Chapter Twelve


Imagine if we could gaze into the future and see the implications of our present-day approaches to important challenges. What would we do differently now to help build a better world for the next generation?

This question is the impetus behind Waterloo Global Science Initiative’s Equinox Summit series, a biennialgathering of experts from around the
world aimed at tackling tomorrow’s biggest challenges and seizing opportunities today.

In 2011, Waterloo Global Science Initiative’s inaugural Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 explored how cutting-edge science and technology can contribute toward a more sustainable energy future. The ensuing Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 outlined the collective conclusions and energy policy recommendations drafted by more than 40 experts who participated in the weeklong summit.

Two years later, Waterloo Global Science Initiative shifted its focus to the intellectual energy that will drive the future by tackling questions of education reform. This past fall, Equinox Summit: Learning 2030 assembled a diverse group of education innovators from around the world to develop practical, implementable ideas for improving high school education.

Why high school? Whereas early childhood education and post-secondary education have been the subjects of much debate and change, high school – where children become young adults and determine their future paths – is a comparatively neglected piece of the puzzle. High school is often perceived as a means to an end – a pipeline through which the highest-scoring students are funnelled toward post-secondary institutions or careers – rather than a crucial period of a person’s intellectual, emotional, and ethical development.

If children born today are to become the successful high school graduates of 2030, the time is now to create the blueprint for an ideal school of the 21st century.

Participants at Equinox Summit: Learning 2030 made recommendations in nine crucial areas of the learning ecosystem with great opportunities for transformation: curriculum, pedagogy, teachers, learning environments, assessment, organization, scalability, cost/funding, and implementation. Collectively, the recommendations forman interconnected picture of the optimalfuture of learning.

As Chair and Vice-Chair of WGSI’s Board of Directors, we are pleased to share the ideas and proposals generated by the participants. In the months to come, their efforts will be encapsulated in an evolving, living blueprint that fuels the global conversation and public engagement in the future of education. We invite you to explore this vision of the future and to follow our continuing activities.

Neil Turok and Feridun Hamdullahpur

“Finnish education expert, Pasi Sahlberg, says the much lauded transformation of the Finnish education system came “at a reasonable cost.” So reasonable, in fact, that 98% of the cost of education at all levels is covered by government rather than by private sources.”

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