Sberbank and HSE Institute of Education to Cooperate on Landmark 21st Century Skills Project
Sberbank’s Charity Foundation and the HSE Institute of Education have recently agreed to cooperate on a milestone 21st century skills research and development project. With multiple representatives of the academic and business communities, among others, this collaborative endeavour aims to deliver visible improvements to Russia’s education system. In particular, the project will involve devising a clear approach to identifying, evaluating, and deploying core next-generation skills and competencies that consider national socioeconomic and educational contexts alongside global best practice.
On February 20–21, the IOE hosted a series of public design and scoping discussions to better streamline the participants’ overall project vision, outline a basic skill and competency research framework, and to share expectations of key outcomes. The project kick-off seminar emphasized clearly articulating and reconciling the ways academics and businesses view the 21st century skills framework.
In today’s world, where increasing emphasis is given to globalization, digitalization, automation, and mobility, we are now confronted with a surging influx of transdisciplinary innovation, marking the onset of a revolutionary industrial era with its new challenges to meet, objectives to pursue, and cooperation modes to deliver.
Education has come to be recognized as the key global vehicle to facilitate more coherent understanding. It is education that should provide grounds for closer and more proactive partnership – from parents and early schooling settings to business leaders and policymakers.
The point is, perhaps surprisingly, that education systems worldwide are now objectively facing largely the same development needs. So, to stay competitive in the long run, particular national schooling settings must become more agile and adopt reforms that reflect global imperatives and priorities
Professor, University of Helsinki
For educators, this primarily means an urge to go the extra mile in jointly tackling what is referred to as the 21st century skills agenda, a broad concept that aims to set forth plain and uniform guidance for all stakeholders on how they should best secure relevant knowledge and technical skills that are essential in the economy of networking and innovation. Educators must also foster values, approaches, soft skills, and multicultural communication aptitudes that will enable learners to effectively enter 21st century environments.
This collaboration, which will draw upon stakeholders’ collective expertise, experience, and wisdom, should help in striking a better balance between the available and required human capital skills. Ultimately, this improved skill supply/demand parity will become central to supporting national and global wellbeing, when communities thrive on greater equity, inclusion, collaboration, and productivity.
During the discussions in February, representatives from Boston Consulting Group shared interim findings from the firm’s project to ascertain future labour requirements and key developments in the Russian job market through 2025. In turn, the IOE and guest educational experts dwelt on current and prospective approaches to integrating new competencies into general and corporate learning & development curricula.
In particular, Dr. Jarkko Hautamäki, a Professor of Education at the University of Helsinki, spoke on key challenges in upgrading national high school syllabi to better accommodate 21st century skills, and the role of open multi-party discussions in streamlining this process:
‘The principal dilemma with enabling a more global vision for education upgrades is that national schooling systems are often unresponsive or even resistant to cross-border best practice and fundamental change. In many cases, they will just cling to a course they have been taking for years, where heavy reliance is placed on long-established, culturally-bound heritage and local educational tradition, which is often viewed as a key element in national identity and should therefore be preserved in its authenticity.
But the point is, perhaps surprisingly, that education systems worldwide are now objectively facing largely the same development needs. So, to stay competitive in the long run, particular national schooling settings must become more agile and adopt reforms that reflect global imperatives and priorities.
This is where multi-party discussions come to the fore as a great way for various institutional representatives to sit down together and work out more cohesive and realistic conceptions as to how we should go about implementing all these transformations.’