By Omoh Gabriel
The World Economic Forum has identified 16 Schools of the Future of with two in Kenya and Mali qualifying from the Africa continent. Nigeria is completely out of the picture. School of the future are defined as schools, school systems and programmes that are playing a critical role in preparing the global citizens and workforces of the future. Located in five continents as well as in developing and developed economies, and collectively reaching nearly 2.5 million children, these schools represent public-private collaborations to improve education systems with strategies including aligning curricula with future skills needs, training teachers in the latest industry practices and providing hands-on education experiences for students.
According to the World Economic Forum report released in Geneva “A new white paper, schools of the future defining new models of education for the fourth industrial revolution, outlines a framework to define quality education in the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Education 4.0 – and shares key features from innovative education models. In parallel, the Forum is launching the Education 4.0 initiative to mobilise multi-stakeholder collaborations to accelerate the scaling up of best practices and enable system-level transformation in education. Through a consultative process with educators, policy-makers, business leaders, EdTech developers and experts, the World Economic Forum has proposed eight shifts within education content and experiences to define quality education in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The framework serves as an important first step in setting the direction of innovation in education and reviving it as a means to improved social mobility and inclusion”.
According to the report, innovation-driven economies and increasingly interconnected and interdependent societies demand that children develop four key skill sets global citizenship, innovation and creativity, technology and interpersonal skills. Fostering these skills will require a shift towards radical new approaches to learning that are personalised and self-paced, accessible and inclusive, problem-based and collaborative as well as lifelong and student-driven. The school of the future according to WEF are The Green School Indonesia; The Kakuma Project, Innovation Lab Schools Kenya; The Knowledge Society Canada;Kabakoo Academies Mali, TEKY STEAM (Viet Nam); Accelerated Work Achievement and Readiness Programme (Indonesia); iEARN (Spain); South Tapiola High School (Finland): Pratham’s Hybrid Learning Programme (India): Anji Play (China): Prospect Schools (USA): Tallahassee Community College, Digital Rail Project (USA): Innova Schools (Peru): British School Muscat (Oman): Skills Builder Partnership (United Kingdom). Skilling for Sustainable Tourism (Ecuador).
According to the World Economic Forum “Systems-level change is needed to realise Education 4.0 for all children. There are more than 260 million children out of school today, and an additional 617 million children in school, but not learning adequately. Even those enrolled in relatively well-performing education systems are often missing the core tenets of future-ready education. Without urgent action to address these gaps, more than 1.5 billion children could be left unprepared to fulfill their potential by 2 030, posing risks for future productivity and equality. The Schools of the Future can serve as inspiration for leapfrogging to the education of the future for those children who lack access to schooling, and as a vision for changing content and experiences for children currently enrolled in schools, system-level change is needed to realise Education 4.0 for all students.
“To facilitate the transition to the education of the future, the World Economic Forum is launching the Education 4.0 initiative as one of five Forum-led flagship initiatives of the Reskilling Revolution platform, which aims to provide better jobs, education and skills to 1 billion people by 2030. The initiative invites education ministers, finance ministers and chief executive officers from business who are champions of education as well as other stakeholders to join the Forum platform to define and implement a holistic action agenda to realize Education 4.0. There is clear consensus that education systems must be updated to ensure children become productive, innovative and civic-minded members of society. Educators, education and finance ministries, and private-sector leaders have a moral and economic responsibility to co-create and implement new models to ensure that all children are prepared for the future. This is why the World Economic Forum is launching the Education 4.0 initiative and developing a community of leading champions for mobilising change on this agenda,” said Saadia Zahidi, Head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society and Managing Director of the World Economic Forum.
The initiative aims to mobilise key stakeholders in transitioning to Education 4.0 and reaching 100 million children and teachers by designing and implementing the schools of the future; empowering teachers to lead the education transformation; codifying and scaling up best practices through policy and increasing connectivity between schools and school systems for global best practice exchange.
“Education 4.0 and the Schools of the Future provide great guiding principles for creating learning environments that support children’s future needs. Teachers are the key to unlocking this new type of learning and require targeted support from public- and private-sector leaders to make this vision a reality”, said Andria Zafirakou, Teacher, Arts and Textile, Alperton Community School, 2018 Global Teacher Prize Winner.
The Schools of the Future Report and the Education 4.0 initiative are part of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society. The platform provides the opportunity to advance prosperous, inclusive and equitable economies and societies. It focuses on co-creating a new vision in three interconnected areas: growth and competitiveness; education, skills and work; and equality and inclusion. Working together, stakeholders deepen their understanding of complex issues, shape new models and standards and drive scalable, collaborative action for systemic change. More than 100 of the world’s leading companies and 100 international, civil society and academic organisations use the platform to promote new approaches to competitiveness in the Fourth Industrial Revolution economy. They also deploy education and skills for tomorrow’s workforce, are creating a pro-worker and pro-business agenda for jobs, and are looking to integrate equality and inclusion into the new economy.