How Can Policy Makers Better Understand 21st Century Education?

How Can Policy Makers Better Understand 21st Century Education?

Education policies  are the principles and government policy-making in educational sphere, as well as the collection of laws and rules that govern the operation of education systems.

Policies are the tools in hand of government to bring change. And to bring change in education the leaders who make the educational policies for a school, state or country i.e. the education policymakers are responsible.

Policy makers play a very significant role in the education system as every component in the system gets implemented on the basis of their decisions. The role of a policy maker includes the monitoring of school size, class size, school choice, school privatization, tracking, teacher education and certification, teacher pay, teaching methods, curricular content, graduation requirements, school infrastructure investment, and the values that schools are expected to uphold and model. Here are a few important factors that education policy makers should know about the 21st Education system.  

21st Century Education:

EF Explore America , a community of travelers, adventurers and explorers dedicated to helping educators and students by providing an opportunity to go beyond the classroom and into the world, created a short video in 2012 about how 21st century education appears to be. I’d like to illustrate the important facts for you. Here we go.

In 21st century, interestingly the number of people learning English in China nearly equal the US population. This clearly indicates the extreme competition in the near future.

By 2025, the most populous nation on earth will be India. The higher the population, the tougher the competition. In the next two years, 1 in 4 of the world’s workers will be Indian.

The video also explains some interesting statistics about 21st education system:

In the past 5 years, the digital universe has grown by 1000%.

46% educators say that their homework requires technology.

94% students agree that they take technological assistance to do homework.

Google handles one billion queries every single day. (On average more than 100 Billion in a month).

Today, there are more than 450,000 words in the English language.

Many of the top jobs in 2012 such as Social media strategist, User experience specialist, Telework manager, Elder care coordinator, Sustainability manager, etc., hadn’t existed in 2002. Similarly, many of the jobs students will have in the near future don’t even exist yet. They’re about to use technologies that haven’t been invented yet. The 21st century students live in a world that keeps on changing from time to time faster than ever before.  The classrooms in which we were taught are not exactly the classrooms we’re about to teach in; there have been significant changes in the practices of teaching and learning of the 21stcentury education system.

Policy makers need to be very clear in analyzing the educational policies. It would be easier to make a scholarly study of education policies if they know the purpose and objectives of 21st century education. The above mentioned are the changes that have been incorporated in 21stcentury education. Let’s learn about the goals of 21stcentury education system.


Every nation strives to improve its position in the Innovation Index and wants to evolve as the most innovative nation. It helps the country develop socially, politically, professionally and culturally.  All the nations have recognized the fact that providing students with the right type of education or creative education can enhance their learning outcomes and help them to become better citizens.

Educational Organizations:

The main aim of any educational organization is not just for their students to get good grades, but also to make students more innovative, creative and independent learners.


21st century students are being trained for their future professions even from the earliest days of their schooling.


21st century educators, the term not just involves teachers but also innovators, entrepreneurs, motivators, mentors, illuminators, catalysts, etc. This is because preparing students for the 21st century isn’t just about technology or skills for the global economy. Educators should be capable of making their classroom as dynamic as the world around us.

21st Century skills:

21st century education is about:  


Cultural Awareness

Problem solving


Civic engagement









In addition to the above mentioned goals, Policy makers should consider many more strategies to implement in 21st century education. Continuous acquisition of knowledge, technological changes and collaboration with administrators, educators, students, parents and other policy makers keep you updated with 21stcentury educational practices. 

“Rethinking Education Strategy” by Androulla Vassiliou:

Androulla Vassiliou , a European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism & Youth has explained about IPM (Interactive Policy Making), an initiative to use modern technologies particularly the Internet, to allow both Member State administrations and EU institutions to understand the needs of citizens and enterprises better. It is intended to assist policy development by allowing more rapid and targeted responses to emerging issues and problems, improving the assessment of the impact of policies (or the absence of them) and providing greater accountability to citizens.

Androulla has written a paper named “Rethinking Education Strategy” to help policy makers understand the objectives of the current education system. According to Androulla, policy makers should understand the need of investing in improving 21stcentury skills in order to get better socio-economic outcomes. The following is an example approach from the paper:

Austria’s approach of “Replacing Gen. Secondary Schools with New Secondary Schools” :

Austria has been implementing several reform measures, of which the most important being the replacement of General Secondary Schools (Hauptschule) by New Secondary Schools (Neue Mittelschule). The New Secondary School reform is designed to improve educational outcomes and to mitigate the consequences of early selection of children. However, the early tracking of children into two different school types (New Secondary School and secondary academic school, i.e. Gymnasium lower level) at the age of ten is still retained. The reform was launched as a pilot in 2008/2009 and has now become a part of the regular school system: by 2018/19 all classes of the General Secondary Schools are supposed to be transformed into the new system. New pedagogical concepts form an integral part of the reform and entail a more individualized approach to learning, a more differentiated teaching including team teaching and a more favorable teacher-pupils ratio, which go hand in hand with supplementary financial support.

You may read the full paper here.

I hope this guide helped you know about the objectives and requirements of 21st century education.  We’d like to have your views on how efficiently a policy maker can analyze the 21stcentury education system.  Please share with us in the comment box.


About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite:
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

Like what we do?

The Latest EdTech News To Your Inbox

Follow us:


Subscribe to our Newsletters.