Dream on and be audacious

The Springer publisher issued the book Audacious Education Purposes: How Governments Transform the Goals of Education Systems written by the multinational group of authors headed by Fernando M. Reimers, Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The book offers a comparative study of eight ambitious national reforms aimed to create opportunities for students to gain the necessary skills to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

The book represents the research, undertaken by prominent education experts and practitioners, of comprehensive education reforms in Brazil, Finland, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Portugal and Russia. The experience of these countries is studied at Harvard University focusing on the audacious large-scale projects of transforming the content of national education.

The analysis of the reforms aimed at improving the level of the 21st century skills shows that reformers followed different approaches. One of the important conclusions reveals that it is essential to address the interests of various stakeholders of the education system in obtaining the necessary impetus to initiate and sustain change. Drawing on a rich array of sources and evidence the book provides a careful account of how education reform works in practice.

The chapter dedicated to the experience of Russia has been prepared by MCU Rector Igor Remorenko and Head of HSE Institute of Education Isak Froumin. The authors describe the transition from the knowledge-based education system to the competence-based approach which requires both the content knowledge and skills to apply it. Undertaking this transition was extremely hard – to this day many people believe that the tradition of rote learning was the basis for success of the Soviet school. Therefore many teachers and parents were not ready for such change. The fact that one of the chapters of this book is dedicated to Russia underscores the intense interest of the global expert community to development of education in this country.

To the present day the paradigm change exerts heterogeneous impact on schools, evaluation systems, educational policies and curriculums. The readers are welcome to discover this in the last chapter of the book that concludes the unique account of education reforms, audacious solutions and inevitable mistakes. All of these have been designed to improve the national education systems, make them more efficient and sustainable in the face of the global challenges, while providing the countries and their people with opportunities for development and success.

The book is open access and can be downloaded here.

Fernando M. Reimers is Ford Foundation Professor of Practice in International Education at Harvard University, distinguished expert in the field of education policy. His main research interests include the methods, theory and practice of teaching the 21st century skills.