Competencies of the 21st century

The need to establish the Copernican Revolution Lab derives from fundamental civilisation changes that we have been observing in the last decades. They are taking place at an unprecedented pace and are mainly driven by the development of science and technology, which results in achievements and discoveries that revolutionise what we know about the world and our way of living.

When the public education system was being born in Europe in the 19th century, it was very safe to assume that children would follow the professional footsteps of their parents, and that their way of living and scope of necessary knowledge and skills would remain quite similar. Nowadays, tens of professions simply disappear just to be replaced by new ones. The current education system does not adapt to the needs of today’s labour market – it does not keep up the pace. This growing inadequacy encourages us to reflect on the change of ways of learning and to take action – first, in the form of experiments and then to introduce changes throughout the country.

The competencies key in the 21st century and on the labour market today include:

  • Ability of critical analysis, since today we have an almost unlimited access to information. This means that school books have ceased to be the fundamental source of knowledge, and teachers are very seldom indicated by students as their source of information.
  • Ability to self-study, since the school is no longer the only place for acquiring knowledge. We cannot ignore the fact that nowadays we learn in many ways: organised (schools, universities, courses and training sessions) and spontaneous (Internet, museums, media, socialising).
  • Processing the existing content and creating new has become „a must” now that the democratisation of the access to information has led to the disappearance of traditional roles of information providers and recipients. The Internet empowered all users and turned them into co-creators. It created new possibilities of conducting business – now companies can establish digital platforms that enable users to exchange content or services.
  • Communication and social skills. The analysis of the world economy clearly shows that although non-developed countries can grow effectively thanks to exporting their natural resources and using cheap labour force, jumping to the level of developed economies requires a clear focus on knowledge and innovation. Knowledge, understood as a substance and a starting point for generating new, technologically advanced products and services, becomes the key to a dynamic development of the country as well as its citizens. However, the knowledge itself is insufficient – social competencies that drive innovation are also required. However, in Poland the level of social capital is dramatically low. It is reflected in the lack of trust towards other people and institutions, reluctance to organising things together and acting for the sake of common good. Our education system in its current form promotes extreme individualism. We should remember that through education we can prompt the trust, the ability to collaborate in a diverse environment and willingness to act for the purpose of common good.