The power of curriculum to transform education: How education systems incorporate 21st century skills to prepare students for todays challenges

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Pellicer Iborra, Carmen;
López, Esteve;
Rodríguez, Henar;
López, Rosa;
Magro Mazo, Carlos;
Vásquez Guerra, Andrea;
Quesada Alvarado, Ana;
Brooks-Young, Susan;
Álvarez, Ximena;
Barrenechea, Ignacio;
Brazão, Vasco;
Ndebele, Varaidzo;
Nathan, Debra;
Jul 2022
Curriculum reform is at the top of the education agenda today. Skills gaps between what society and the labor market need and what formal systems of education and training provide are growing. The curriculum is the primary instrument for education systems to translate what society needs in terms of human capital, into specific content, competencies, and skills. The curriculum reflects the standards of what students should know and be able to do by the end of their school and formative years. However, regardless of the approach education systems take to design their curriculum, there is not always a straight correspondence between the intended standards on paper (i.e., the intended curriculum), and the actual teaching and learning that happens in the classroom (i.e., the de facto curriculum). This report examines how different education systems inside and outside Latin America and the Caribbean have incorporated 21st century skills in their curriculum, and the enabling conditions to translate the intended curriculum into a de facto curriculum in the classroom. How people are educated and trained today will determine whether countries in the region will be able to transform and provide greater prosperity and opportunities for all.