Assuming that education mantains a dialectical relationship with society, insofar as it is a factor for its advancement as well as a reflection of it; we have to admit that the future of education is strongly related to the future of society, which is not only constructed by the force of historical trends but also by the action of new social, political, economic, cultural and technological movements, as well as by international agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals and its scenario for 2030, subscribed by all countries afilliated to the United Nations.

Comparative Education scholars, affiliated or not to the societies of the WCCES, are invited to share their research, experiences and reflections about the future of education considering the next thematic groups and their topics, being these indicatives and by no means exclusive.

Thematic groups

  1. Future ends of education
    The ends of education are related to the type of society that is envisioned and desired by its citizens. Some societies are at war and need an education for peace; some societies are across unsustainable inequities and need education for inclusion; some are in need of a more active citizenship; still others are in need of labor capacities for economic integration. How are educational ends set/understood? Are the current educational ends suitable for the future society?
  2. Pedagogies for the future
    During the last century, different pedagogies were competing in relation to diverse societal circumstances, since they are related to the idea of the people that a society aims to have and the means to educate them. Pedagogies, such as collaborative, individualist, participatory, active, critical, pedagogy for the oppressed, pedagogy of hope, and pedagogy for liberation, have been developed. Nevertheless, discussion is needed facing the trends of marketization and dehumanization of society.
  3. A curriculum for the future
    During the last century, school systems were exploring innovative curriculum designs: overt, open-ended, flexible, hidden, concomitant, subject-centered, learner-centered, experience-centered, constructivist, problem-centered. It is assumed that these designs are connected to particular principles that govern what counts as knowledge. It has been accepted that societies have diverse principles, nevertheless there seems to be forces promoting a global hard-core knowledge.
  4. Teaching and learning in the future
    Bringing together teachers and learners is not always an easy task. Some societies have experienced a variety of ways to facilitate this encounter, for example, for the caravans of nomadic groups, First Nation reservations, scattered populations in the mountains, people with special needs, and virtual classrooms across the continents.
  5. The teacher of the future
    To share and reflect upon a prospective vision of the way in which teachers will carry out their activities in the future, from initial to continuous training, and throughout their career. How will teachers face the challenges that society will demand in the future? What kind of initial and in-service training will be needed for teachers to accomplish foreseen new tasks at all educational levels?
  6. The students of the future
    Students are coming to school from more diverse backgrounds. For some children the resources of globalization like technology, information, products, and trips, are more familiar than for others, so that between countries and between social groups, they arrive to school with different backgrounds. In middle and higher education, the inclusion of an increased number of students from social groups that in many societies had no access before, such as First Nation, migrants, adults, foreigners, and other marginalized groups, is foreseen. To cope with diversified needs of students and to retain them in school with an acceptable academic performance will be a challenge.
  7. Schooling in the future
    There are many examples where students do not go to school, but the school goes to the pupils, such as education for the nomadic caravans through the Saharan deserts, education for other nomadic groups, radio education, or community tele-education. Besides the distance education programmes , there seems to be a trend by which university students are opting for distance courses to reduce commuting to the campus. What would be the effects of missing campus or school life? What is the future of schooling?
  8. Future families and education
    From some research results, it has been said that in those schools with a high involvement of parents the academic scores are better, nevertheless in some societies the traditional pattern of the family is radically changing and there is a growing recognition of different types of families, such as single-parent families, extended families, stepfamilies, grand-parent families and same-gender parents. How will the school manage to convey different types of families in school activities?
  9. The future of work and the professions
    The purpose of thematic group is to analyze the main changes that professions are facing in the context of labor market de-regulation, in order to understand their impact on professionals’ education as well as on their entrance, mobility, and permanence in the occupational system. The traditional definition of profession is now limited in relation to the currently challenges of society. Thereby, it is necessary to approach them from other perspectives that help us to account for important aspects, such as the rights and obligations of professionals and their direct and indirect beneficiaries, professional auto-regulation, responsible conduct and non-ethical practices in professional activity, the ideological and socio-political dimensions of professional consolidation, and the professional’s role in the achievement of social justice. Some topics could be: higher education institutions and the new demands of professional training; new professional specialties, frontier fields, and interdisciplinary projects; technification of production processes and the displacement of skilled and unskilled human resources; professional ethics challenges in the globalized world; the role of professionals vis-à-vis emergent social needs, such as vulnerability, justice and inclusion.
  10. Education technology for the future
    Education technology will play a major role in the future of education. Virtual reality, flipped classroom, distant learning, mass online open courses, learning environment modeling, learning management platforms, are some developments used for distance education but are also used in regular courses to bridge the gap between teachers and learners when they are not in the classroom. What are the criteria for selecting technologies relevant for different kinds of knowledge? To what extent do teachers adopt technologies? What are the factors that make teachers resist using technologies?
  11. The future of comparative education
    The development of transportation, communication systems, as well as the development and sharing of digital information archives opens new perspectives for comparativists to participate in international academic gatherings, to work with international partners and networks, on educational topics that become of global interest. Big data processes, open source, government accountability and transparency besides the organization of international observatories will be new sources of information for comparative studies.

Roberto ArnoveRobert Arnove

Chancellor's Professor Emeritus of Leadership & Policy Studies at Indiana University,Bloomington

Conference: "The Ethical and Empirical Dimensions of Comparative Education"

Biosketch: Robert F. Arnove, Chancellor's Professor of Emeritus at Indiana University,Bloomington is a an Honorary Fellow and past president of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). He has been a CIES delegate to the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES) and has served as chair of its special projects committee. Winner of many distinguished teaching awards, he has been a visiting scholar at universities in countries ranging from Argentina to Australia. Over the past two decades, his co-edited textbook with Carlos Torres -- Comparative Education: The Dialectic of the Global and the Local (2013, 4th edition)-- has been a leading English language introduction to the field. (The text has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese.) His research has focused on sociopolitical and educational change, as well as on literacy campaigns and popular education, philanthropy and cultural imperialism, and world-systems analysis. Arnove's latest single authored text is Talent Abounds: Profiles of Master Teachers and Peak Performers. He has been a teachers union president, a candidate for the U.S. Congress, and the president of an experimental theater company. Having worked in Latin America, since 1962, he is very pleased to be able to return to Mexico to participate in the XVII World Congress of Comparative Education Societies in Cancun.

Semblanza: Robert F. Arnove, profesor Emérito de la Universidad de Indiana en Bloomington. Miembro honorario y ex presidente de la Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). Ha sido delegado de CIES en el World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES) y se ha desempeñado como presidente del comité de proyectos especiales. Ganador de distintos reconocimientos como profesor; ha sido profesor visitante en universidades de países que van desde Argentina hasta Australia. En las últimas dos décadas, su libro coeditado con Carlos Alberto Torres - Comparative Education: The Dialectic of the Global and the Local (2013, 4ª edición) - se ha destacado como texto introductorio al campo de la educación comparada, en inglés, aunque ya ha sido traducido al chino, japonés, español y portugués. Sus líneas de investigación se han centrado en el cambio sociopolítico y educativo, así como en las campañas de alfabetización y educación popular; filantropía e imperialismo cultural y análisis de los sistemas- mundo. Su texto más reciente es Talent Abounds: Profiles of Master Teachers and Peak Performers. Ha sido presidente de un sindicato de docentes, candidato para el Congreso de los EE. UU. y presidente de una compañía de teatro experimental. Habiendo trabajado en América Latina desde 1962, está muy contento de poder regresar a México para participar en el XVII Congreso Mundial de Sociedades de Educación Comparada en Cancún.

Mmantsetsa MaropeMmantsetsa Marope

Director of UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education (IBE) since July 2014. She holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Chicago, a Master’s degree in Education from Pennsylvania State University, and a BA and a CCE from the University of Botswana and Swaziland. Within UNESCO, she has held several director positions including the Director of the Division for Basic to Higher Education and Learning. Prior to UNESCO, her work experience includes the World Bank, university teaching, academic networks, and consultancy services for governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies. She is on advisory boards of diverse academic, public, private sector institutions and development agencies. Her publications cover a wide range of areas in education. Dr. Marope holds many prestigious awards including: The World Bank Excellence Award for the Africa Region, Alumni Achievement Award from Pennsylvania State University, and Macmillan’s Best Setswana Novelist Award. She is an unwavering advocate and global thought leader on the transformation of education and learning systems towards innovative and constant self-renewal, quality, impactful effectiveness, current and future development-relevance, equity, inclusion, justice, and fulfilment for all. As the Director of IBE, her resolve is to propel and sustain the Bureau’s critical acclaim as the Global Center of Excellence in Curriculum and related matters

Conference: “Shaping the Future of Education or Shaping the Future Through Education”

The future of education has never been more debated than it is in the 21st century. Across virtually all noteworthy forums, debates echo escalating unease about the readiness of education and learning systems to prepare learners (both young and old) for the future. Most significantly, for a future whose detailed directions, challenges, and opportunities we cannot quite predict. At the core of this unease is the reality that change has become the only constant in the 21st century. It is a century of relentless, unpredictable, often disruptive waves of human-made and nature-driven change, touching all spheres of live. It has ushered issues pertaining to globalization, globalization 4.0, violent extremism, security, cybersecurity, food security, migration, immigration, displacement, climate change, unimaginable innovations, extraordinary human advancements and more. It is a century of “revolutions”: the information revolution, knowledge revolution, technology revolution, and now the fourth industrial revolution (I4.0); an unimaginable accelerant to what was already an overwhelming pace of change. Combined, these factors challenge the readiness of education and learning systems to prepare learners for a complex and unknown future. They raise pertinent questions about how we can make education and learning systems future-ready. They question the competences that learners must develop, if they are to lead productive and fulfilling lives in contexts of constant change. They ask if globalization 4.0 warrants global competences that everyone must have. These questions are at the heart of curriculum, and of comparative studies of curricula contexts. Though a pertinent debate, it bears a clear risk of pushing education and learning systems into a reactive future. This begs the question how proactive should education and learning systems be? Therein lies a new debate: Shaping the future of education and/or shaping the future through education: What can comparative education offer?

Norberto Fernández LamarraNorberto Fernández Lamarra

UNESCO Chair “Education and Future in Latin America”
Director of Posgraduate Department at Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Argentina