The Future of Work: OECD Paper

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A recent paper published by the OECD, The Future We Want, describes the OEDC Learning Framework 2030. We have made note of some of the concepts in this paper that we thought were particularly relevant to New Zealand schools today:

  • The  children  entering  education in  2018 will be young adults in 2030. Schools can prepare them for jobs that  have  not  yet  been  created,  for  technologies  that  have  not  yet  been  invented,  to  solve  problems  that  have  not  yet  been anticipated. It will be a shared responsibility to seize opportunities and find solutions.
  • Children  entering  school  in  2018  will  need  to  abandon  the  notion  that  resources  are  limitless  and  are  there  to  be  exploited;  they  will  need  to  value  common  prosperity,  sustainability  and well-being. They will need to be responsible and empowered, placing collaboration above division, and sustainability above short-term gain.
  • But  well-being  involves  more  than access  to  material  resources,  such  as  income and  wealth,  jobs  and  earnings,  and  housing.  It  is  also related to  the quality  of  life,  including health,  civic  engagement,  social  connections,  education,  security,  life satisfaction  and the environment. Equitable access to all of these underpins the concept of inclusive growth.
  • Education needs to aim to do more than prepare young people for the world of work; it needs to equip students with the skills they need to become active, responsible and engaged citizens.
  • Future-ready students need to exercise agency, in  their  own  education  and  throughout life… Two  factors,  in  particular,  help  learners  enable  agency.
    • The  first  is  a  personalised  learning  environment  that  supports  and motivates each student to nurture his or her passions, make connections between different learning experiences and opportunities, and design their own learning projects and processes in collaboration with others.
    • The second is building a solid foundation: literacy and numeracy remain crucial. In the era of digital transformation and with the advent of big data, digital literacy and data literacy are becoming increasingly essential, as are physical health and mental well-being.
  • Future-ready  students  will  need  both broad and specialised  knowledge.  Disciplinary  knowledge  will  continue  to  be  important,  as  the  raw  material  from  which  new  knowledge  is  developed,  together  with  the  capacity  to  think  across  the  boundaries  of  disciplines and “connect  the  dots”.  Epistemic knowledge, or knowledge about the disciplines, such as knowing how to think like a mathematician, historian  or  scientist,  will  also  be  significant,  enabling  students  to  extend  their  disciplinary  knowledge.
  • Students  will  need  to  apply  their  knowledge  in  unknown  and  evolving  circumstances.  For  this,  they  will  need  a  broad  range  of  skills,  including  cognitive  and  meta-cognitive  skills  (e.g.  critical  thinking,  creative  thinking,  learning  to  learn  and  self-regulation);  social  and  emotional  skills  (e.g.  empathy,  self-efficacy  and  collaboration);  and  practical  and  physical skills (e.g. using new information and communication technology devices).
  • The OECD Education 2030 project has identified three further categories of competencies, the “Transformative Competencies”, that together address the growing need for young people to be innovative, responsible and aware:
    • Creating new value
    • Reconciling tensions and dilemmas
    • Taking responsibility
  • In  its  work across different countries, OECD Education 2030 has identified five common challenges.
    • 1. Confronted with the needs and requests of parents, universities and employers, schools are dealing with curriculum overload. As a result, students often lack sufficient time to master key disciplinary concepts or, in the interests of a balanced life, to nurture friendships, to sleep and to exercise. It is time to shift the focus of our students from “more hours for learning” to “quality learning time”.
    • 2. Curricula reforms suffer from time lags between recognition, decision making, implementation and impact. The gap between the intent of the curriculum and learning outcome is generally too wide.
    • 3. Content must be of high quality if students are to engage in learning and acquire deeper understanding.
    • 4. Curricula should ensure equity while innovating; all students, not just a select few, must benefit from social, economic and technological changes.
    • 5. Careful planning and alignment is critically important for effective implementation of reforms.

Click here to link to a PDF copy of the full report.