Susan Robertson is Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Cambridge, UK. Susan’s academic career has included holding posts in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Her longstanding interests have been with transformations of the state and education policy, the relationship between knowledge and power, teachers’ labour and social justice. She is founding co-editor of the Routledge journal Globalisation, Societies and Education. Her recent book publications include Global Regionalisms and Higher Education, and Public Private Partnerships in Education.
Education systems around the globe are being challenged to develop globally competent learners in schools so as to help realise the Sustainable Development Goals set by the world community. In this keynote Susan considers the global competence framework being developed by the OECD, outlines the nature of the challenges for students, teachers and education systems, and reflects on what research evidence and agendas there might be to deliver on this. The Professor suggests that there are tensions in the approach, not so much because of the specific knowledges and skills that are identified, but because the tool itself – as an instrument of ordinality – acts in ways that are contrary to the overall goal. Susan Robertson concludes by suggesting that how we govern matters as much as what knowledges and skills we prioritise as educators.