Session #1: An introduction to 21st Century Skills

This webinar is part of the Teaching and Learning 21st Century Skills online learning series.

The objective of this learning series is to support a 'breadth of skills' holistic approach to teaching and learning through the integration of 21st Century skills in education systems in the Sub-Saharan Africa region through:

  • increasing participants' knowledge of key concepts related to teaching and assessing 21st Century skills,
  • fostering exchange between country participants in order to build collaborative capacity in the integration of 21st Century skills in education systems, and
  • showcasing and learning from the Teaching and Learning: Educator’s Network for Transformation (TALENT) and Brookings Institution Optimizing Assessment for All initiative that countries can apply within their systems.

Session #1. An introduction to 21st Century Skills, 22 October 2020, Time: 11.00 – 12.30 CEST

To extend understanding of how education systems can integrate a broader set of learning outcomes into students' educational experiences, this session will explore the nature of 21st Century skills, identify how they can contribute to better learning outcomes, and discuss what it is about these skills that requires special attention to their integration into educational programmes. The session will highlight learnings from sub-Saharan Africa about teacher training and assessment adaptation.’

Intended learning objectives

At the end of this session, participants will:

  • Understand what is meant by 21st Century skills;
  • Be familiar with the different models of 21st Century skills used by international organisations and national jurisdictions;
  • Gain an overview of what their adoption within an education system entails.

A pre and post webinar space is available for participants to familiarize themselves with the materials prior to the webinar and for follow-up discussions post webinar.

Webinar Agenda

Welcome and introduction: Davide Ruscelli, coordinator of the Teaching and Learning: Educator’s Network for Transformation (TALENT).

Opening remarks: Representative of the UNESCO Office Dakar

The nature of 21st Century skills: many models for similar competencies, Esther Care

Reflections with the audience.

Learnings from the TALENT community

  • I: The Gambia's approach to teacher training, Momodou Jeng, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Gambia
  • II: Senegal's demonstration of 're-visioning' traditional assessments, Cheikhena Lam, Ministry of National Education, Senegal

Reflections with the audience.

  • III: Overview of findings from a nine-country study on the assessment of 21st Century skills in sub-Saharan Africa, Esther Care

Reflections with the audience and concluding remarks.

About the speakers:

Davide Ruscelli is Ja Junior Professional Officer/Associate Expert in Education at UNESCO Dakar. He is currently ensuring the interim of the “teaching and learning” cluster of the UNESCO multi-sectoral Dakar Office and he coordinates the TALENT Secretariat, a task team of the Regional Coordination Group (RCG4) of SDG4. In this function, he is in charge of the implementation of the “Strengthening Learning Assessment Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa through TALENT” project funded by the Global Partnership for Education and he has managed on UNESCO’s side the “Optimizing Assessment for All – Africa initiative”, an action research project in collaboration with the Brookings Institution focused on the integration of 21st Century skills in the teaching and learning process. Prior to joining UNESCO, Davide worked in UNICEF Malawi focusing mainly on education systems strengthening at national and decentralized levels.

Esther Care, a former senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, leads global projects which explore the integration of 21st Century skills into nations’ education policy and practice, with a particular focus on assessment of these skills. A Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia, Professor Care publishes widely in peer reviewed international journals in psychometrics, educational psychology, assessment, and education reform. She is most recently engaging in Asia and Africa at national levels in assessment of curricular proficiencies and the development of 21st century skills assessment, and at global level in surveying student opportunities to acquire a 'breadth of skills' being provided by countries' education systems.

Momodou Jeng is Director of Science & Technology Education and Head of the In-Service Education and Training (INSET) Unit, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, The Gambia. He has led Continuous Professional Development and Early Grade Reading initiatives, including Early Grade Reading Assessment, in The Gambia. Momodou holds an MA from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom.

Cheikhena Lam is the Director of Educational Planning and Reform at the Ministry of National Education of Senegal. He chairs the National Curriculum Reform Commission for Preschool and Elementary Education within the framework of the Curriculum Renewal Support Project (PARC). He coordinated the research group on 21st Century Skills in Senegal in relation to TALENT and the PISA-D survey on the skills of 15-year-olds in and out of school.

Recommended resources

All participant resources are also available here