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Education II

Education II Bibliozone

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”

Nelson Mandela



Categories of “foresight and education” by Dr Bob Day


Categorisation is a useful tool when confronted with the flood of information available via web resources, particularly for such a broad subject area as education. The lists below are a first attempt at creating useful categories and sub-categories for education through the lens of the future. If they prove to be of any use, hopefully they will be improved by all that use them on an ongoing basis.

The initial idea was simply to make it easier for FFD users to quickly locate the information resources most relevant to their interests. However, in compiling these lists, it has become clear that there is some valuable meta-information here. For example, there appears to be much greater effort to gain insights into the future of some areas of the education system, whilst other areas appear to be somewhat neglected, particularly in developing countries.

At the highest level, I suggest that there are two fundamental categories regarding the future of the global education system(s):

  • Improve the system(s) we have inherited: based on the assumption that although it is not perfect, the basic model is working - it has got the developed world to where it is today. However, many argue that a range of reforms (some fairly radical) need to be implemented across the various levels. Most people hold this conservative position, often by default.
  • Start again: based on the assumption that the system is irreparably broken, and any good it appears to do is outweighed by the ongoing damage it does to future generations via its inherent elitism and irrelevance. We need to start again. A disparate group (some intellectuals, many “discarded” youngsters, some entrepreneurs and innovators, etc.) hold this radical position (or cloud of positions).

Under each of these categories, I suggest a range of sub-categories. Of course, these sub-categories are not water-tight “silos”. There are many grey areas, and sometimes significant overlap. Below, the various web resources have been placed (via a subjective process) under the sub-category to which they appear to be most relevant.


Improve the system(s) we have inherited


Developed world countries:
Two areas tend to be focused on:

  • new or improved learner/teacher activities; and
  • new or improved administrative processes.

Most administrators (who usually control education budgets) tend to spend their time and funds on the latter with questionable results, whereas the needs (and opportunities) lie with understanding and improving the learning experiences of the majority of learners (NOT just those at the top of the class). Both of these areas are included in each of the following subcategories:

  • Focus on early childhood development

Early Childhood Education: A Global Scenario

  • Focus on primary/secondary education

Schooling for Tomorrow - The Starterpack: Futures Thinking in Action

  • Focus on tertiary education

Higher Education to 2030
Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution
Four Future Scenarios for Higher Education
Openness, Dynamic Specialization, and the Disaggregated Future of Higher Education
Global Student Mobility 2025: Forecasts of the Global Demand for International Higher Education
Scenarios for Higher Education, 2020
The Future of Higher Education: Beyond the Campus
Competing Higher Education Futures in a Globalising World
The Future of Universities: New Dynamics for Development
Six Scenarios for Universities
The Future of the University: A Perspective from the Oort Cloud
Building Futures Intelligence Capacity through Education
Open Yale Courses
Forces Shaping University Futures
What will the college of 2020 look like?

  • Focus on ABET and “life-long learning”
  • Focus on the “non-formal” education sector, often by private sector players looking at the development of “economy-relevant skills” which the formal sector continues to fail to provide.

The Future of Learning Development: Trends, Topics, Tools to Stay Ahead of the Curve
Trends in diversification of post – secondary education
Tourism Education Futures 2010 - 2030

  • Focus on Open Distance Learning (ODL) opportunities across all the above subcategories

Global trends in higher education, adult and distance learning

  • Focus on the application of technology (particularly ICTs) across all the above subcategories

A Vision for Life Long Learning – Year 2020
Challenges for the Future of Learning Until 2030: Foresight on Learning, Innovation and Creativity
The Horizon Report 2011
The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age
The future of higher education: how technology will shape learning
Seven Meta – trends and the Future of Learning
Future of Libraries: Can they survive budget cuts and digitization?
The Future of Learning Objects
Education and Technology in 2025: A Thought Experiment
Scenario Planning and the Future of Education
The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On
Technology to Enhance Learning in 2015

  • Focus on the education system as a whole

Three Educational Scenarios for the Future: lessons from the sociology of knowledge
The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change
Projection of populations by level of educational attainment, age, and sex for 120 countries for 2005 2050
The Future of Learning
Future of Learning 2030


Developing world countries (including South Africa):
The common approach is to design “copy and catch-up” strategies to try to emulate first world examples of the education system in a particular developing society – clearly based on the assumption that such systems are working. In African countries, including South Africa, the practical emphasis is on various forms of “literacy” rather than on encouraging each individual to understand and develop their own thinking skills. All the above subcategories hold under this header.

  • Focus on early childhood development
  • Focus on primary/secondary education

Development of Maritime High Schools in the Eastern Cape

  • Focus on tertiary education

Harvesting the Future: The Case for Tertiary Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
The University of the Future: Perspectives for Tanzania

  • Focus on ABET and “life-long learning”
  • Focus on the “non-formal” education sector, often by private sector players looking at the development of “economy-relevant skills” which the formal sector continues to fail to provide.
  • Focus on Open Distance Learning (ODL) opportunities across all the above subcategories

ICT and the Future of Distance Education

  • Focus on the application of technology (particularly ICTs) across all the above subcategories

Schooling in the Future: A South African Scenario

  • Focus on the education system as a whole

South African Education Scenarios for 2019
World Bank Group Education Strategy 2020
Window on the Future: 2025 Projections of education attainment and its impact
African Futures 2050: The next forty years
AIDS in Africa: Three scenarios for the education sector
Education Counts: Towards the Millennium Development Goals


Start Again


The evidence is mounting that the above systems are misguided meritocracies, where scientifically unfounded methods of gauging the intelligence of each individual are used to grade and sub-divide our young, especially in their early years, with the inevitable result that those at the “top” receive the most focus, and become tomorrow’s elite. Naturally, those elites see little wrong with the education system – “it worked for me” – and so usually are not motivated to consider, and particularly to allocate resources for major revisions.

To start again, we need to find ways of NOT producing elites based on poor evidence, but instead recognize that each healthy human is born with a brain similar to all others in its potential, but with remarkable degrees of diversity between individuals. We need to help each individual understand the potential of their minds, how best to use them, and in which areas they appear to have particular mental strengths. There remains much research to be done in this regard, but four focus areas come to mind:

  • Learning by discovering
  • Learning by doing
  • Learning in small groups
  • Gaining knowledge without the “silos” of disciplines

Shikshantar is an applied research institute dedicated to catalyzing radical systemic transformation of education
2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning
Towards new learning networks
The Future of Education and Learning
2020 and beyond: Future scenarios for education in the age of new technologies
The Future of Knowledge Creation: Visioning a Capacity Revolution – a Futures Literacy Workshop
The Future of Education by Thomas Frey



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