Publish at December 15 2021 Updated January 06 2022

Rethinking our futures together - A new social contract for education

Report of the International Commission on the Future of Education

"But in order to be able to build peaceful, just and sustainable futures,
it is up to us to transform education itself."

Based on a global consultation of nearly one million people over two years, this Unesco report (2021) calls on governments, partners, and citizens around the world to develop a new social contract for education, to build a peaceful, just and sustainable future for all.

But in order to build these futures, it is up to us to transform education itself. Education can be approached as a form of social contract - an unspoken agreement to cooperate among members of a society to achieve an outcome that benefits all. It has its origins in a shared understanding of the public purposes of education.

The report specifically questions what we should retain from educational practices, what we should abandon, and what we should entirely reinvent.

Proposed directions

  • Guarantee the right to quality education throughout life.
  • Strengthen education as a public project and a common good.

"This profound change requires an organization of schooling that, in the future, should be centered on principles of inclusion and collaboration. Excellence, achievement, quality, assessment, and progress are valuable requirements, which must be maintained, but which can be redirected toward inclusion, not marginalization."

The library appearing as the central place, the material support of all possibilities.

With more and more people educated and more and more knowledge available, education becomes the product of our relationships and interdependencies. Under these new conditions, abandoning competitive individualism in education becomes almost a given.

Four principles can guide the necessary dialogue and action:

  1. At every point in their lives, individuals should have meaningful quality educational opportunities. Learning should be lifelong, in all areas of life, recognizing the importance of adult education.

  2. Healthy educational ecosystems connect natural, built, and virtual learning sites.

  3. Government capacity for public funding and regulation of education will need to be strengthened.

  4. The right to education will need to be expanded. The right to education defined solely on the basis of schooling no longer serves our needs well. Anyone, anywhere should have the right to lifelong learning. We will need to support the right to information and the right to culture as indispensable elements of the right to education, incorporating the right to connectivity.

    By 2050, we must abandon forms of pedagogy, lessons and assessments based on an individualistic and competitive definition of success. Instead, we will need to prioritize principles of interconnectedness, interdependence, and solidarity; cooperation and collaboration, which must form the basis of pedagogy as a collective and relational process; solidarity, compassion, and empathy, which must permeate our modes of learning.

For the full report:

Thinking our futures together - A new social contract for education - Unesco - 2021 - 206 pages - .pdf
Report of the International Commission on the Future of Education

In English:
In French:
In Spanish:

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