Scenarios for the future of school education in the EU. A Foresight Study commissioned by the European Commission

The landscape of education in the European Union is poised for a leap into the future, a vision that ISINNOVA, Visionary Analytics (Lead), 4strat and AIT – Austrian Institute of Technology meticulously crafted in the forward-looking study ‘Scenarios for the Future of School Education in the EU‘, commissioned by the European Commission, DG EAC. This crucial research, enriched by the insights of over 80 industry experts, including European Commission officials and education stakeholders across the EU, outlines a range of possible futures for our education systems up to 2040.

Identifying the shape of tomorrow’s education

Our journey began with a comprehensive mapping of the current education ecosystem. Delving into the intricate array of drivers of change – from megatrends like technological acceleration to wild cards like major environmental crises – we identified the key factors that could shape the fate of European education.

A glimpse into the possible future

Of the four imagined scenarios, one stands out as a beacon of our collective aspirations: the ‘flexible and collaborative’ future. Here we imagine a day in the life of Sofia, a student who thrives in an environment that celebrates adaptability and collaborative learning. Her school day is a harmonious blend of innovative technology and practical real-world engagement, underpinned by teaching practices that emphasize inclusion, sustainability, and active citizenship.

Defining the roadmap to 2040

The pathway towards this aspirational scenario calls for:

  • Increasing investments education: Funding for the digital and ecological transformation of educational institutions must be significantly increased. This will lay the foundation for sustainable educational practices that reflect our commitment to a healthier planet.
  • Ensuring fair opportunities: Inclusiveness is at the heart of this imagined future. Policies must be adopted to ensure equitable access to education for a system that embraces the potential of every child, regardless of background or ability.
  • Embracing digitisation in responsible way: The integration of artificial intelligence and cutting-edge technologies into education must be approached with balance, ensuring respect for ethical standards and privacy and embracing innovation.
  • Reinventing pedagogy: Pedagogical methods must evolve, emphasising personalised and blended learning to meet the diverse needs of each student.
  • Empowering educators: It is essential to invest in the continuous professional development of teachers. This will equip them with the necessary skills to guide students in a more flexible and collaborative learning landscape.

Join us on the journey to 2040

This foresight study is more than an academic exercise: it is a clear call to action. ISINNOVA invites policy makers, education professionals and all interested parties to read the full study, which offers a detailed roadmap for the realization of this future. As we stand at the beginning of this new educational era, it is imperative that we not only imagine, but actively shape a future in which every student can thrive. Our collective efforts today will pave the way for a brighter and more inclusive tomorrow within the EU education system.

Download the full study here