Frequently Asked Questions
What is the aim of the OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 project?
The OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 project was launched to help countries reflect on and explore the long-term challenges facing education. As part of this process, the project identifies the competencies (knowledge, skills, attitudes and values) today's students need to thrive in and shape their world towards a better future in 2030 and beyond. The project will also consider the profiles of teachers, the types of learning environments and the institutional arrangements that can help students develop these competencies.
In addition, the project aims to help make the process of curriculum design and development both evidence-based and systematic. The project aims neither at nor involves the prescription of national curricula but rather seeks to establish a common language and shared space within which countries can individually and collectively explore issues that affect the design of education systems.
How can the project contribute to the future of societies?
We cannot predict the future; but we need to be open and ready for it. The project aspires to help shape our societies towards a more sustainable and creative future by highlighting the role of education.
The goals of education are much wider than just preparing young people for the world of work. Schools need to prepare students 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. Education can equip young people with agency and a sense of purpose, as well as the competencies they need to fulfil their own potential, contribute to the lives of others, and help make a better future.
The project assists countries in preparing students, teachers and schools for the future by education goals, curricula, teaching models, assessments, teacher professional development and learning environments.
The project is aligned with, for example, goal 4.7 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for Education. For example, the project’s knowledge base on how countries embed “Global Citizenship” and “Education for Sustainable Development into existing subjects provides the basis on which countries can reflect on their own curriculum design and learn from each other.
What is the timeline of the OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 project?
The first phase of the project (2015-19) explores “what” questions, such as: what kind of competencies (knowledge, skills, attitudes and values) do today’s students need to thrive in and shape the future for better lives and well-being? The second phase of the project (2019 and beyond) explores “how” questions, such as: how can the design of learning environments foster these competencies, and how can curricula be effectively implemented?
What are the areas of work in Phase I (2015-19) of the project?
To respond to the interest and needs expressed by the participating countries, Phase I of the project (201 5-19) focused on two strands of activities:
- Concept-making with common language/taxonomy: i.e. developing a future-oriented conceptual learning framework that supports a common understanding of the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that are important for students to learn
- International comparative analysis on curriculum redesign: i.e. conducting an international curriculum analysis that can guide evidence-based debates and facilitate international peer-learning and self-reflection on curriculum redesign for the future.
Our Learning Framework defines a clear vision and goals for education systems, and a common language to be used by countries, local authorities, schools, teachers, students and other stakeholders. A shared language can facilitate comparisons across a wide range of education systems.
Our international curriculum analysis will build a knowledge base that will allow countries to make the curriculum-design process more systematic. It supports international peer learning and evidence-based debates among the project’s stakeholders.
- The Policy Questionnaire on Curriculum Redesign exercise gives countries the opportunity to learn from peers about good practices and the challenges of curriculum redesign, policy initiatives and strategies. It also provides an opportunity for self-reflection so that countries can position their own curriculum (e.g. visions, education goals and expected student outcomes) in comparison with those of other countries. It also maps trends across multiple country contexts.
- The Curriculum Content Mapping is a document-analysis exercise in which countries explore the extent to which and how competencies are included in their current curriculum. By mapping seven learning areas of the curriculum against a list of 28 competencies that stem from the OECD 2030 Learning Framework, countries explore how knowledge can be taught together with skills (e.g. critical thinking, creative thinking, co-operation/collaboration), and attitudes and values (e.g. respect, empathy). This can help countries better understand how particular skills, attitudes and values are more or less relevant to certain learning areas/subjects. CCM also helps identify how emerging demands for interdisciplinary competencies (e.g. global competency, digital literacy) can be accommodated in existing learning areas. This can help countries avoid overloading their curricula.
- The Mathematics Curriculum Documents Analysis project investigates the extent to which countries have incorporated 21st-century skills in their current mathematics curriculum. Participating countries identify one or more mathematics experts to take part in a week-long workshop on coding relevant and desired mathematics curriculum documents, including curriculum guides and textbook materials, making use of the 21st-Century Mathematics Framework developed for MCDA in conjunction with PISA 2021. Benefits for participating countries include: learning the extent to which the PISA 2021 concept of mathematics literacy is represented in a country’s current mathematics curriculum; comparing individual mathematics curricula to contemporary international benchmarks; informing ongoing reform efforts towards a 21st-century vision of mathematics education; and creating a mathematics curriculum profile to provide a relevant interpretive context for a country’s PISA 2021 mathematics literacy performance.
- The stock-taking exercise on physical and health education marks the first time that the OECD has focused on “physical and health education curriculum” as part of its policy analysis. It takes stock of research evidence on the effects of physical education/health education on student academic outcomes and well-being. It also aims to describe the state of physical education/health education policies, curricula, practices and perspectives in various countries.
Are the project and its IWG members developing a global prescriptive curriculum?
No, the project does not prescribe; rather, it provides an opportunity to look forward and broaden ways of thinking about what competencies young people need to thrive in and shape the future for the better. The OECD 2030 Learning Framework is globally informed and locally contextualised. The project chose to use the word “learning” as opposed to “curriculum” for the framework to embrace all forms of learning, including formal, non-formal and informal activities. The framework acknowledges that competencies are developed both in and outside of school.
What are the areas of work in Phase II (2019 and beyond) of the project?
With broad agreement reached on the question of what knowledge, skills, attitudes and values today’s students need to learn in order to thrive in and shape a better future, Phase II will explore how redesigned curricula can be best delivered to ensure that all students, regardless of their backgrounds, have the chance to acquire the desired competencies and achieve the broader goals of education. Thus the focus will shift to the “how” question, i.e. how education systems can effectively deliver the redesigned curriculum, and translate it into learning.
Drawing on the working methods established in Phase I, Phase II will also involve two activities:
- Concept-making with common language/taxonomy: the focus of conceptualisation will shift from “learning for 2030” to “teaching for 2030”
- Curriculum analysis: the focus will shift from “curriculum design” to “curriculum implementation”.
What stakeholders are involved in the project?
Our stakeholders include system leaders and action leaders who are policy makers, academics, school leaders, teachers and students from school networks, teachers, school, and social partners (e.g. private foundations, private companies and community services) who have a genuine interest in supporting system change for better a future. To this end, consultations are conducted with a wide range of project stakeholders to ensure that they participate in the co-creation of concept making, which requires expertise beyond research evidence.