The Future of Education: Reimagining Skills for an Uncertain Future

Last month, The Economist hosted a thought-provoking live panel discussion with esteemed education experts to discuss the state of education and the skills that are now needed to prepare young people for an increasingly complex and uncertain future.

Speakers included: Patrick Brazier, Chief executive at Education Development Trust, Sobhi Tawil, Director, future of learning and innovation at UNESCO, Amna Usman Chaudhry, Financial economist and strategist at Blockchain, metaverse and web 3.0 and our own Harry Brekelmans, Projects & technology director and Executive Sponsor of Shell NXplorers.

When discussing what the highest priorities were for education, some common themes were unearthed between the panel which were:

  1. Building foundations to level the playing field: Patrick Brazier, Chief Executive at Education Development Trust, began the discussion highlighting the learning loss that has happened post-pandemic, with Maths and English scores at an all-time low in the UK. Establishing strong educational foundations in reading and writing from an early stage is imperative to creating an equal playing field for every child.
  2. Bridging the digital divide: A recent WEF study shows that we will see a staggering 83 million jobs vanish in the next five years to be replaced by new job categories that don’t even exist yet. Amna Usman Chaudhury, Financial economist and strategist, spoke about the importance of bridging the digital divide and equipping children with key technological skills that will set them up for their future careers.
  3. Skill requirements are evolving, so should the curriculum: It's not only important to make sure children have foundational skills, but creative skills such as systems thinking and change management are now more crucial than ever before. Harry highlighted that at Shell, we are faced with STEM skills shortages while global challenges grow in scale and complexity and at speed. He spoke about the need for programmes like Shell NXplorers, which aims to equip young people with these skills and set them up for life-long learning.
  4. Collaboration is key: Sobhi Tawil, Director of learning and innovation at UNESCO closed by stating in order to advance and reform the education curriculum, we must collectively address three fundamental questions: What strengths can we leverage? What approaches and models should we abandon? What aspects of education require complete reimagination?

To learn more, you can watch the recorded session here.

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