Are writers optimistic or pessimistic about future of education?

Shelf of Gradient Optimistic vs Pessimistic

The overall tone of the education literature is marked by an urgency for immediate action. Even though challenges pertain to the future of education, actions have to be taken in the present. This is especially true for education policy as it requires some time to unfold its effects. The urgency of actions has been further reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced governments all over the world not only to implement distance learning solutions in a very short amount of time but also laid bare the digital gap and preexisting inequalities in terms of school access and learning continuation.

Despite these challenges, most publications take an optimistic stance towards the attainment of education goals and the future of learning. However, it seems like this optimism mainly derives from the hopes which authors put into digitization, whereas some warn that digitization alone cannot guide education and could even come along with its own downsides.


Excerpts from the literature

“Never before has it been more urgent and critical to develop competencies that make us future-fit and future-creative for a world that works.” 

“As we shared earlier, as a species we now have but a small window of time and opportunity to avoid the worst of systemic collapses. Let us act wisely now by developing the competencies and the imaginal cells of thrivability systems, as conscious midwives, curators, evolutionary learners, gardeners and custodians of a more thrivable world and future.”


“While the materiality of technology is undeniably important, each future history means decisions have been taken about which technologies, institutions, funding lines, research, pedagogies, relations, designs, etc., to prioritize. These decisions are being made today.”


“It is our hope that during this trying time, adult education can be a force for connecting people who, after months of social isolation and physical distancing, may recognize more than ever the value of supportive networks and solidarity among members of society.”

  • This quote is extracted from an editorial titled “COVID-19 and the Future of Adult Education” from the Adult Education Quarterly, written by Boeren, Roumell Roessger and published in 2020. They reflect on the question of whether the 2020 global pandemic presents opportunities for elevating adult learning and restructuring adult education practices and policies in more equitable and efficacious ways.


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