Making the young ‘future ready’ for a peaceful and sustainable world
The future of our world lies in the hands of the youth – with over three billion people below the age of thirty-four. For more peaceful and sustainable societies to foster, the bulge of this youth demographic will play a vital role in dealing with changing environments and the challenges of the 21st century.
To contend with issues such as exponential economic growth, increasing population, globalisation and rising inequalities, education systems will play a crucial part in equipping the youth with suitable skills to make them ‘future ready’. Education systems need to transform themselves to empower the young with socio-effective skills that will help them effectively
and efficiently respond to these challenges.
A report released in 2015 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) titled ‘New Vision for Education – Unlocking the Potential of Technology’ highlighted that in a technology driven world, students must possess competencies such as critical thinking and collaboration and character qualities including curiosity and adaptability in addition to the language arts, mathematics and sciences. Subsequent studies and reports by the WEF re-enforced these results, identifying the need for education systems to impart socio-emotional skills to complement the ‘technical skills’.
In the sixth issue of the Blue Dot, we focus on the importance of the 21st century skills for the young.
Based on existing research in the neurosciences, UNESCO MGIEP has identified four competencies that it believes the youth need to be equipped with to effectively address the challenges of the 21st century – including critical inquiry, mindfulness, empathy and compassion, which form the new integrative curriculum of UNESCO MGIEP’s LIBRE programme.
In the sixth issue of the Blue Dot, we focus on the importance of these 21st century skills for the young. The issue includes a foreword by the Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India on the importance of inculcating 21st century skills in education systems and our Cover Story, which introduces UNESCO MGIEP’s LIBRE programme that follows an ‘integrated brain’ approach to education. Additionally, we feature opinions by specialists from academia, research and the industry on the lacuna present in existing education systems and the opportunities available to address this gap by introducing socio-emotional skills and inquiry oriented learning into curricula. Amongst various experts, we hear from Ines Kudo and Joan Hartley from The World Bank on the importance of ‘Teaching empathy and compassion in schools’; Prof. K.P. Mohanan on ‘Critical Inquiry and Inquiry oriented education’ and Dr. Marilee Bresciani Ludvik on how mindfulness forms the foundation for cultivating compassion.
Further, we present excerpts from a collection of ‘Ask me Anything’ sessions focused on socio-emotional skills, hosted on Knowledge Commons, UNESCO MGIEP’s knowledge sharing platform. We have been honoured to have the opportunity to host and learn from experts such as Dr. Richard Davidson, recognised as one of ‘The 100 most influential people in the world’ in 2006 by the Time Magazine and Chade-Meng Tan, currently the Chairman of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute and Co-chair of One Billion Acts of Peace, which has been nominated eight times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I hope you enjoy reading this issue of The Blue Dot and, as always, look forward to your feedback in order to improvise future editions of the magazine.
Anantha Kumar Duraiappah
Director, UNESCO MGIEP