A New Blueprint for 21st Century Education

The Waterloo Global Science Initiative has released the Equinox Blueprint: Learning 2030, a vision for redesigning high school education to best prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

At the World Literacy Summit in Oxford this week, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) released its Equinox Blueprint: Learning 2030, a comprehensive document of findings and recommendations for rebooting high school education for the future.

WGSI is a non-profit partnership between Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo, created to promote dialogue around complex global issues and advance strategies for a sustainable future.

The newly released Blueprint is the result of the Equinox Summit, which brought more than 40 education innovators from around the world to Perimeter Institute for a week-long forum in the summer of 2013.

The findings and recomendations of the Blueprint, says Summit curator Dr. Michael Brooks, are intended to spark innovative, practical reforms to education that best prepare the children being born now, who will be graduating high school by 2030, to be productive and successful in their postsecondary lives.

“We need the kind of change that can work anywhere for anyone, regardless of their resources,” said Brooks. “We can impact the well-being of a generation with changes that are well-defined, affordable, and implementable. But we need to begin this work now.”

The 2013 Summit was the second such biennial gathering hosted by WGSI, following 2011’s inaugural Equinox Summit: Energy 2030, which explored how cutting-edge science and technology can contribute toward a more sustainable energy future.

The latest summit shifted focus to the intellectual energy that will power the future, and ways to ensure this precious resource is nourished and tapped to its peak potential.

The heart of the new Blueprint is a student-centred vision, thanks to the input of many contributors between the ages of 18 and 30, such as American education activist Nikhil Goyal, Thiel Fellows, Chris Olah and Noor Siddiqui, and Sam Levin, founder of the Independent Project.

The Blueprint focuses on seven goals, each of which is further supported with case studies and research:

  • Developing lifelong learners with a clear sense of self
  • Cross-disciplinary and collaborative projects that connect students with their interests and community
  • Fluid groupings of students dictated by of-the-moment academic and social needs
  • Teachers who co-create and curate the learning of their colleagues and students
  • Ongoing, iterative assessment of learning
  • Learners, teachers, caregivers, and government all at the decision-making table
  • Risk-taking students and teachers who are empowered to experiment with their education

In order to “unfreeze” these priorities, students from the Master of Digital Experience Innovation program at the University of Waterloo designed an interactive website, learning2030.org. On this platform, education communities around the world can share their stories and plans for change, discuss common issues, and support one another in the ongoing process of transforming high school education.

The Equinox Blueprint can be downloaded at wgsi.org.



Further Exploration

About Perimeter Institute

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement. 


For more information, contact:

Director of Communications & Media
519-569-7600 x4474

“We need the kind of change that can work anywhere for anyone, regardless of their resources.”


– Dr. Michael Brooks, WGSI Summit Curator