Schooling for Tomorrow – Principles and Directions for Policy


Download article (.pdf) | By Ylva Johansson | Published in Networks of Innovation, OECD/CERI, 2003


Johansson, the former Swedish Minister of Education, as Chair of the Rotterdam Schooling for Tomorrow conference produced these conclusions. She argues that schools “represent a very important investment for our countries in making the further transformation from industrial to the knowledge-based societies of today and tomorrow, but for this they must be revitalised and dynamic”. Her conclusions, which “cover both general directions for policy and support for local-level innovation,” are presented as the following orientations for future policies:

  • Because it is vital to narrow the achievement gap within and among schools, schools must be strong organisations with high ambitions.
  • Schools must be democratic agents for social cohesion. Schools must meet their goal of building social capital, cohesion, and inclusion. Authorities should set standards for schooling, but they must allow local initiative to meet those standards. Educational innovation should be firmly rooted in local needs.
  • If schools are to meet demanding public responsibilities, they must be well-resourced.
  • Networks and partnerships are critical. Isolation characterises the educational systems of too many OECD countries. Partnerships may address skills and employment, society and culture, or bring together different parts of the educational world; parents are among the most important partners.
  • The focus needs to shift from teaching to learning. Since schools aim to foster in students a desire for lifelong learning, schools need to be fitted for this shifting curriculm emphasis.
  • Teachers and school leadership require continuing development and training opportunities. Teachers should be motivated and work through networks and teams. Also, overcoming the teacher shortage requires new incentives to attract high-quality and diverse teachers.
  • ICT as a learning and development tool should be used to the utmost in school learning. There must be close links in ICT learning strategies among schools, homes and communities in order to bridge any “digital divide”.

She concludes with a look at educational innovation. She says that experimentation in education is necessary; evaluation of the experiments and dissimination of the results amongst networks can reveal new solutions to the challenges schools face.


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