Over 1,000 of global Ashoka Fellows are focused on education and the development of young people.

The world of repetition - of mastering a task or trade and doing it over and over - has been replaced by one of rapid change. New rules, openness, and connectivity require different sets of skills. Ashoka believes that every young person should be given the opportunity to develop a skill-set that will allow them to unleash the full potential in themselves and be active in changing their world for the better - to be a changemaker.

Changemaker skills of empathy, creativity, leadership and teamwork are developed as a direct result of a person’s experience. It is evident that schools are the places in which we make our most systematic attempts to develop young people. However, our priorities in school - the ways in which we judge and assess young people - reveal limited and often limiting conceptions of achievement and intelligence.


The 21st Century learning Skills

21st century learning skills may be defined, categorised and determined differently from person to person, place to place or school to school. The following is an overview of the knowledge, skills, work habits and character traits associated with 21st century learning:

  • Civic, ethical, and social-justice literacy
  • Economic and financial literacy
  • Global awareness
  • Scientific reasoning
  • Environmental understanding
  • Health and wellness
  • ICT literacy
  • Critical thinking
  • Research skills and practices
  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Initiative
  • Public speaking
  • Cooperation

The teaching of these skills requires teaching styles and practices that create a student-centred, experiential, inquiry-based and cooperative learning environment.


Ashoka aims to catalyse changes throughout schools and the wider education system so that every young person is provided with an education experience that is explicitly designed to foster changemaker and 21st century learning skills.

To achieve this, we are selecting, supporting and disseminating the work of exceptional schools - schools that are providing pupils with opportunities to create and lead from a young age and to develop skills that unleash the full potential in themselves and in others.

In 2012, Ashoka launched the Changemaker Schools programme and has since selected and supported over 280 schools from across the US, Africa, Asia and Europe, with 15 in Ireland.