Schools of the Future: Defining New Models of Education for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

With so many changes in society and advancements in technology, the education sector is lagging behind. 

There is an increasing disconnect between the current educational model and the needs of our society. With this, it is becoming more and more difficult for the products of traditional education systems to navigate in work and societies. 

In their white paper, Schools of the Future: Defining New Models of Education for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the World Economic Forum (WEF) proposed a new framework for redefining quality education, contextualizing it to the new economic and social conditions we are thriving in. 

Let’s see what the schools of the future the Forum envisions look like.

Critical attributes

An education system that can deliver high-quality learning in the context of the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has educational materials and experiences possessing the following attributes, according to the Forum:

  1.  Global citizenship skills: educating the students on global matters, sustainability, and active participation in the global community.
  2. Innovation and creativity skills: the students should learn both analytic thinking and creativity in order to successfully solve problems and to innovate.
  3. Technology skills: Apart from digital skills like programming, responsible use of technology must also be taught.
  4. Interpersonal skills: In this highly-changing world, the need for emotional intelligence remains constant. 
  1. Personalized and self-paced learning: Instead of the traditional, standardized modes of learning, technology can be leveraged to cater to the individual learning styles of students.
  2. Accessible and inclusive learning: Instead of confining learning to those with access to buildings, making it accessible to everyone will entail inclusivity in the education system.
  3. Problem-based and collaborative learning: Learning should move from the highly mechanical approach to a project- or problem-based approach. Peer collaboration should also be encouraged.
  4. Lifelong and student-driven learning: Encouraging a system of continuous learning will let students acquire new skills on their own based on their needs. 
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The road to holistic education

In the framework developed by the Forum, we can see that our education system must not only be able to produce students who can keep up with the quickly developing digital world, so as to mirror the future of work. 

Citizens of the future must also be able to gain human-centric skills to assist in shaping economies that are not only technologically developed but also productive, equitable, cohesive, and inclusive.

While the education system we have worked excellently for the era it was developed in, it has clearly gone out of fashion. 

For education that is relevant and of high quality to materialize, there is a need to make some fundamental changes in the traditional system. 

Even before we begin to think of developing a holistic education system, we must also not forget that access gaps in education remain to be a reality for a considerable number of countries in the modern world.  

All of these changes demand a close collaboration between education sectors, educators, and leaders. The future holds a lot of things that will make our world better, but it is up to us to begin paving the roads. 

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