This working paper describes some of the ideas underpinning NZCER’s Future-Focused Issues (FFI) project. There is a variety of ways to interpret what it means to take a “future focus” in education. This paper explains why the FFI project has focused primarily on concepts specifically mentioned in relation to “future focus” in The New Zealand Curriculum: sustainability, enterprise, globalisation and citizenship. It introduces the notion of “wicked problems”—challenges characteristic of the 21st century that intertwine future-focused issues—and what these may mean for society and education. Finally, it outlines what we have learned in our studies of education in relation to the FFIs.
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