Towards Global Learning Goals

Surviving the 21st Century

When learners hack their own curriculum.

To achieve a sustainable learning revolution requires support and action from learners and their parents (who must also be learners themselves). For our latest report, university students at campuses across the world 'hacked' the curriculum they are being taught - to find out what happens when you put learners in the lead of the learning revolution.

Download: 'Parents and Learners'

“World affairs, AI, philosophy, empathy, resilience, diversity, openness, respect. We need to learn how you rise up and continue learning through your failures”  (NYU Abu Dhabi)

“Daily physical activity & in-depth sex education are missing. Too much time on outdated content – we need flexible curriculums.” (NYU Sydney)

“Learning how to learn, and emotional intelligence – but we we need to stop and reflect on what skills that entails and what would be learned” (NYU Shanghai)

“Lectures are a waste of time … let students decide their own internal politics … then review how we could have been better leaders/learners/teammates”  (NYU Madrid)

Learners must be consulted in a meaningful way, and the policy world needs to listen to their answers. 

How NOT to do it

Tokenistic consultation

Reinforcing previous assumptions

Taking only the middle-of-the road suggestions

How to do it

Meaningful engagement in a long term conversation

Being willing to test and iterate the most creative ideas

A design thinking approach and willingness to ‘fail fast’

Take the hackathon challenge


Replicate the method in the report to run your own education hackathon. Share on #surviving21century and email your results to [email protected] Tom Fletcher will integrate the best ideas into his 2020 January course at New York University Abu Dhabi.

You can also download our other reports:


‘The World Needs Global Learning Goals’ outlines the exciting conversation happening in learning, the challenges we face, and how Towards Global Learning Goals is helping.


‘Kindling the Flame’ claims most people are learning the wrong things in the wrong way, proposes Global Learning Goals for all learners, and sets out the challenges we face to make them happen.


‘From Ferment to Fusion’ looks further at the obstacles to global learning goals. Using innovations and coalitions, we identify a practical action for each challenge.


‘Our Tech Manifesto’  includes an open letter to tech leaders to stir a ‘learning reawakening’. We set out how tech can solve education problems, rather than just disrupt it.


‘Universities of the Future’ asks global experts existential questions about the future of the university and starts to propose some answers.


‘Islands of Opportunity’ highlights countries and international institutions pioneering education of the head, hand and heart, and the lessons that they show us.

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© Towards Global Learning Goals 2019