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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Defining New Education Models In The New Economic & Social Context – WEF Report

Riyaz Patel

Quality, relevant and targeted education is one of the most pressing issues of our times. In this fast and ever changing world, parents the world over are anxious over the kind of education models on offer which would remain relevant in their children’s lives with the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

In today’s world of seemingly unlimited opportunities, the excess of options have also create confusion for parents.

In addition, policy makers are grappling and scrambling to institute appropriate educational system which will meet the demands of tomorrow.

What is relevant today may be irrelevant tomorrow. The skills which were considered job oriented a decade back are now outdated. Automation and AI have put humans in competition with machines.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) – in a recent paper, Schools of the Future: Defining New Models of Education for the Fourth Industrial Revolution‘ has presented eight models of future education with 16 examples sourced from around the globe.

“As globalization and rapid advancements in technology continue to transform civic space and the world of work, education systems have grown increasingly disconnected from the realities and needs of global economies and societies.”

Automated Pepper during the National Senior Certificate (NSC) 2019 Ministerial Announcement at the Vodacom Dome in Midrand. 07/01/20 Photo: Oupa Nkosi

“Education models must adapt to equip children with the skills to create a more inclusive, cohesive and productive world,” the report states.

The WEF believes that these models and school systems would “serve as the inspiration for driving a holistic and transformative action on this important agenda.”

The report is the result of a widely consultative process with educators, policy and business leaders, education technology developers, and experts curated by the Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society, the WEF said.

The eight models for future schools to prepare for 4IR have been dubbed: ‘Education 4.0.’

The 8 models were picked from 70 submissions from across the globe after analysis based on four criteria:
– alignment with the education 4.0 framework;
– potential for scaling up;
– a multitask holder approach to design and implementation;
– demonstrated improvement in student outcomes, access to learning and
learning outcomes.

They are summarized as:

1. Global citizenship skills: Content that focuses on building awareness about the wider world, sustainability and playing an active role in the global community. Examples: Green School of Indonesia and Ka Kuma Project of Kenya. The Green Schools of Indonesia focus on environment while Ka Kuma model has devised a curriculum based on the on 17SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the United Nations for the year 2020.

2. Innovation and creativity skills: Content that fosters skills required for innovation, including complex problem-solving, analytical thinking, creativity and systems analysis. Examples: The Knowledge Society of Canada and Kabakoo Academics of Mali.

3. Technology skills: Content that is based on developing digital skills, including programming, digital responsibility and the use of technology. Examples: Teky Steam of Vietnam and AWARE (Accelerated Work Achievement and Readiness for Employment) of Indonesia.

4. Interpersonal skills: Content that focuses on interpersonal emotional intelligence, including empathy,cooperation, negotiation, leadership and social awareness. Examples: iEarn of Spain and South Tapiola High School of Finland.

5. Personalized and self-paced learning: Shifting 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. Examples: Pratham of India and Anji Pay of China.

6. Accessible and inclusive learning: Migrating 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. Examples: Prospect Charter Schools of the US and Tallahassee Community College (TCC) of the US.

7. Problem-based and collaborative learning: Moving away from process-based to project and problem-based content delivery, requiring peer collaboration and more closely mirroring the future of work. Examples: Innovative Schools of Peru and British School Muscat of Oman.

8. Lifelong and student-driven learning: Move away 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. Examples: Skill Builder Partnership of the UK and Skilling for Sustainable Tourism of Ecuador.

“Activating Education 4.0 will require greater alignment between actors on defining and assessing the skills of the future, preparing the teaching workforce to lead this transition, and enhancing connectivity across schools and school systems,” the WEF report said.

The WEF said it’s engaging academic and political leaders from across the world to discuss these models and to adopt them as “per their needs” in their respective countries.

The annual WEF is scheduled for 21-24 January in Davos, Switzerland.

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