Secondary Years Principal Message

Education in the year 2030

The tagline for the 1983 Apple Macintosh TV commercial was “you will see why 1984 won’t be like 1984” referring to the famous dystopian novel by George Orwell. Plenty of books and movies try to predict our future but they mostly fail. So, why do we insist on predicting the future of education by looking at, say, the year 2030? The answer is simple: Because if we educate our students for the present, we will set them for failure in the future. Because we are preparing them for jobs which may not exist at the moment. Because they will have to solve social problems that may have not been anticipated yet.

Given the changing social, economic and career landscape mentioned above, we know now that the future of education will not be content-based, it will be skills (or competencies)-based. Organizations, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), have already defined and created lists of these skills: IB uses the Approaches to learning (ATL) framework which covers skills such as communication, collaboration, organization, reflection, information literacy, media literacy, critical thinking, creativity, and transfer while OECD defines the future focus as ‘acting rather than being acted upon, shaping rather than being shaped and choosing rather than to accept choices decided by others’.

Research shows that such skills can be taught, and at GEMS (Singapore), we are already embedding teaching and using these skills in subject areas and use ATLs as overarching elements in the unit planning process. Going forward, we plan to teach these transferable skills even more explicitly and are now considering ways we track and report on the progress each student makes.

The more embedded these skills or competencies are in the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the more prepared our students are for the IB Diploma (DP).

The OECD Learning Compass 2030 summarizes Education in 2030 as such: “Being able to navigate in time and social space to manage their lives in meaningful and responsible ways by influencing their living and working conditions.” It appears to confirm that educating for 2030 (and beyond) is not what, it is how.


Jan Stipek
Secondary Years Principal


“Education 2030.” Education 2030, OECD, 2017,

Grimsley, Ocie. “Hidden Truth: Gaining Confidence through the DP.” Hidden Truth: Gaining Confidence through the DP, 20 Sept. 2017,

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