Overview of the Six SfT Scenarios


Each of the six Schooling for Tomorrow scenarios depicts a distinctive configuration resulting from societal change or failure to respond to such changes. Each is different enough from all the others to provide a useful strategic tool in its own right. However, the scenarios are also close enough to fall under broader categories, and display various development paths for strategic planning, as shown in this overview.



One scenario depicts schools unaffected by external trends and reforms. They are impervious top-down bureaucracies, closed to outside pressure: 

1. Schools in 'back to the future'

This scenario shows schools in powerful, bureaucratic, systems that are resistant to change. Schools continue mostly with 'business as usual', defined by isolated units - schools, classes, teachers - in top-down administrations.  The system reacts little to the wider environment, and operates to its own conventions and regulations.



Two scenarios depict strong, dynamic schools in strong cultures of equity and consensus about their value, following system-wide, root-and-branch reform:

2. Schools as focused learning organisations

In this scenario, schools function as focal learning organisations, revitalised around a knowledge agenda in cultures of experimentation, diversity, and innovation. The system enjoys substantial investment, especially to benefit disadvantaged communities and maintain high teacher working conditions.


3. Schools as core social centres
In this scenario, the walls around schools come down but they remain strong, sharing responsibilities with other community bodies. Non-formal learning, collective tasks and intergenerational activities are strongly emphasised. High public support ensures quality environments, and teachers enjoy high esteem.



In these two scenarios schooling moves from formal institutions into more diverse, privatised, and informal arrangements. Schools themselves may even disappear. These changes are demand-driven or result from the growth of alternatives:

4. The extended market model

This scenario depicts a wide extension of market approaches in who provides education, how it is delivered, how choices are made, and resources distributed. Governments withdraw from running schools, pushed by dissatisfaction of "consumers." This future might bring innovation and dynamism, and it might exclusion and inequality.

5. Learning networks replacing schools
This scenario imagines the disappearance of schools per se, replaced by learning networks operating within a highly developed "network society." Networks based on diverse cultural, religious and community interests lead to a multitude of diverse formal, non-formal, and informal learning settings, with intensive use of ICTs.



The last scenario depicts a crisis with authorities unable to respond to an exodus of teachers, resulting in a breakdown of the system:

6. Teacher exodus and crisis

This scenario depicts a meltdown of the school system. It results mainly from a major shortage of teachers triggered by retirement, unsatisfactory working conditions, more attractive job opportunities elsewhere.



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