The Education Blueprint for the Future—Trends and Approaches in UNESCO Education 2030,OECD Education 2030 and China Education 2035


 Presenter (s) Fangting Shi, East China Normal University
Title The Education Blueprint for the Future—Trends and Approaches in UNESCO Education 2030,OECD Education 2030 and China Education 2035

The UN summit held in New York in September 2015 adopted transforming our world – the 2030 agenda for sustainable development :17 goals. As the top agenda for sustainable development for the next 15 years, it points to a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable world. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all — SDG4— sets a more ambitious goal for world education in the 15 years after 2015, and symbolizes the establishment of education 2030. The 2030 framework for action on education was adopted at the 38th UNESCO general conference held at UNESCO headquarters on 4 November 2015, reaffirming the principles of sustainable development goals for education based on human rights and dignity in the Incheon declaration.

In response to SDG4,OECD launched its “The future of education and skills——Education 2030”programme. OECD thinks that we are facing unprecedented challenges – social, economic and environmental – driven by accelerating globalisation and a faster rate of technological developments. At the same time, those forces are providing us with myriad new opportunities for human advancement. The future is uncertain and we cannot predict it; but we need to be open and ready for it. The children entering education in 2018 will be young adults in 2030. Schools can prepare them for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated. It will be a shared responsibility to seize opportunities and find solutions. (OECD,2018). OECD wants to provide a clear framework for an international common language and shared space for teaching and learning in the 21st century

In order to cope with the challenges brought by the increasingly deep global knowledge society, China put forward the “China Education Modernization 2035” and proposed that the main development goal in 2035 is to build a modern education system that serves lifelong learning for all; to popularize quality preschool education; to achieve high-quality and balanced compulsory education; comprehensively popularize high school education; significantly improve vocational education service capabilities; significantly enhance the competitiveness of higher education; children with disabilities can enjoy appropriate education and to form a new pattern of education governance in which the whole society participates.
All of these shows that countries all over the world and the international organizations are exploring and promoting an education reform towards 2030. It is necessary to clarify the path and content that international organizations and China take in educational governance to achieve Education 2030.

Research question
This article focuses on the differences and trends between UNESCO, OECD and China’s blueprint for future education. As the three are in different environments and play different roles in the education system, it can be expected that their plans for future education are quite different. However, with the increasingly close international exchanges and the continuous improvement of China’s internationalization level, the three may also show the same trend in the policy making. Therefore, this paper attempts to sort out the policy texts which closely related to future education in UNESCO,OECD and China, and answer the following questions:
1.What are the vision and goals for future education held by OECD, UNESCO and China?
2.What are the approaches taken by OECD, UNESCO and China to achieve their respective goals?
3. Whether UNESCO, OECD and China share a common vision and trend in future education?

Research Method
1.Policy network analysis
Based on the policy framework, this study explores the development and changes of the core concepts in the future education blueprint of UNESCO, OECD and China, also discusses the factors that affect the development of policies in these three areas and how these factors affect the implementation of the policy system.

2. Word frequency count
Take the three policy text——OECD’s “The future of education and skills——Education 2030”、UNESCO’s “Education 2030 framework for action”and China’s “Education modernization 2035” as objects,use Nvivo12 for word frequency analysis. In the word frequency query, select “retained root” (in the case of Education, the words with the same root, such as educated, educated, educational, etc.), and eliminate the meaningless numbers or the usual words of the annual report. Compare high-frequency vocabulary with real meaning.

1.Policy review
(1)Visions for future education in UNESCO, OECD and China
(2)Goals for future education in UNESCO, OECD and China
(3)Approaches for future education in UNESCO, OECD and China

2. Policy analysis
(1) The background and characteristics of UNESCO, OECD and China’s policy system.
(2) The major concern in UNESCO, OECD and China’s plan to future education.
(3) The differences and consensus of UNESCO, OECD and China’s policy.

Fangting Shi is a Graduate student from East China Normal University. To contact Fangting Shi, send an email to

6 Responses

  1. Karen Monkman

    An interesting comparison of three policy agendas. A next step might be to do some critical discourse analysis (beyond word frequency) to reveal more about the underlying logic and nuances of the policy language.

  2. Jieyu Jiang

    This is a poster about comparing OECD, UNESCO, and China’s future plans and trends for the field of education. However, the insubstantial analysis makes this research become a review of the governmental and official documents. For only the review, one thing needs to be supplied is how those three institutions/government plan to do for achieving those goals respectively? Is there any specific measurement rather than formulating their slogans and blueprints? Another thing, like Karen said, is, what do those blueprints want to tell us and how do those differences embedded in each others’ plans represent or indicate their logical as well as systematical differences? In other words, why they are different and what has become their potential presuppositions for their plans? For instance, what has been included into “improving the education quality and equity” in the UNESCO’s discourse? Who are they considering and who are not? Why UNESCO addresses on education equity while OECD considers “well-being individuals” and what does it mean?

  3. Ksenia

    I second the above comments. I would also be interested in the extent to which each of these frameworks views education from an economic versus a moral (public good) perspective.

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