Learning the future

Trends Shaping Education

Education is a long-term investment, though at the same time it is faced with pressures from constant social and economic change.

This makes it harder for educators and policymakers to plan for the future.

Looking at present-day trends can give some idea as to how education might evolve, and this is what Trends Shaping Education sets out to do. It selects 26 major trends covering such dynamics as population change, economic, political and social developments, and the impact of technological innovation and climate change. Each trend is explained and assessed, and questions are asked about the potential impact on future education.

Take information technology. Since the 1990s and the advent of the Internet, IT has become an integral part of learning, from multimedia and open source to the likes of Wikipedia and blogs. Are schools doing enough to help children develop their IT skills and make full use of all these new technologies?

The report looks at social impacts too, at ageing for instance, which is having a profound effect on schools in terms of teaching and investment. Fewer children are being born in developed countries, and so school rolls will decline, the report argues, while overall teacher shortages will also persevere. This will affect local communities and the wider economy. One question raised in the report is how schools might meet the needs of older people.

Not that examining past trends is a reliable guide to the future. Also, forecasting the number of children who will enter primary education in 10 years’ time is probably easier to do than predicting, say, the next major technological breakthrough. But Trends Shaping Education is not a crystal ball, but a set of tools to help people think more deeply and openly about the changing world in which education must grow.

ISBN 978-92-64-04661-0

©OECD Observer No 269 October 2008




Economic data

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • How do the largest community of British expats living in Spain feel about Brexit? Britons living in Orihuela Costa, Alicante give their views.
  • Brexit is taking up Europe's energy and focus, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Watch video.
  • OECD Chief Economist Catherine Mann and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King discuss the economic merits of a US border adjustment tax and the outlook for US economic growth.
  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa. blogs.worldbank.org
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2017