Segnalazione del No.4, vol.44, dicembre 2014 della rivista del Bureau internazionale dell’educazione dedicato all’apprendimento e alle competenze per il 21esimo secolo.

Version imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

The Future of Schooling

La questione dei curricoli per il 21esimo secolo preoccupa tutte le principali istituzioni internazionali che si dedicano ai problemi scolastici e all’istruzione e quindi anche all’UNESCO. Questo argomento non è solo un soggetto di cui parlano gli imprenditori o le fondazioni private o l’Unione Europea. La rapidissima evoluzione delle tecnologie della comunicazione ( si pensi alla rarità dei cellulari solo una decina di anni fa e alla quasi scomparsa delle cabine telefoniche), l’urbanizzazione dirompente, i problemi connessi ai cambiamenti climatici, la demografia galoppante ed incontrollata, il divario crescente tra ricchi e poveri esercitano una pressione tremenda sui sistemi scolastici e sulle funzioni della scuola. Tutti coloro che vivono nella scuola si rendono perfettamente conto che la scuola è scombussolata, che le riforme si accavallano perché si cerca una soluzione che non si trova. Qual è il tipo di sapere scolastico da proporre nella scuola odierna ? La risposta non si è ancora trovata. Non è una questione di consenso. E’ qualcosa di più complesso. Si avanza un poco a mosca cieca, a tentoni. Si provano diverse soluzioni ma non si vede ancora la fine del tunnel. Per altro come si apprende nel contesto attuale? Le indagini scientifiche degli anni 30 del secolo scorso devono essere riprese ed approfondite per tenere conto delle opportunità emerse con la divulgazione pressoché istantanea di modi di vita del tutto inattesi, di una cultura planetaria. Il vecchio ed il nuovo sono tra loro imbrigliati in modo tale da rendere molto ardua l’identificazione di strutture curriculari adeguate.


Prospects : Volume 44, Issue 4, December 2014

Learning and Competences for the 21st Century.

UNESCO & Bureau international de l’Education, International Bureau of Education Geneva

ISSN: 0033-1538 (Print) 1573-9090 (Online) Prospects
Between contributors some important names:
Paul Black, British; Juan Carlos Tedesco, Argentinia former IBE director, Sugata Mitra, Indian, professor at Newcastle University.

In this issue (10 articles)

  1. No Access


    Assessment and the aims of the curriculum: An explorer’s journey

    Paul Black



    This article considers lessons learnt through involvement in several assessment projects. Early experience, in university work and in school examinations, led to an opportunity to help establish a novel system of assessment for an innovative school curriculum. Different lessons were then learnt from work on a national survey of school students’ learning of science, and different lessons again while leading a group to advise the UK government on a new scheme for national testing of all students. Many welcomed the group’s advice but politicians rejected it; however, the recoil from this defeat led to very rewarding work on formative assessment. The article ends with reflection on the conflict between the summative and the formative and ways to resolve that conflict, along with the full benefit of formative approaches that investment can secure to help teachers share responsibility for high-stakes summative assessments.

  2. No Access

    Open File

    Principles for learning and competences in the 21st-century curriculum

    Clementina AcedoConrad Hughes


    This article addresses the core competences, attitudes and knowledge that the authors believe will promote transformative learning in the 21st century and should, therefore, feature in curriculum design. It first defines the purpose of curriculum, stressing the need for a coherent worldwide understanding of what is meant and intended by curriculum, and then focuses on learning as the cornerstone of curriculum, before turning to the guiding principles that should guide curricula in the 21st century.

  3. No Access

    Open File

    The curriculum debate: Why it is important today


    Juan Carlos TedescoRenato OperttiMassimo Amadio



    This article highlights some of the key issues in current discussions around curriculum, such as values education, inclusive education, competency-based approaches, soft and hard skills, and scientific and digital culture. It starts with the assumption that quality education for all is necessary to achieve social justice, and it looks at curricula as resulting from a process that reflects a societal agreement about the what, why, and how of education needed for the society in the future. Given the crucial tasks facing education systems—they must impart values to achieve a more just and inclusive society, must provide a variety of learning experiences to train a competent and active citizenship, and must ensure quality and equity in learning outcomes—the article argues that educators should first rethink the role of the school curriculum and ensure a wider policy dialogue around curriculum design and development.


  4. No Access

    Open File

    The future of schooling: Children and learning at the edge of chaos


    Sugata Mitra



    This paper describes the effect that assistive technologies, such as paper, printing, protractors, logarithm tables, computers, and the Internet, have on pedagogy. It reports the results of experiments with self-organising systems in primary education and develops the concept of a self-organised learning environment (SOLE). It then describes how SOLEs operate, and their possible effects on primary education in remote areas, and discusses the implications of the physics of complex systems and their possible connection with self-organised learning amongst children. Finally, it proposes a change in the examination system that would incorporate the Internet and concepts of self-organisation into schooling.

  5. No Access

    Open File

    Critical thinking for 21st-century education: A cyber-tooth curriculum?


    Steve Higgins



    It is often assumed that the advent of digital technologies requires fundamental change to the curriculum and to the teaching and learning approaches used in schools around the world to educate this generation of “digital natives” or the “net generation”. This article analyses the concepts of 21st-century skills and critical thinking, to understand how these aspects of learning might contribute to a 21st-century education. The author argues that, although both critical thinking and 21st-century skills are indeed necessary in a curriculum for a 21st-century education, they are not sufficient, even in combination. The role of knowledge and an understanding of differing cultural perspectives and values indicate that education should also fit local contexts in a global world and meet the specific needs of students in diverse cultures. It should also fit the particular technical and historical demands of the 21st century in relation to digital skills.

  6. No Access

    Open File

    Creativity in 21st-century education


    Lynn D. NewtonDouglas P. Newton



    The 2006 UNESCO conference Building Creative Competencies for the 21 st Century had international participants and a global reach. The Director-General’s proclamation that “Creativity is our hope” captured the essence of the proceedings and participants saw the focus on creativity as offering solutions to global problems. However, educators tend not to understand creativity appropriately or to value it strongly—and they tend to see it only through Western eyes. Only by considering other cultural views will we gain insights that can inform educational practice in the 21st-century global community. This article discusses some recent studies of creativity, reflecting the growing global interest in it and comparing that interest with established Western perspectives. A more comprehensive, international perspective might support a press for fostering creative thinking in schools and inform practices in our increasingly interconnected world; however, teacher training must introduce teachers to the diversity of views and the expectations of local people. 
  7. No Access

    Open File

    Whole Mind education for the emerging future

    Rama ManiScilla ElworthyMeenakshi GopinathJean HoustonMelissa Schwartz


    At a time of unprecedented multiple crises threatening life on earth, the wholesale transformation of cultures and societies has never been more imperative. This article draws on insights and experiences of a group of women leaders who met in Oxford in October 2013, for five days of intensive thinking and discussion on the emerging future. They concurred that more than any other single factor, transformed educational institutions, curricula and methodologies could help meet the challenges of the 21st century and shape a positive future for the earth. They use the term Whole Mind education for the central feature of transformed educational models and posit three components of it as providing the greatest benefit: integration, creativity and peace. This article draws especially on the research and insights of a subset of the Emerging Future group, who have pioneering experience in innovative education, at all levels, across much of the world.

  8. No Access

    Open File

    The Integral University: Holistic development of individuals, communities, organisations and societies

    Alexander SchiefferRonnie Lessem


    The article describes an approach towards a fully transformed university, coined Integral University. Linking Education (E), Research (R), Activation (A) and Catalysation (C), it can “CARE” for individual, organisation, communal and societal development. Within it, theory and practice, knowledge creation and transformative action go hand in hand. The article illustrates the vital developmental contribution that educational institutions can, and indeed must, make to address the most crucial issues of our time. It starts by introducing the Integral Worlds approach as the ontological and epistemological foundation for an Integral University, and then translates this approach into an evolved understanding of the functions of an Integral University. It concludes with practical current developments, from Zimbabwe to Egypt, from Nigeria to Slovenia, innovative cases that demonstrate its potential: a crucial contribution towards a necessary (r)evolution of today’s university.


United Nations development goals have consistently placed a high priority on the quality of education—and of learning. This has led to substantive increases in international development assistance to education, and also to broader attention, worldwide, to the importance of children’s learning. Yet, such goals are mainly normative: they tend to be averages across nations, with relatively limited attention to variations within countries. This review provides an analysis of the scientific tensions in understanding learning among poor and marginalized populations: those at the bottom of the pyramid. While international agencies, such as UNESCO and OECD, often invoke these populations as the “target” of their investments and assessments, serious debates continue around the empirical science involved in both research and policy. The present analysis concludes that the UN post-2015 development goals must take into account the critical need to focus on learning among the poor in order to adequately address social and economic inequalities.



Les documents de l'article