About the Project

This project seeks to develop a comprehensive operational framework for integrating the task of developing 21st century skills and new literacies into school curricula and learning environments.

The project will answer the following main questions:
  • what is the desirable list of domains that schools should take care of and provide a basic level of literacy in?
  • how can the basic level of literacy be defined across different domains?
  • what are the key competences (21st century skills)  that should be developed at school?
  • how can the key competences and literacies at school be developed? (curriculum, assessment, teaching practices).

This project is not aimed at embracing the dynamics of the curriculum as a whole. Instead, it focuses on a fairly limited task. However, this task is of utmost importance being both educational and social: it is the key competencies and new (il)literacies that are becoming crucial factors of educational and then social progress and inequality.

We shall develop a set (or even, the set, to put it more daringly) of practical recommendations on to how to teach and develop key competences and new literacies in primary and secondary education. The project is designed to be multi-level and multi-disciplinary, combining local and international perspectives, and bringing together experts in psychology, education, and sociology. A special section will be devoted to the implementation of this approach in Russia.

In the short term, the main outcome of the project will be an international report. The report will present a methodology and recommendations, as well as practical guidelines on how to develop key competences and new literacies during the school period. Towards this goal, the report will also provide a comparative analysis of such attempts in different countries.

The report will include the following main sections:

1.     The global framework of key competences and new literacies   

  • What are the key competences and new literacies? How are they defined by different authors?
  • What is most relevant for Russia?

2.     Social implications of key competences and new literacies, the problem of inequality 

  • Key competences as a factor of individual life chances
  • Illiteracy as a social risk
  • How to define the basic (socially required) level of literacy in each specific domain

3.     Psychological  foundations of the development of key competences

  • What are the psychological mechanisms of the development of key competences? How can they be implemented in school at different grades (with pupils of different ages)?

4.     How is the task of developing key competences and new literacies presented in school education? (examples from different countries: educational standards, textbooks and teaching materials, educational assessment, teacher training, etc.) 

5.     How is the task of developing and assessing key competences and new literacies implemented in informal education of school-aged children? (examples from different countries) 

6.     Best practices and failures by modern schools and teachers in developing and assessing key competences and new literacies (examples and cases of programmes, practices) 

  • Which practices in modern schools help develop key competences and new literacies? (learning and communication styles and regimes; interaction between teachers, between pupils, between teachers and pupils; integration of the task into disciplinary subjects; educational assessment, etc.)
  • Examples of practices that were implemented but then judged to have failed. Why did they fail?
  • What kind of tools and mechanisms for the development and assessment of key competences and new literacies should be created?

7.     Implementation mechanisms and policy recommendations to integrate the task of the development of key competences and new literacies into the school curriculum 

  • What should be done within the Russian education system to implement the best practices of the development of key competences and new literacies?
Basic contributions will be made by the following participants:

1)    International partners (schools of education) which, as part of our International Consortium, will provide country cases, as well as a comparative analysis and review of the materials of the project:

o Graduate School of Education, Peking University;

o Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto;

o Faculty for Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki;

o  EvidenceInstitute and Warsaw University.

o College of Education, Seoul National University;

o Institute of Education, University College London;

o Lynch School of Education, Boston College;

o Moscow City University.

2)    HSE, which is responsible for overall coordination and providing a general framework for the project;

3)    World Bank Office in Russia, which will contribute to the preparation of the report and help extend the existing partnership to include other research groups;

4)    Boston Consulting Group, which will contribute its analysis of labour market trends, with a focus on the demands of employers.


February 2017: launch of the project.

March – April 2017: creation of the International Consortium, and desk research.

June 5-6th, 2017: a workshop in Moscow, Russia, to discuss the general approach and settle the overall framework of the country cases.

August 2017 (last week) or September 2017 (first week):  a 2-day workshop in Helsinki, Finland, to discuss the progress of the project and drafts of the country cases.

September 2017 – March 2018: working meetings of members of the coordinating team (HSE) with members of the International Consortium and other experts to finalize the country cases.

October 2017 – April 2018: reviewing and editing of different parts of the report.

June 2018: a writing session in Moscow to work on the final draft of the report.

July 2018: publication of the report.

The project is being coordinated by the Institute of Education (National Research University Higher School of Economics), with financial support from the Vklad v Budushchee (An Investment into the Future) Charity Foundation of Sberbank, the oldest and largest Russian bank.