There are many symptoms of the current malaise in education and they won’t be relieved unless we understand the deeper problems underlying them. One is the industrial character of public education. The issue in a nutshell is this: most developed countries did not have mass systems of public education much before the mid-19th century. These systems were developed to meet the labour needs of the Industrial Revolution and they are organised on the principles of mass production. The problem is that these systems are inherently unsuited to the wholly different circumstances of the 21st century.
– Ken Robinson & Lou Aronica, authors of Creative Schools: revolutionizing education from the ground up
Recent years have shown that current leadership capabilities are out of sync with a rapidly emergent new global social and environmental paradigm and that the pace of change continues to accelerate beyond the capabilities of traditional approaches to education. It is widely accepted that new mindsets and skills are needed to navigate the nature and pace of change and chart a different course of action. Only changed thinking will lead to changed outcomes.
The 2019 World Economic Forum Global Risks report (January 2019) identifies the “intensification” of global risks coupled with “a lack of collective will” to address them, concluding that “we are drifting deeper into global problems from which we will struggle to extricate ourselves.” We are concerned that the risk of an unchanged education system is not at the top of this list when education – and mindsets produced through it, is arguably the single greatest driver of the top five identified risks of 2019: societal, economic, geopolitical, environmental and technological.
Whilst the world is changing, rapidly and in unpredictable ways, demanding new and unforeseen personal skills and qualities, the education system remains largely static: antiquated and rooted in an industrial era, insufficiently responsive to varying degrees of “reform” which represent, for the most part, tinkering at the edges. More than ever before, the system as a whole is recognised as unfit for purpose, with a curriculum teaching “the irrelevant to the disinterested”, the product increasingly young people emerging to be tomorrow’s leaders ill-equipped for jobs that will no longer exist in a world facing extinction.
To further our objective to promote more relevant education that integrates sustainability principles and practices into education policy and practice all levels, the Trust together is working to convene stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors including educational institutions at all levels. By bringing together thinking and doing partners: practitioners, policy makers, academics, educators, curriculum developers, NGOs, business leaders and youth from all over the world, by enabling them with the time and space to explore, share, learn and co-create innovative and inspired actions, we hope to challenge and harness divergent thinking, distil key messages and ultimately turn ideas into action.
Outcomes are expected at different levels: individual, organizational (for the institutions, organisations or companies represented) and at the systemic level by contributing to international discussions and commitments as well as fostering change in the domestic contexts of the participants.
If you are interested in learning more or in being involved, please contact us.
Youth & Educators