What should education be like in the future?

Theoretical research

This challenge aims to gather new knowledge on a topic, which contributes and adds value to the already existing knowledge on this topic.


Education serves many different purposes. It is meant to teach skills and transfer knowledge so that students have a good chance of finding employment. It is simultaneously meant to turn them into engaged, enterprising, critical citizens with a sound moral and intellectual compass. And finally, it is also supposed to leave them plenty of room for personal development.
Nowadays, human capital is regarded as one of the most important factors of production and education is booming as a result of a growing global population with a keen thirst for knowledge. But how can today’s schools and universities prepare students for a world that doesn’t yet exist? Education must be adapted to the demands of the 21st century. How that should take place, however, is far from clear.
Next to that, education and the future of education is affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Not since World War II have so many countries around the world seen schools and educational institutions go into lockdown at around the same time and for the same reason. While we know that the impact of this virus will be far-reaching, what might it mean in the longer term for education and for personal development?

The main goal to this challenge is to investigate the issue of what education in the future should look like? How can we make sure that we educate people in a way that makes them able to deal with the challenges of the future?

Perspectives and possible directions

For a while now, educators around the world have been talking about the need to rethink how we educate future generations. The society of the future will require us to master all sorts of new skills, not least the ability to continually adapt and improve ourselves. The forces of globalization require people to be able to handle major linguistic, cultural, and religious differences and how should education respond to that, and what should a classroom of the future look like? How can education help students develop 21st century skills, especially good (global) citizenship? Which new methods can we use to improve existing skills, such as language proficiency and cultural adeptness? What have been the effects of current innovations? How can education reflect the growing cultural diversity of pupil and student populations and meet their need for individual counselling, for example within the context of inclusive education?

The recent disruption of Covid-19 in the context of an interconnected world, has emphasized even more that we have to rethink how we educate, what we need to teach and what we are preparing our students for as educated citizens in an interconnected world.

This challenge links fundamental and normative questions about the sort of education that society should provide with design-based questions about what does and does not work. It touches upon Innovative learning environments, (re)defining the role of the educator, smart structuring, and the dissemination of research findings. ICT and communication skills are key concepts, but this challenge can go even further and touch upon on issues of inclusion, availability and equality.

The Supervisor