For the first time, the OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 project conducted comprehensive curriculum analyses through the co-creation of new knowledge with a wide range of stakeholders including policy makers, academic experts, school leaders, teachers, NGOs, other social partners and, most importantly, students. These reports are two of six in a series presenting the first-ever comparative data on curriculum at the content level summarising existing literature, examining trends in curriculum change with challenges and strategies, and suggesting lessons learned from unintended consequences countries experienced with their curriculum reforms.
What Students Learn Matters: Towards a 21st Century Curriculum highlights that economic, societal and environmental changes are happening rapidly and technologies are developing at an unprecedented pace, but education systems are relatively slow to adapt. Time lag in curriculum redesign refers to the discrepancies between the content of today's curriculum and the diverse needs of preparing students for the future.
Schools are constantly under pressure to keep up with the pace of changes in society. In
parallel, societal demands for what schools should teach are also constantly changing; often driven by political agendas, ideologies, or parental pressures, to add global competency, digital literacy, data literacy, environmental literacy, media literacy, social-emotional skills, etc. This "curriculum expansion" puts pressure on policy makers and schools to add new contents to already crowded curriculum. Curriculum Overload: A Way Forward aims to support reflecting on questions such as "how to avoid creating a "mile wide – inch deep" curriculum?" and "how to shift a paradigm to curriculum centred around student well-being?" It also discusses the trade-offs tied to design choices.
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