Details (English)

1. Overview

The Innovative Schools Network (ISN) 2030 is a successor educational project of the OECD Tohoku School.[1] It applies “active learning” in the global context, including project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, challenge learning, etc. as its framework. Participating students, mainly high school students aged between 15 and 18 (but not limited to), will seek to tackle challenges in their community and region, which are anticipated to grow bigger towards 2030, and collaborate with their peers from other countries, who are aiming to solve similar challenges in their locality.

In the course of finding solutions to such challenges, students and teachers will work with OECD data and involve local stakeholders, such as the local prefecture, university, private companies, foundations, NGOs etc. Having open networking and collaboration with different stakeholders outside of school is thought to be an important pre-condition to generate innovation. The process is also believed to foster 21st century skills, such as collaborative problem solving, resilience, creativity, critical thinking, leadership and global competencies among both students and teachers. The project aims to develop creative community models by leveraging the power of students and their fresh creative and innovative minds.

The activities and progress of the ISN2030 are monitored and reported by local researchers. The collected data will then be analysed by a selected team of international researchers to develop new educational models and policy suggestions from the field with respect to: e.g. curriculums, pedagogies, student assessment and teacher training to foster 21st century skills.

The ISN2030 is coordinated by a public-private consortium based at the University of Tokyo. The ISN2030 is a part of the OECD/Japan Joint Research Project, supported by the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT), who participates in the OECD’s Education 2030 project. The OECD Education 2030 aims to help countries explore the different dimensions of knowledge, skills and behavior which modern education systems need to build towards the world in 2030 and, in a later stage, the learning environments and education systems that can support the development of these skills.


2. Scheme of the ISN2030

Each participating country to the ISN2030 will organize a “unit”, consisting of a school (at the center) and its local partners (e.g. universities, NGOs, private companies and local government). The units working on the same thematic challenge are defined as a “cluster”.

There are three thematic challenges in ISN2030.

  1. Think Green: Environmental issues, green growth, green energy, etc.
  2. Skills supply & demand: creating new jobs, innovating local industries, managing growing inequality, ageing, depopulation in rural areas, etc.
  3. Go Global: diversity, migration, globalization

Each unit shall decide on the theme for their “active learning” project and adapt the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle with the student-centred approach in the educational context, i.e. (i) students will design an action plan to address the thematic challenge, collaborating with the local partners, (ii) act on the plan, (iii) reflect on their plans and actions, and (iv) improve their plans and actions.

During the process, schools in a cluster will exchange on their respective action plans and the implementation thereof and provide each other with critical feedback. At the end of the project in the summer of 2017, the outcomes from each cluster’s work will be presented at an international conference in Japan.

The “active learning” project in each unit can be run as a school curricular activity or as an extra-curricular activity.

Innovative School picture

In Japan, Tohoku, Hiroshima, Wakayama, Fukui, and Kosen plan to participate in the project as a unit.[2]


3. Time Plan

The following table shows the anticipated time frame of the whole project. The detailed time plan shall be created in each cluster and unit.




Preparatory Phase (setting up units and clusters, training of national coordinators etc.)
Summer/Autumn 2015: Project Launch. Each school conducts research and discussion about the selected thematic challenges in each region
Start video conferences among schools in each cluster to get to know each other and present their cities/regions including challenges they tackle
Each school creates the first draft action plan (including fundraising plan) to tackle selected challenges collaborating with the local partners (NGOs, private companies and local government etc.)
Continue video conferences among schools in each cluster to provide critical feedbacks each other on the created action plans and fundraising plans
2016 Each school starts implementing the created action plans
Summer 2016: Mid-Term-Conference: Conduct a video conference among schools in each cluster to exchange experiences and lessons learned from the implementation of the created action plans. This could be a meeting in person in one of the countries in each cluster if the budget allows. The detailed plan including the venue shall be discussed and agreed in each cluster.
Each school revises their action plans if necessary. Each school further implements their created or revised action plans.Continue video conferences among schools in each cluster to exchange experiences and provide feedback each other
2017 Finalize the implementation of the action plans and present findings and outcomes to respective stakeholders
Prepare the trip to Japan


4. Expectations for participating units

We expect that each participating unit will

  • Identify participating school(s), students, and teachers.
  • Prepare the necessary environment for students to work on the project such as communication tools to interact with their partnering schools/units
  • Assign a national coordinator[4] as a contact person from other units and Consortium.
  • Assign a pedagogical leader(s) and a local researcher(s).[5]
  • Secure public-private cooperation (i.e. local business, NGOs, etc.)
  • Provide a monthly report to the Consortium
  • Participate in national coordinators’ meeting(s) (once a month, through skype, language in English )
  • Provide research data from the INS2030 project as per discussed and agreed in advance

Please also note that all the cost associated with the ISN2030 project shall be covered by each unit. These will include: personnel expenses for securing a national coordinator, a pedagogical leader, and a local researcher and costs for communication and travelling.


5. Contacts

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Tamaki OTA, Japan Innovative Schools Network supported by OECD

Contact page


(6. footnote)

[1] OECD Tohoku School HP:

[2] Most of participating regions and schools in Japan are located in small cities or villages in rural areas.

[3] As a part of “active learning” process, it is recommend that students (and teachers) work on fundraising for covering their own travelling costs to Japan.

[4] The national coordinator will play a key role in the process and should be somebody with solid communication, analytical and project management skills. The person can be from the ministry, regional government, university, NGO or school. This could either be a person charged exclusively with coordinating this project or it could be a shared task between, for example, a regional government official and a school teacher. This is up to the country/cluster/unit to arrange.

[5] These roles can be filled by the same person or two persons can take the roles separately. The pedagogical leader should be able to give advice on how the global project based learning should be implemented, drawing on the various international research findings to promote evidence-based practices. The local researcher should be able to ensure collecting data and information from the participating school unit, which will be used for analysis for international comparison.