UNESCO redefines educational priorities

Our world is changing and our skills, values, attitudes,and behaviours need to change with it.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization more commonly known as UNESCO plays a key role in predicting changes and preparing people for the future.

In their video Education and Training in a changing world: what skills do we need?, Unesco highlights the four major areas that need transformation to build a peaceful and prosperous society.


Learners still need to know the basics such as reading, writing and arithmetic.” Added to this are the technical skills learners will need to perform specific jobs.

While these skills are foundational, they are not enough to fully equip future professionals.

There are other skills which enhance job performance. These are known as “soft or transferable skills.”

For example communication and teamwork are indispensable skills that help people function effectively in their roles.


In order to deal with global competition and change professionals will need to possess attributes like resourcefulness, perseverance and entrepreneurship.

“They are truly relevant to each and every one of us regardless of our background, field of work or status.”

Everyone, from street vendors to teachers will need to demonstrate these behaviours if they hope to succeed in their line of work.


Do you struggle to get along with people? In order to see people and organisations prosper globally education must prepare learners to live together with others.

This can only be done by developing “empathy, tolerance and respect for diversity.”

Individuals, especially those in the workplace will need to embody these attitudes and qualities as the workforce evolves to incorporate different people groups.


When we consider the future, there are three concepts that will define the way we live and work.

As the focus shifts from mass production to individual growth and contribution “critical thinking, creativity and the curiosity to learn” must become the priority of every person.

Relevant Educational Systems

Perhaps the biggest challenge is creating educational structures that facilitate this kind of learning.

“Unfortunately most education systems fall short of equipping learners with these crucial skills.”

So how can we change this reality?

According to UNESCO these skills and values need to become a priority within education policies.

Secondly “teachers need to be supported and equipped...” This is necessary to develop educators who are facilitators of learning and not merely “transmitters of information.”

Educators should encourage learners to work together and “engage with the world around them.”

Finally the practice of academic assessments must expand to include non-traditional methods of testing that prirotize these skills and behaviours.

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By Cindy Payle - Portal Publishing

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