The future of education lies in a new role and new content

24 april 2017

The online survey that the Analytical Center was conducting as part of the Image of the Future in Education special project has ended. Its findings suggest that under the current conditions it is not just the tools and content of education that need to be revised but its role in society as well. The ideas about what education is all about that emerged in the 20th century are failing to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Today's realities are forcing educators to pay close attention to technologies that help promote innovations in education. Thus, 62 % of the respondents say the value of education is only going to increase and the development of personalization systems in education needs to be supported. It is equally important to build mechanisms for interaction between formal and informal education, recognizing the status and role of the latter.

Even though the overall picture seems to be bright and sunny, the relatively high percentage (40 %) of respondents who believe that education today is a luxury rather than a necessity is a cause for concern. At the same time, equal access to education is the very social welfare standard that determines the gap between the quality of education available to different social groups.

Most of the respondents (over 80 %) believe that changes in education must occur before changes in any other area. But to achieve that it must be acknowledged that the role of education has changed from supportive to creative.

Is the existing education system managing to meet these highest demands of society? Recognizing the importance of the role played by the Ministry for Education of Russia, 47 % of the respondents believe that the future of education must be determined by the professional community of educators. 50 % of the respondents note that so far the involvement of professional education in deciding the future of education has remained rather limited. Lack of proper social communication venues, the dominating role that the ministry has assumed when working with professional educators and with society as a whole result in a situation where educators mostly remain uninvolved in the strategic decision-making process.

The education system has a bright future provided its content changes (that is according to 45 % of the respondents). The future of education lies in building an effective system for interaction between formal and informal education (including a system of network-based interaction) and changing the content creation paradigms to take into account the realities of digitization.

There is a broad range of mechanisms for implementing future strategies in education: from personalized curricula, systems for promoting and developing specific skills and qualifications to social communication venues, including international ones. Seeing how Russia is striving to be a leader in global education, the goals the country has to achieve in this field are quite ambitious.