Soft skills and hard values: Meeting education's 21st century challenges

Research output: Book/ReportBooks


To help researchers, educators and policy makers understand and support the development of 21st-century skills in schools, this edited volume explores the various iterations of "soft" skills with a particular focus on their implications for values and evaluates ways in which "soft skills" and "hard" values can be integrated.

Discourse throughout the 21st century has focused on the changing nature of work, the need for new skill sets and the disruptive effects of new technologies. This has been a neo-liberal discourse that subordinated personal and individual needs to the needs of a productive workforce delivering more and more efficiencies linked to higher and higher profits. The solution is often seen to be in the development of a school curriculum that focuses on work-ready skills for an increasingly complex work environment and its demands. Agencies such as OECD and UNESCO highlight the need to link the skills agenda with complementary values. Yet this process is at a very early stage. The proponents of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for example highlight the impact of new technologies, not just on work but also on the social world. Yet they neglect to explore the values that would be needed in these new disruptive environments.

This book takes up that issue and lays out the multiple value systems that are available for this new 21st century world. It is an important resource for policy makers, academics and teachers with responsibility for a new generation. Copyright © 2023 selection and editorial matter, Kerry J. Kennedy, Margarita Pavlova and John Chi-Kin Lee; individual chapters, the contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxon; New York
ISBN (Electronic)9781003219415
ISBN (Print)9781032113364
Publication statusPublished - 2023


Kennedy, K. J., Pavlova, M., & Lee, J. C.-K. (Eds.). (2023). Soft skills and hard values: Meeting education's 21st century challenges. Oxon; New York: Routledge.


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