Ten Problems for Education in the 2020s

Booklet updated on 26 Jun 2022, now on sale as version 2.0

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Literature Review: Education Problems for the 2020s

2020 humbled us with a global shock: the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been reminded that, despite best-laid plans, the future likes to surprise us. The crisis has exposed the glaring inequities in our school systems – from the broadband and computers needed for online education to training teachers to keep classes going digitally [1]. Most education systems were nimble: we rethought the curriculum, embraced hybrid learning, adjusted school calendars and schedules, and adapted examinations and assessments methods. We opened up new channels connecting students, families, schools and local authorities. We boosted spending. And, we took remedial measures to prevent learning losses, especially for disadvantaged students.

The Report on the Condition of Education contains key indicators on the condition of education in the United States at all levels, from pre-kindergarten through post-secondary, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons. There are core indicators that are updated every year and spotlight indicators that provide in-depth analyses on topics of interest to education systems, policymakers, researchers, and the public [2]. At the broadest level, it is organized into five sections: family characteristics; preprimary, elementary, and secondary education; postsecondary education; population characteristics and economic outcomes; and international comparisons.

Although the idea of hybrid learning gained its momentum back during the first COVID-19 outbreak, it’s naive to think that it’ll go away any time soon [3]. With so much money spent on the transition to eLearning (devices, infrastructure, etc.), educational institutions want to get more out of their investments. So rather than being a fleeting thing just for the pandemic, hybrid learning becomes a long-lasting movement that has provided a new setting for other education technology trends to occur. Shaping this new landscape for more groundbreaking ideas to be implemented and thrive, hybrid learning is not in a perfect shape itself. At the beginning of 2020, when the world was suddenly awoken to one of the dystopian scenarios of the future, the pain points of education that had remained unnoticed for so long, had to be dealt with immediately.

Starting from such general references, this booklet identifies ten relevant issues, as put forward at academic level in the form of recent journal articles, conference proceedings or students’ theses. Four freely accessible internet references have been selected for each issue and direct links are provided at the end of each chapter for own consultation. Our references neither intend to mirror ranking indexes nor establish novel classifications. On the contrary, they are meant to represent peer-reviewed, scientifically-sound case studies for dissemination aimed at non-specialist readers. They will also offer even more references through their own bibliography list.

Without further ado, these are the “Ten Problems for Education in the 2020s” that we are going to introduce in this booklet:

  1. funding,
  2. safety,
  3. technology,
  4. standardization,
  5. teachers,
  6. lifelong learning,
  7. diversity,
  8. creativity,
  9. accreditation,
  10. new trends.

Each problem has its own dedicated chapter made of an introduction, a snippet from the 1st edition of this booklet, a short presentation of four new case studies, a conclusions section and the references list with links.

The final chapter of this booklet will report the conclusions from each chapter, again, in order to provide a complete executive summary.


[1] OECD. Education Fast Forward: Building a future that works for all. 2022, OECD Publishing, Paris, France. (accessed on 22 Jun 2022)

[2] Irwin, V. et al. Report on the Condition of Education 2022 (NCES 2022-144). 2022. U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC, United States: National Center for Education Statistics.

[3] instinctools. Revealing EdTech Trends That Shape The Future Of Education. 2022, instinctools, Stuttgart, Germany.

“Ten Problems for Education in the 2020s” booklet for Amazon Kindle, 2022; click on the cover to go to the dedicated Amazon listing page