If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that the future will always surprise us, and that it requires resilience to cope in a world that is in constant disequilibrium.

Education is key to strengthen cognitive, social and emotional resilience among learners, helping them understand that living in the world means trying, failing, adapting, learning and evolving. But our educational institutions and education systems, too, need to become more resilient to succeed amid unforeseeable disruptions.

Resilience provides individuals, institutions and communities with the flexibility, intelligence and responsiveness they need to thrive in social and economic change.

That calls on public policy to become far more imaginative. It is no longer possible to prepare educators, educational institutions and education systems for a single future. Policy needs to become better at imagining multiple futures for education, and anticipate the consequences of these different futures for the goals and functions of education, for the organisation and structures, and for the education workforce, and ultimately, think harder about the future they want for education.

Resilience builds capacity to navigate between modernising and disruption, to reconcile new goals with old structures, to foster innovation while recognising the inherently conservative nature of the education systems, to leverage potential with existing capacity, and to reconfigure the spaces, the people, the time and the technologies to educate learners for their future, not our past.

This is all easy to say, but hard to do. To make it easier, the Framework for Responsiveness and Resilience presented in this edition of OECD’s Education Policy Outlook makes the concept of individual, institutional and systemic resilience actionable in policy terms, bringing together evidence and expertise from over 40 education systems.

Taking a view for the short and mid-term, the framework provides both a window and a mirror of education policy for education systems on practices that promote responsiveness and resilience in their education systems and beyond. The framework also serves as springboard to reflect on how education policy can more radically bring about profound, purposeful, and positive change to education systems.

What if learners could become empowered to learn in their own time and by their rules, rather than in adults’ time and by adults’ rules? What if governments could translate an increased awareness of teachers as valued professionals into boldly reimagined structures and processes that empower them as trusted professionals, transforming rules into guidelines and good practice, and ultimately, good practice into culture? What if education systems could shift from a culture of compliance and standardisation to one built on innovation and rigorous and reflective evaluative thinking to support the system to set and achieve new goals? These are some of the questions that the framework poses.

Andreas Schleicher

Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General

Director for Education and Skills OECD

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2021

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at