#2. Regional Rising

Five Scenarios for Education in 2030

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Welcome to Regional Rising

In 2030, world economies have become increasingly integrated along regional lines. Significant demographic changes in the 10 years between 2020 – 2030 have impacted countries and regions differently, with developed nations challenged by an aging workforce and tapering economic growth, while developing countries, making up most of the world’s working population in 2030, need to enable education and jobs for their burgeoning populations. For each group, regional cooperation provides a way to support economic growth, achieve efficiencies, alleviate under- or over-supply of human capital, which has become a critical strategic asset of the twenty first century, while maintaining unique cultural and national identities.

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Education in 2030 is a free 60 page report that deep dives through the four drivers of the global expansion in education and explains the methodology for developing and details behind the five scenarios for Education in 2030. Over 100 charts, tables complete with sources and references for further research.

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Collaborative Advantage

In this scenario, regional alliances dominate the competitive global education landscape, supported by strategic government economic and political cooperation. Countries form multilateral accords to solve unique regional issues, benefit from economies of scale, strengthen their competitive position for talent and maintain important aspects of culture. Supported by broader government cooperation in the region, education regulators collaborate to harmonize regulatory frameworks, establish mutual recognition conventions and build regional qualifications frameworks.

Enabled by ‘regional friendly’ policy and regulatory environments, national education systems cooperate to align aspects of curriculum. School systems initiate sharing of curriculum and learning resources. Regional recognition of teacher qualifications, regional professional development networks and teacher exchange programs emerge. These initiatives ease the pressure of the uneven supply of qualified teachers and academics, primarily brought about by the aging workforce population in western ‘developed’ nations and the enormous growth in school age population in ‘developing’ nations.

The growth of ‘emerging’ economies primarily in Asia, Africa and the Middle East has resulted in substantially improved education outcomes and increased student mobility. To mitigate against ‘brain drain’ to the west and ensure their powering economies have the right skills and intellectual capital to maintain growth, governments have formed regional alliances to attract and retain their future skilled workforce. Institutional capacity building in these regions has improved the overall quality of education, increasing intra-regional student circulation and attracting foreign students. This trend has led to a slowdown of the ‘east to west’ global flows of students.

In this scenario, cost pressures ease on governments through the efficiencies gained from alignment of frameworks and processes, regional ‘buying power’ and improved access to regional expertise. Intra-regional rather than international study options lowers the cost of education for parents.

Cooperative Blended Delivery

The regional scenario sees nation states retain their unique K-12 and post-secondary education systems but gain economic and innovation benefits from participating collectively in blended learning across the region. This model allows countries to retain the distinctive elements of their teaching and learning contexts through the maintenance of face to face ‘in classroom’ delivery. Technology is used to supplement these important face to face interactions via blended approaches whereby collaborating schools and universities draw on regional experts to deliver content, with students from different countries participating in real-time online sessions.

Regional Talent Hubs Emerge

In an environment of minimal restrictions on labour mobility, favourable work-rights within regions and aligned education systems, sharing of expertise across borders becomes commonplace, easing regional labour needs. Countries with critical skills shortages in specific areas can engage talent from regional partners and those with an oversupply can better manage unemployment rates. Confidence in the ability to draw on labour from across the region leads to specialization within countries and regional talent hubs begin to emerge, aligned with industry strength and research capability.

Comparing Scenarios

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Scenarios do not predict the future, but present snapshots of a range of possible futures. They should paint a picture of ‘what could be’ with enough depth to be plausible, but not be too exact.

Each scenario represents the different ways in which key drivers have developed and interacted, and so they are not meant to be compared against each other. However, there are common aspects, implied in all scenarios which help to explain underlying thinking that supported their construction.

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