Transition to life beyond school: What is the role of the 21st century skills?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The value of ‘Learning to live together’ is getting more and more important in the modern world. Today’s complexities of the rapidly changing world poses new requirements to education that are going beyond development of cognitive skills. Often, these skills are called 21st century skills and are referred to as non-cognitive skills. They include perseverance, creativity, empathy, confidence and hope for the future, and are viewed as important in helping students deal with challenges of our diversified societies. Despite the agreement in literature that 21st century skills are important, there is less agreement upon the ways that these skills can be conceptualized (Gutman & Schoon 2013). This paper reports on some results of the research project on 21st century skills that surveyed fifteen-year-old students in Hong Kong and was a part of the International Study of City Youth (ISCY) that examined education systems around the world through focusing on a number of cities worldwide. One of the intentions of ISCY was to measure 21st century skills that are critical for transitions to life beyond school. In 2013–2014, 5953 fifteen-year old students from 54 Hong Kong secondary schools took part in the ISCY baseline data collection. The results suggest some areas where Hong Kong students scored higher than other cities; and certain areas, including problem solving, where students scored somewhat lower than other ISCY cities. The paper formulates some suggestions on how to address 21st century skills to ensure harmonious and inclusive societies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


Pavlova, M., Lee, J. C.-K., & Maclean, R. (2016, April). Transition to life beyond school: What is the role of the 21st century skills?. Paper presented at the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong (CESHK) Annual Conference 2016: Learning to Live Together & Comparative Education, and Third Across-Strait Four Region Forum on Comparative Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, China.


  • 21st century skills
  • Inclusive societies
  • Comparative perspective


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