Question box #9
To build this desired future, what we must all learn... at school is:
Photo: Leilani Angel
The question of what should be taught in schools to create the future that young people seek is central to this consultation, and is probably its most important result. This question incorporates the hopes, fears, and collective challenges expressed throughout by participants. It is the manifestation of potential solutions regarding the lessons that should be taught: a way for young people to transform their aspirations and concerns into concrete proposals for the educational system.
When they are asked what we must all learn at school to create the future they seek, the top answer given by young people is to learn or relearn personal values and virtues that allow people to “live together” in harmony. They mention areas such as respect, kindness, solidarity, moral values in general, tolerance, open-mindedness, empathy, acceptance, responsibility, friendship, love, and more.
This result, coupled with the near-total absence of traditional skills and aptitudes such as science, technology, engineering, math, social sciences, and the humanities, all of which are traditionally taught at school, is staggering. All over the world, the youth are practically shouting at the top of their lungs about the urgent need for a foundation of values and virtues on which to develop our social relationships and interactions with each other, and bring them back into harmony.
Almost a quarter of respondents see schools as a place in which to pass on personal values and virtues. They focus their attention on interpersonal values, qualities that nourish our social interactions: respect, solidarity, and empathy. Alongside this, other values emerge that are more focused on individual development. Responsibility, patience, and courage are mentioned, painting a picture of an individual who is both aware of their duties to others and able to excel.
Environmental concerns, already perceived as a major challenge for the future, surface once again in suggestions for learning. Young people call for more education on environmental issues, highlighting topics such as combating climate change, adopting sustainable lifestyles, and respecting and protecting the environment.
One in ten participants urges schools to place more emphasis on learning interpersonal and teamwork skills, of which communication, collaboration, and mutual understanding are the most frequently mentioned. This desire for an approach to learning that is more focused on interacting with others is reinforced by contributions highlighting the importance of social causes and emotional and behavioral skills.
Schools are seen as places for learning practical life skills that offer benefits in everyday life and in the workplace. Respondents mention topics such as financial management, sex education, and other practical skills that are essential to a fulfilled adult life.
Young people also value the ability to learn cognitive and problem-solving skills. Critical thinking, the cornerstone of this category, is viewed as an essential skill for young people to develop.
Beside these cross-disciplinary skills, traditional academic subjects are not forgotten. Management science, social sciences, humanities, and hard sciences: all have their place in the range of subjects that young people want to learn. However, the way they are taught must be updated and adapted to a constantly changing world to offer young people the tools they need to understand and have an impact on their environment.
Finally, the young participants call for an education that allows them to better understand the world and its mechanisms. Schools must provide the means to help young people better understand how political bodies and systems work, collectively prepare for the future, become well-informed citizens, and understand how society operates.
Overview of the main themes
You will find below a graph in which you can navigate to learn more about the themes brought by the participants. Each theme (also called “cluster”) relates to an idea expressed by participants. There are two types of clusters: macro-clusters, which relate to more general categories, and sub-clusters, which break down the ideas into finer detail and are attached to macro-clusters. The percentages displayed correspond to the number of participants who have written about this theme among all participants who answered the question. For readability, only clusters cited by more than 1% of participants are displayed.
The representation below is dynamic: tap or click on the boxes to see the clusters in detail. You can also use the filters.
Differences between world regions
The global mirror of education: Values, environmental protection, and emotional education
All over the world, a clear trend is emerging: the importance of personal values and virtues. This is the topic most commonly mentioned by participants, with the notable exception of East Asia and the Pacific, where participants focused instead on knowledge and skills in general.
Environmental protection also emerges as a crucial teaching focus, one that is particularly highly prized in North America, Europe, and Central Asia. This theme is in line with current ecological challenges, reflecting the strong desire of the youth to feel ready to tackle those challenges.
Finally, a unique observation comes from South and East Asia and the Pacific, where emotional skills are frequently mentioned. This underlying trend paves the way for broader thinking on the importance of emotional education within educational systems.
Tap or click on the boxes to see the clusters in detail. You can also use the filters to compare regions.
Some remarquable answers from the entire world
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