The Education Fit for the Future in Wales report, authored by Professor Calvin Jones (Cardiff Business School) in collaboration with the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, is a White Paper for discussion that calls for us to match the skills needed in the future with our education and qualifications system in Wales.

The Well-being of Future Generations Act requires public bodies in Wales to look to the future and think about the long-term impact of the decisions they make. A recent Welsh Government review found that over the next decade, digital technologies will result in both job displacement and creation with greater impact on how we experience and approach work. Among its findings, the review calls on Welsh Government to shift the focus from examinations, testing and certification, in order to emphasise knowledge, learning and skills.

The world is changing. The 2018 Future Jobs Report found that 75 million jobs are expected to be displaced by 2022 in 20 major economies, but at the same time 133 million new roles could be created, driven by new products and growth. With social, economic, cultural and environmental challenges facing Wales such as responding to the climate emergency, growing our culture and language, tackling poverty, automation and population change – education and qualifications are crucial for different jobs in the future, but are also important in promoting well-being.

This White Paper for discussion acknowledges that the Welsh Government’s new Curriculum for Wales 2022 is an opportunity to think to the long-term in how we value, assess and resource skills for the future.

It calls for:

A significant increase in the number of teaching staff and resources to deliver the new curriculum, if it is to reach its potential.
Learning to be created and delivered in partnership with businesses, charities and other organisations across Wales.
A radical re-think of qualifications at age 16. The paper argues that current GCSEs are no longer fit for purpose and should be re-considered to reflect the aspirations of the Curriculum for Wales 2022 and the changing economy.
Assessments that focus on diversity, are centred around pupils not testing, providing greater academic value and benefit.