Why is transformative education a vital response to the multiple challenges of the future? 

Bridge 47 have commissioned a research publication on Foresight for SDG 4.7, written by Tereza Čajková.

This report explores the role of transformative education as described in SDG Target 4.7 in responding to the global challenges, risks and trends of the future, and is split into three sections: 

  • Part 1 sets the context based on several foresight reports, suggesting that the physical effects of climate change are likely to intensify during the next two decades as humanity looks unlikely to meet the goal of limiting global warming to under 2°C. The burden of climate disruption and environmental decline is already felt by everyone, but disproportionately by the most vulnerable populations. Social challenges described in foresight reports reflect increasing levels of uncertainty, precarity, fragility and complexity. The future world will likely be more connected, yet more fragmented, characterised by multiple changes taking place at an unprecedented pace.
  • Part 2 reflects on the role of education in times of social and ecological transformation. There is currently increasing momentum for questioning established education approaches in terms of whether they are able to equip future generations to cope with the multiple crises the foresight reports warn us of. Transformative education can contribute to this process given that preparing learners to address future challenges is one of its core commitments. 
  • Part 3 provides an insight into the types of learning which may be more suited to coping with these numerous challenges. Transformative learning develops the cognitive abilities to learn from the social and historical shortcomings of the dominant world-view and to address the driving forces responsible for degradation of life on the planet. It can support development of dispositions enabling learners to relate to each other and the world in a radically different way, understanding that we cannot separate humanity from the planet and all other living beings and that humanity may need to learn how to live in, and with the world, without occupying its centre.