Institute of Education

Research & Expertise to Make a Difference in Education & Beyond

Exploring Cross-country Experience in Advancing Education for 21st-Century Outcomes

Exploring Cross-country Experience in Advancing Education for 21st-Century Outcomes

The new volume titled, Audacious Education Purposes: How Governments Transform the Goals of Education Systems, which has recently been published in open access by Springer, foregrounds cases of educational change to promote 21st-century outcomes across eight nations. A chapter on Russian reforms aimed at future-proofing education in a fast-paced world has been prepared by Head of IOE, Isak Froumin and Rector of Moscow City University, Igor Remorenko.    

Topics surrounding the development of 21st-century skills so we can get younger generations better geared to live in a world of rapid and ubiquitous change and to reinforce human capital have piqued more and more interest in recent decades.

A good manifestation of this is the ever-heightening debate across the academic and policy realm and beyond on whether – and if so then how and to what extent – the so-called ‘transversal’ (meta-subject) competencies and literacies should be woven into the matrix of modern education.

Audacious Education Purposes: How Governments Transform the Goals of Education Systems, a volume edited by Prof. Fernando M. Reimers (Harvard) that has just been out online in free access at Springer, shares comparative perspectives on how roadmaps to achieve audacious goals of transforming education for 21st-century outcomes have been designed and deployed across nations.

Spanning a landscape as broad and diverse as Brazil, Finland, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Portugal, and Russia, the book chapters are in-depth accounts of how policy change worked in practice by leading academics and strategists who have themselves been at the heart of driving a transition toward meta-skill-centric learning in their respective national landscapes.  


This open access book offers a comparative study of eight ambitious national reforms that sought to create opportunities for students to gain the necessary breath of skills to thrive in a rapidly changing world. It examines how national governments transform education systems to provide students opportunities to develop such skills. It analyses comprehensive education reforms in Brazil, Finland, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Portugal and Russia and yields original and important insights on the process of educational change. The analysis of these 21st century skills reforms shows that reformers followed approaches which are based on the five perspectives: cultural, psychological, professional, institutional and political. Most reforms relied on institutional and political perspectives. They highlight the systemic nature of the process of educational change, and the need for alignment and coherence among the various elements of the system in order. They underscore the importance of addressing the interests of various stakeholders of the education system in obtaining the necessary impetus to initiate and sustain change. In contrast, as the book shows, the use of a cultural and psychological frame proved rarer, missing important opportunities to draw on systematic analysis of emerging demands for schools and on cognitive science to inform the changes in the organization of instruction. Drawing on a rich array of sources and evidence the book provides a careful account of how education reform works in practice.

Do not miss to join us on Tuesday, May 19 at 5 p.m. Moscow time (GMT +3) for a webinar to launch the volume by the editor Prof. Fernando M. Reimers that will feature more insights and commentary by the contributors.