Accelerated climate change, the rise of artificial intelligence, the explosion of social movements around the globe … Despite differences, humanity faces common challenges. What will the world look like in 2050 and what role can education play in shaping the future? UNESCO’s new global initiative on the Futures of Education looks at 2050 and beyond and seeks to understand how education can shape the future of humanity and the planet. The initiative is catalysing a global debate on how knowledge, education and learning need to be reimagined in a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and precarity.
As a first contribution to the global debate on the futures of education the UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN networks from all disciplines and scholarly fields were invited to prepare think pieces to help advance a shared vision for the future. We are proud that both the contribution of the Chair hosted by University Clermont-Auvergne and the Chair hosted by Osaka University were accepted and included in the publication: Humanistic Futures of Learning: Perspectives from UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks (UNESCO, 2020) (published in English and French). The main findings were presented to the International Commission on the Futures of Education at their first meeting.
A humanistic approach to education and development is the common thread in all contributions. The approach is grounded in a vision of development that is economically inclusive, socially just, and environmentally sustainable. A vision that acknowledges the diversity of knowledge systems, of worldviews, and of conceptions of well-being, while reaffirming a common core of universally shared values. A vision which promotes an integrated approach learning, acknowledging the multiple personal, social, civic and economic purposes of education.
Plurality of knowledge to meet the challenges of tomorrow is the title of the publication by the Chair hosted by the University Clermont-Auvergne. “The authors suggest that knowledge for the future must be inherently plural. In essence, they propose the harnessing of a combination of different kinds of knowledge within an “educational pathways” framework to make education relevant and equip learners with the skills to tackle the societal challenges of the future.”
‘Social design for health: Ontological vulnerability, life course and planetary health’ is the title of the publication by the Chair hosted by Osaka University. “While emphasizing the shared human condition, the authors draw on the concept of specific vulnerabilities to promote social cohesion. They identify links between global health issues and the deteriorating health of the planet, and propose changes in education systems to address these challenges whilst keeping in focus increased longevity and aging populations worldwide.”
The success of the Futures of Education initiative also rests on a broad, open consultation and engagement process that involves youth, educators, civil society, governments, business leaders and many other stakeholders. Therefore, you are invited to contribute to the global discussion and debate in 2020 through one or more of the following channels (available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish):
- Top 3 Challenges and Purposes of Education – Survey. A 2-minute online survey to offer views on the top three development challenges ahead in the future and top three ways education can address them.
- Your Vision of Education in 2050 – Submission of artwork. This platform invites people to share their original creative, artistic visions of what education might look like in 2050.
- Your View on the Futures of Education – Written contributions. This platform invites people to present their thoughts on what they see as the one major issue for the futures of education (max 1000 words).
 Jourdan, D., Faucher, C., Cury, Ph., Lamarre, M-C., Mebtoul, M., Matelot, D., Diagne, F. & Damus, O. (2020). Plurality of knowledge to meet the challenges of tomorrow. In S. Joseph (Ed.), Humanistic Futures of Learning: Perspectives from UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks (pp 172-176). Paris, France: UNESCO.
 Yamamoto, B., Yamanaka, H., Kimura, Y., Mohácsi, G. and Ogasawara, R. (2020). Social design for health: Ontological vulnerability, life course and planetary health. In S. Joseph (Ed.), Humanistic Futures of Learning: Perspectives from UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks (pp 91-94). Paris, France: UNESCO.