Beyond Literacy: Securing the Future of Lifelong Learning

WE have known the 3Rs as the basis of literacy from ancient times. With shorter, less complex curricula and instructions, older education systems focused on the essentials of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Then, when distractions are less, parents are able to instill and ensure the knowledge, skills, attitude and values ​​of children, whose world was limited to what the small neighborhood community could offer. and what the limited media reach could communicate. The science may be young but sufficient to explain the basics of fundamental life and life.

Society, with its relatively limited concerns, was able to prescribe (and enforce) basic standards of behavior. It was easier to submit to these socio-cultural norms, especially when even personal philosophies were limited to basic traditional perspectives through conventional measures of right and wrong.

Traditional literacy is defined as “the quality of being literate; knowledge of letters; condition as regards education, the ability to read and write. It is the cornerstone of all other literacies; without it, they would be impossible to control. Additionally, basic or traditional literacy involves printing on a page, or decoding and making sense of words, images, and other content that a reader can string together and then begin to understand. These are the words and images that students read and think about and that are contained in textbooks, novels, standardized tests and even comic books.

Literacy has evolved to cover the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and calculate, using printed and written materials associated with varied contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning that enables individuals to achieve their goals, develop their knowledge and potential, and participate fully in their community and in society at large. The world that has become more complex has ironically been reduced to a small global village.

21st century learning

The 21st century demands literacy beyond academically learned and traditionally measured literacy. It covers three areas of knowledge, namely fundamental, humanistic and meta knowledge.

Core knowledge “to know” includes basic content knowledge in the discipline in question, digital literacy and ICT, and cross-curricular knowledge. The future world of work in the 21st century will see them as the basic requirement for employment and career growth.

Human knowledge “to be valued” relates to life and professional skills, ethical and emotional awareness, and cultural competence. These become the differentiators of what is fundamental and could hold the key to career development.

The Meta Knowledge to act covers creativity and innovation, problem solving and critical thinking as well as communication and collaboration. These are expected to be the real deal for success in life and career, success, happiness, joy and prosperity, the definition of which has also transformed individuals in a highly diverse world.

There are more specific skills that should change the rules of work, life and life in the future. Multicultural literacy involves understanding the ethnic groups that make up the population and focuses on complex issues of identity, diversity and citizenship. There is even social literacy, which is the development of positive social skills, knowledge and values ​​in human beings to act positively and responsibly in sophisticated and complex social contexts. Sociological, anthropological and cultural landscapes are expected to change with more globalized but harmonized communities within communities.

In the age of fake news, media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in all traditional and social forms, and whatever else might yet happen to it. coming. Digital literacy is the ability to effectively use digital devices for communication, expression, collaboration and advocacy in a knowledge-based society.

Financial literacy is the ability to make informed judgments and effective decisions about the use and management of money. Ecological literacy is about understanding the principles of ecosystems towards sustainability. Global awareness and an emerging goal-oriented younger generation show a bias towards more responsible businesses and brands.

Creative literacy is the ability to create original ideas that have value and the ability to see the world in new ways. In a modern society characterized by its volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (called VUCA), change remains the only constant thing.

Some references classify 21st century skills into three categories, namely foundational skills, skills, and character qualities. Foundational literacies refer to how well people are able to apply basic skills to daily tasks. It includes literacy, numeracy, science literacy, ICT literacy, financial literacy, and cultural and civic literacy. Competencies refer to a person’s ability to tackle complex challenges, which covers critical thinking and problem solving, creativity, communication and collaboration. Character qualities enumerate a person’s approach to a changing environment. Character includes curiosity, initiative, perseverance and courage, adaptability, leadership, and socio-cultural awareness.

Unesco pillars of education

There is hope in education. With her at the forefront of securing the future of humanity, she should be able to transform 19th century classrooms run by 20th century teachers. The sustainability of humanity is anchored on perspectives of how education should transform into a powerful agent of change itself.

Unesco has identified the 4 essential learnings for the 21st century, namely, learning to know, learning to do, learning to be and learning to live together. It has expanded to cover learning to transform or learning to change.

The pandemic has challenged all lifelong learners to learn a new requirement of 21st century life, which is learning how to learn.

Outcome-based education has shifted the focus from the teacher to the learner. It transformed the role of teachers from being facilitators of learning, a side guide, to being the provider of content like a sage on stage. Assessing the quality of education has moved from input to process, or the steps taken by the learner in partnership with the teacher in a competency-based learning environment. From traditional paper-and-pencil tests, traditional assessments have emerged as performance (which learners demonstrate and the teacher measures with the intention of improving), product (which the learner is able to create) and portfolio (which is a collection of artifacts, which the learner is able to collect to prove their learning).

Certainly, humanity’s greatest capacity is to collectively confront the forces of change, while proactively catalyzing change as a formidable spirit to enhance what is given to it in this moment. There is hope as long as the best parts of humanity are there – its creativity, empathy and stewardship and the newly emerging, collective moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny.