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Rethinking Schooling for the 21st Century

In line with UNESCO’s efforts to reaffirm a humanistic vision of education, this report seeks to emphasise the transformative implications of SDG 4.7.  The present study contributes to recovering a vision of education based on a shared respect for human dignity and an ethos emphasising international collaboration over competition. This involves re-assessing the current international emphasis on monitoring and measuring student ‘outcomes’, and embracing a broader conception of education’s goals. The fi rst part of the report presents the quantitative fi ndings of a review of the extent to which concepts embedded in SDG 4.7 are integrated in policy and curricula across Asia. At the same time, this part of the report highlights the limitations of the very attempt to quantify and ‘measure’ values and attitudes.

Making sense of the coding results required a broad interpretive framework suffi ciently flexible to capture the specifi cities of the systems under review. Critically interpreting the quantitative data involved drawing on a wide range of existing research — ethnographic, sociological and historical — in education and related fi elds. The framework identifi es three kinds of intertwined challenges to eff orts to promote peace, sustainable development and global citizenship through education: (1) challenges of instrumentalism; (2) challenges of nationalism and identities; and (3) challenges of competitiveness and regimentation. The second part of the report contextualises the results of the coding exercise and discusses regional trends in light of these challenges. Finally, the report concludes with considerations for the future. It suggests future actions by Member States and UNESCO to harness the potential of SDG 4.7 and set the direction of reform in systems of education globally