beblavy1_FREDERIC J. BROWNAFP via Getty Images_school reform FREDERIC J. BROWNAFP via Getty Images

A Bottom-Up Approach to Education Reform

The global economy is undergoing a digital transformation, but educational systems are lagging in providing the skills students need for the careers of the future. Where should governments turn to develop the programs needed to expand digital literacy and strengthen critical thinking?

BRATISLAVA – COVID-19 has accelerated the digitalization of the global economy. According to OECD estimates, nearly one-third of all jobs globally are likely to be transformed by technology in the next decade. And the World Economic Forum estimates that 133 million new jobs will be created in major markets by the end of next year to meet the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These jobs will require workers to have knowledge and skills that educational systems are not yet providing. Preparing the workforce of the future will require a change in what students are being taught – and how.

Educational reform traditionally has been viewed as a top-down process that begins with national governments and is implemented with the goal of improving institutional results, as measured by student performance. This practice is well established. Recent examples from the European Commission include recommendations to expand the role of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in school curriculums in Belgium and Spain; proposals to increase the teaching of digital skills in schools in Bulgaria, Portugal, and the Netherlands; and plans to reduce social inequalities in accessing the education system in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Romania.

More in-depth reviews of educational strategy, such the OECD Education Policy Outlook, monitor the progress of proposed reforms and provide detailed guidance on specific aspects, including the quality of teaching and learning, professional development for teachers, pedagogical leadership, school curricula, vision, expectations, and student assessment.

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