Journal of East China Normal University(Educationa ›› 2016, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (3): 29-37.doi: 10.16382/j.cnki.1000-5560.2016.03.004

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Analysis of 21st Century Competencies and Frameworks

1SHI Man;2,3LIU Cheng;4LIU Xia;5 ZHOU Pingyan;3 Chris Tan;3、5LIU Jian;6、3 WEI Rui   

  1. 1. School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Beijing Normal University;2. College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University;3. China Education Innovation Institute, Beijing Normal University;4. Psychology School, Beijing Normal University;5. China Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment toward Basic Education Quality,Beijing Normal University;6. College of Chemistry, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Online:2016-08-20 Published:2016-07-26
  • Contact: 1SHI Man;2,3LIU Cheng;4LIU Xia;5 ZHOU Pingyan;3 Chris Tan;3、5LIU Jian;6、3 WEI Rui
  • About author:1SHI Man;2,3LIU Cheng;4LIU Xia;5 ZHOU Pingyan;3 Chris Tan;3、5LIU Jian;6、3 WEI Rui


Due to the overlap in their educational goals, international organizations and economies possess both similarities and differences in the selection and framework construction of 21st Century Competencies. This article first presents different frameworks for 21st Century Competencies. For instance, the framework of OECD aims to help its citizens live a successful life and develop wellfunctioning societies; the EU framework is to sharpen citizens’ learning skills and promote lifelong learning; and the US P21 framework is to cultivate creativity and entrepreneurship with a focus on the needs of job market. Frameworks of some Asian economies like Singapore, and Mainland China, emphasize core values and sense of responsibility. Still there are other frameworks focusing on enriching citizens’ daily life and improving the quality of their leisure time, such as Russia’s framework. Then it identifies 18 competencies from 29 frameworks, which are categorized into two groups: subjectspecific and general competencies. Next, the authors offer a comparative analysis of how much attention are paid to the 18 competencies in different frameworks, especially the discrepancy in competency selection between highincome, middleand lowerincome economies. Findings show that competency frameworks are characterized by inclusiveness, comprehensiveness and diversity. Seven competencies have gained attention from most organizations and economies, including competencies of communication and collaboration, information, creativity and problem solving, selfperception and selfcontrol, critical thinking, learning skills and lifelong learning, civic responsibility and social participation. However, competencies like environment, finance, life planning and wellbeing and leadership, which are considered important in future education development, are not incorporated in many frameworks. Moreover, most economies have incorporated competencies like language, mathematics, humanities, sports and health, critical thinking, communication and collaboration, civic responsibility and social participation. Highincome economies pay special attention to several competencies, such as information literacy, creativity and problem solving, crosscultural competence, especially selfperception and selfcontrol. Competencies like science and technology, art, environment, especially learning skills and lifelong learning, have become the focus of the middle and lowerincome groups. In conclusion, based on the analysis above, the article makes some policy suggestions regarding the development of 21st Century Competencies frameworks. Competencies should be developed in line with the times, global trends, regional demands, and local educational goals. The concept of competencies should be precisely interpreted and a systematic network within competencies should also be established. The framework and education practice of 21st century competencies should focus on lifelong learning. In particular, it’s important to pursue some eternal competencies facing the future.

Key words: 21st Century Competencies, competency frameworks, degrees of attention, income level