Schooling for tomorrow: OECD scenarios


These scenarios are from the Schooling for Tomorrow series developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Centre for Education and Research (CERI).

The series forms part of a long term OECD project that is focused on developing an international body of analysis, reflection, and experience intended to contribute to long-term thinking in education. The scenarios outlined are based on those in the OECD’s 2001 publication, What Schools for the Future?

The six scenarios for schooling in the future up to 2020 are clustered into three categories:

  • attempting to maintain the status quo
  • re-schooling
  • de-schooling.

The scenarios do not describe how individual schools may function, but how schooling might be overall in a society.

Attempting to maintain the status quo

With the ‘status quo’ scenarios, the basic features of existing systems are maintained well into the future, whether from public choice or from the inability to implement fundamental change.


The ‘re-schooling’ scenarios would see major investments and widespread recognition for schools and their achievements, including towards their professionals, with high priority accorded to both quality and equity.


Rather than high status and generous resourcing for schools, the dissatisfaction of a range of key players leads to the dismantling of school systems, to a greater or lesser degree.

Readers are invited, at this link, to respond to the developers and provide feedback on how they have used these scenarios. For example, in discussions, conferences, or workshops.

Reflective questions

These reflective questions might guide you in your reading of this article:

  • Consider each scenario in turn. What has it in common with current schooling?
  • What aspects – and why – form part of your preferred future?
  • What aspects – and why – form part of a future you would prefer not to see?
  • What do you anticipate might be the major educational issue in 2030?


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2001). The schooling for tomorrow scenarios.

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