The skills needed for success have changed more dramatically than ever before in the last decade. While in Europe this subject is often reserved for specialists, elsewhere in the world thousands of schools have already adapted their models to teach these new skills. Without a thorough overhaul of the concept of key skills, French and European economies risk a crisis.

The hidden core of the system

Our societies have undergone profound changes due to the following: Instant and unlimited access to information, the rise of social networking, and the progressive elimination of repetitive daily tasks. Intrinsically linked, they have not only shaken up our lifestyles but also our ability to remain professionally competitive.

There is a staggering gap in uptake: Only 1 in 10,000 French people have heard of the idea of 21st century skills, compared to 1 in 10 Americans.

For almost 15 years, the English-speaking scientific community has been interested in the transformation of work and organization methods; specifically, their impact on the skills ensuring optimal professional performance. The requisite skills for success are not the same as they once were.

In the professional world, there has been a shift away from the “routine” skills necessary in the 1970s and 80s, towards interpersonal and analytical skills. These are what we call 21st century skills.