In 2014, the Royal Society published Vision, a seminal report which looked at science and mathematics education for 2030. The opening paragraph of that report stated that “Science and mathematics are at the heart of modern life … they are essential to understanding the world and provide the foundations for economic prosperity.” Eight years on, in a world which has been shaken by a global pandemic, economic downturn, and climate crisis, and where young people’s presents have been severely affected, and whose futures are uncertain, this statement is more true than ever.
Regrettably, many of the specific proposals of Vision have yet to be realised, such as our recommendations that students receive a “broad and balanced education through to age 18”, that teachers be given the “time and resources to undertake subject-specific professional development”, and that “practical work and problem-solving” be placed at the heart of the learning process. Whilst there has been slight progress in some of these areas, it has not been remotely to the extent needed to underpin the United Kingdom’s desire to become a global science and technology superpower.
A broader education
It is against this backdrop that the Royal Society has now published Envision, a follow-up series of short, thought-provoking articles which seek to stimulate the national conversation needed about the future of our education system. We revisit many of the same themes from 2014, but in a more urgent and more pressing way. Envision contains eight think pieces from eminent professionals who come from a range of diverse academic backgrounds, including economics, education, statistics, engineering and classics. They each explore the Society’s broad, balanced and connected approach to education, intending to reach audiences across the education sector and beyond. They will explore how to adapt our education system both to meet the needs of a technological economy and improve the wellbeing and civic participation of all members of our society.
The think pieces tackle the following themes:
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