Systemic change will be achieved faster if we join our forces.
According to experts, we will see revolutionary technological and social changes within the next twenty years, which will have a substantial effect on our way of life and work. In order to have a better future, the new generation – Generation 3.0 – will need skills and knowledge for the 21st century.
The expected decline of many traditional professions, the growing popularity of ultra-right parties, and deepening differences between regions are just a hint of what we as a country will have to cope with. Shall we be ready?
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), with the support of the Yidan Prize Foundation, issued a report on the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index, which is based on in-depth interviews with 17 global experts. (bit.ly/EIUreport) It is the first global index which considers inputs rather than outputs (such as test results) into education systems, focusing on the group of people aged 15-24 in 35 economies.
In its introduction the report speaks of the skills needed for the changing world. Education will be less about learning information and more about analysing and using information. “Content knowledge is becoming a commodity,” the report quotes Tony Wagner of Harvard University. The report further identifies the types of skills current students will need if they want to be successful as adults: interdisciplinary skills, creative and analytical skills, entrepreneurial skills, leadership, digital and technical skills, global awareness and civic education.
The report was issued after the pilot year of Generation 3.0 was launched by the Pontis Foundation at the beginning of 2017. In many respects it confirmed what the experts who helped to create the project say. “The launch of Generation 3.0 was preceded by several analyses conducted among companies, and we talked to Slovakia’s innovators and personalities. The results have confirmed that there are some organizations and initiatives in education which bring in necessary innovations and promote a better learning for our children. However, what is failing is communication and cooperation between them, which hinders overall progress,” explains Lenka Surotchak, Executive Director of the Pontis Foundation.
When setting the year-long model, the executive team of the project also took into account the fragmentariness of financial support, compensation for school equipment from corporate funds, or the lack of connections in measuring the impact.
The Pontis Foundation is going to issue the first report on the impact of Generation 3.0 at the end of the 2017-18 school year. What has been achieved so far?
We received 53 good quality nominations from all over Slovakia in response to the January call. In the first round an independent evaluation committee shortlisted 15 projects, which the Pontis Foundation, in cooperation with experts, prepared for the finals, using the format of TED conferences. In May, after a very difficult decision-making process, experts selected 3 winners.
First on a small scale
“The number of winners was restricted by the funds available and our intention to test the model’s functionality on a small scale. Each winner received a financial grant of EUR 10,000 and in-kind support worth approximately EUR 20,000,” says Norbert Maur, the manager of Generation 3.0 at the Pontis Foundation. “The award-giving ceremony only started Generation 3.0. In the following months we put the winners in touch with measurement experts. Together, we arrived at the parameters that we will be monitoring and measuring during the school year and that will enable us to assess if their approach really improves the declared skills, knowledge, or attitudes. If our measurement confirms this, we will test the approach at another 2 or 3 schools in the next school year. The goal is to generate solutions which the state will then be able to implement at national level,” adds Maur.
Access to better education for anyone interested
The Pontis Foundation is currently working on the generacia30.sk web, where we will post video recordings of the finalists’ presentations and start mapping other innovators’ projects. According to Lenka Surotchak, the web is the successor to the Map of Social Innovators, which the Foundation created in cooperation with Ashoka two years ago. “We want to take a closer look at the people who are improving how our children learn and create a practical tool for parents, teachers, and companies. The web will feature information about schools using innovative methods, experts’ references, and practical instructions which will help to disseminate the awarded Generation 3.0 projects free of charge.”
Lessons from the first months
“We know today that our January call will list categories similar to those in the EIU report so that there will be more balance in our choice of the Generation 3.0 winners. We also want to present an Award for Innovations in the System of Education. We will involve measurement experts at the beginning of the process to give the evaluation committee an opinion on each nomination from the point of view of measurement. In 2018 we would like to award up to 9 projects, which presents a financial challenge. We are therefore very grateful for all partners and supporters of Generation 3.0 who are helping us perform the individual activities,” says Lenka Surotchak.