ChangeNOW – Transform our education systems to best prepare future generations

At the ChangeNOW event in Paris, many amazing people demonstrated their ideas for coping with environmental challenges and climate change. One of the most inspiring sessions was titled “The Future of Education”: The majority of education systems are still based on the same principles as when they were created over 100 years ago. However, the world has changed and continues to evolve. We need to transform our education systems to best prepare future generations to meet these new challenges.

Speaker Sophie Howe, Future Generation Commissioner in Wales, shared the rather unconventional and almost disruptive ways Wales strives to prepare children for their endeavours in a changing world. “Lifelong Learning “is one of the critical aspects.

In the following panel Francois Taddei, Chief Exploration Officer at Learning Planet Institute, and Harry Waters, Founder of Renewable English, discussed which capabilities children will need to develop and how this can be supported. Francois stressed that facing global challenges, children cannot be taught but need to be empowered. They should not compete but collaborate and understand that there are things they cannot do alone but together with others. Children need to understand the ethics of their actions to finally care for others and care for the planet.

Harry Waters shared his belief that peer learning is a strong power and that speaking the same language is a mandatory precondition. This way, children could learn from children in other countries and continents. For him, English is the language of protest and climate action. He considers education to be about showing children a way how to focus with passion on an issue where they can make a change.

For both panellists, teachers have a crucial role because they act as amplifiers. Just by integrating a small piece of sustainable awareness in the daily classroom routine, they could create a “greener mindset “and have a significant impact. Teachers should be supported by connecting with other educators and sharing their best practices.

Finally, Kiran Sethi, the founder of the Riverside School, shared her vision of the “I can schools “, which is centred around empowering children with an “I can mindset “. In these schools, children use the simple design thinking framework of Feel/ Imagine / Do/Share to design solutions for some of their greatest challenges. And it is actually more than a vision. Starting in India, her concept has already spread over 50 countries.