WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: ‘SCHOOLS OF THE FUTURE’, 2020
The following are excerpts from the World Economic Forum ‘Schools of the Future’ Report, 2020. You can download the full report here.
As globalization and rapid advancements in technology continue to transform civic space and the world of work, education systems have grown increasingly disconnected from the realities and needs of global economies and societies. Education models must adapt to equip children with the skills to create a more inclusive, cohesive and productive world.
“Schools of the Future: Defining New Models of Education for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” outlines a new framework for defining quality education in the new economic and social context and shares key features of 16 schools, systems and programmes pioneering the future of education. These examples may serve as inspiration for driving holistic and transformative action on this important agenda. This paper is the result of a widely consultative process with educators, policy and business leaders, education technology developers and experts curated by the Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society.
Indonesia Green School
Creating a generation of future green leaders.
The Green School, opened in Bali in 2008, is committed to education that promotes sustainability and shapes future green leaders. It currently serves more than 800 students aged 3–18, with plans to expand to New Zealand, South Africa and Mexico by 2021.
What makes the model unique?
Students at the Green School apply learning to the real world through a global citizenship and sustainability lens, and truly take advantage of the natural world to tap into their curiosity, empathy, and creative thinking skills.
The school’s physical space supports critical thinking, creativity and entrepreneurship. Learning takes place in a completely natural and sustainable environment that includes wall-less classrooms and a structure built entirely out of bamboo. The BioBus, a cooking-oil-fueled vehicle designed by Green School students that saves over four tons of carbon emissions per year, transports students to and from school. The campus includes an Innovation Hub—a maker’s space with woodworking equipment, 3D printers and laser engravers—and a Project Hub, where students pitch project ideas to be used in the classroom.
The school’s location is integral for enabling students to connect directly with nature and consider ways to help the planet. In the early years, for example, children spend a significant portion of their time in the gardens and kitchen, developing empathy for nature and a general awareness about where their food is sourced. All students help maintain a sustainable environment in the school, and in the 2017–2018 school year produced over 150 kilogrammes of edible produce per month.
All learning is directly connected to real-world application. In middle school, for example, students built a functional cable and bamboo bridge across the Ayung river as part of their math class. The project was entirely student-led, including the design, cost estimation and construction processes. At the high-school level, Green School students worked with those at the University of Cologne to design and build a new and sustainable solar and hydropower system for the school.55 They also started their own fashion company, which donates a portion of sales to help children in India and Indonesia buy school uniforms.
The school takes a thematic and interdisciplinary approach to teaching content and offers courses in digital citizenship and technology.
The Green School partners with private sector companies to support their curriculum. In 2018, for example, it partnered with Sunseap, Singapore’s largest clean energy provider, to help the school with its goal of being completely off the grid. The goal is part of a student-driven initiative, Operation Rain or Shine, which aims to help the school become a model of renewable energy.
The Bali school also leads an educator course open to teachers around the world for training on pedagogy and design principles of a nature-based curriculum. To date, nearly 700 teachers from over 50 countries have participated in this immersive programme.
Measures of Success
A 2012 qualitative study of the Green School found that this model has had a particularly positive impact on students with special learning needs. In fact, these students showed lower levels of stress, greater resilience, less distraction, higher self-esteem and greater motivation to learn at the Green School than similar students in other schools.
In addition to creating impact for their own students, the Green School is also paving the way for other nearby schools to transition toward greener models. In 2017, for example, they supported seven local schools with replicating their waste-management system. Their Kul Kul Connection programme supports an additional 350 local children learn about sustainability. Beyond Indonesia, the school’s training programme enables teachers around the world to scale their sustainability and exploratory learning approach.
The school’s impact also extends to the environment. In the 2017–2018 school year alone, student-led energy projects led to seven new renewable energy systems implemented at the school. In their latest annual report, the school shows a 40% reduction in their environmental footprint. In fact, it uses just 10% of the energy consumed by other schools.