century students flourish in?
Resilience to external risks and innovation in education can go hand in hand. If we anticipate the future, we can shape it too.
Yes, the pandemic surprised us. But it taught us that, if need be, we can rewire our systems on a fly. And if we can do that, we have it in us to craft a stronger, bolder, better education. For all of us.
31st March 2022