Examining the Future

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It’s not often that news of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales reaches my redoubt in England, but today I learn that the Commissioner is proposing scrappage of GCSEs. Which doesn’t seem quite what I thought was anticipated when the role was set up.

My impression, and recollection of how intergenerational ethics and long-termism were talked about in policy circles at the time, was that it’s the sort of role that’s meant to bring to administrative and legislative attention what might otherwise be easily overlooked: the interests of future generations that otherwise lack formal political representation. The education of 14-16-year-olds obviously involves future generations, but that’s the point: it is obvious. You can't overlook future generations when educating future generations. So I should have thought this was precisely where the Commissioner’s office was least needed.

From a comparison of the news article and the Commissioner’s Web pages, I think this is motivated by questions about how to prepare for future job markets potentially transformed by tech. Which is a good thing to be thinking about for educationalists and economic forecasters, but doesn’t obviously gain from being framed as an intergenerational question, especially if the changes come fast enough to affect people who already left school.

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