IIEP Foresight Papers: planning for the future in a rapidly changing world

To keep relevant in the future, educational planning must keep pace and adapt to the many changes constantly reshaping our world. From globalization, rapid urbanization, vast technological advancements, to the perils of conflict and climate change, there are a myriad of factors influencing the current and future state of education.

Educational planners and managers must keep abreast of all these changes and configure new approaches to planning in an age of rapid transformation. They must update their practices and apply new policy tools to both respond to challenges and take advantage of new advancements.

In this context, IIEP’s Foresight Papers aim at helping educational decision-makers and managers to adapt their work to a changing environment. Using a particular country experience as a basis for reflection, the papers address the role of educational planning in a dynamic context.

The first three editions in the Series take us to the United Kingdom, to explore the role of academies and free schools in the shift towards decentralization and school empowerment, to Spain, to look at current policy tools to counteract school segregation in Catalonia, and to India, to examine the digital revolution taking place in the higher education sector.

Massive Open Online Courses: the emerging landscape of digital learning in India

The number of internet users in India has reached 462 million (with a penetration rate of 35% of the total population), and it currently represents the second largest national group enrolled in MOOCs after the USA. In this context, the Government of India is striving hard to leverage the potential of the higher education sector to reach more students and to build a knowledge-based society through a more intensive and optimized use of technology. This Foresight Paper reviews current initiatives taking place in India to promote access to higher education through distance education, online learning platforms, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and highlights its implications for the higher education landscape.

Read this paper here! (also available in French)

Karanam Pushpanadham is Professor of Educational Management at the Faculty of Education and Psychology, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (Gujarat, India). 

Educational policy and the challenge of school segregation in Catalonia

School segregation is a growing challenge in many contemporary education systems, which can have vast implications on school performance, educational inequality, and social cohesion. In Catalonia, a recent influx of immigrant students has resulted in more acute school segregation. This Foresight Paper looks at the current policy tools available to counteract the negative implications of school segregation. It focuses on the various approaches tested in Catalonia to fight school segregation, including the opening and closing of classes according to demand, free transport to promote mobility, the revision of catchment areas to promote greater social diversity, and the control of fraud in terms of false declarations of address.

Read this paper here! (Also available in Spanish and French)

Author Xavier Bonal is a professor of Sociology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and special professor of Education and International Development at the University of Amsterdam.

Academies and Free Schools in England 

Since 2002, England has moved towards creating more academies and free schools – i.e. schools that enter into a direct contract with the Government and thusly enjoy more autonomy and discretion in how to use public funds. These schools represent a profound segment of education in England, enrolling two-thirds of all secondary school and one-fifth of primary school pupils. This Foresight Paper looks at the core research that England has drawn from to develop its policy of decentralization and school empowerment. Exploring various facets of the reform, it highlights that the link between autonomy and achievement is very much dependent on accountability.

Read this paper here! (also available in French)

Anne Jackson is the Director of the System Reform Group in the Department for Education, with responsibility for policy on academies and school system issues.