Saturday, January 15, 2005
Learning for the 21 stC
Preparing citizens for the 21stC.
According to ‘The Partnership for 21stC Schools,’ a public private organization formed in 2002, a nation needs a vision for education that will inspire teachers, students and the wider community.
In their report ‘Learning for the 21stC’ they articulate such a vision. This vision asks for schools to change dramatically. The Partnership is committed to promoting a national dialogue about 21stC skills.
The vision they propose is an exciting and easily understood one.
Schools worldwide have not yet faced up to the attributes students will need to thrive in what will be exiting but unpredictable future. The partnership faces up to 21stC realities and defines the essential skills students will need rather than tinkering with a system well past its 'use by date'.
Today’s education faces irrelevance unless the gap is bridged between how students live and how they learn. Schools should be designed around the way students learn and for the 21stC Literacy must mean more than reading, writing and computing skills; it means knowing how to use these skills in the context of modern life. As writer Alvin Toffler points out, ‘The illiterate of the 21stC will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.’
And as John Dewey wrote many years ago, ‘the aim of education is to enable individuals to continue their education….the object and reward is learning is continued capacity for growth.’
While we currently fail about a third of our students we have along way to go and we can’t get there with the schools we currently have.
As Peter Drucker, the business philosopher has written, no country as yet has designed a 21stC education system. He has also stated that no organisation will have to change as much as schools.
The Partnership has made a good start with rethinking education but it is only the beginning.
Download the report and have a read - well worth the trouble.
The Partnership includes: AOL Time Warner, Apple, Cable in the Classroom, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft , SAP, national Education Foundation.