School of the Future challenge

MASK Awards 2021

Media Partners Citizen TV and The Star

Open on 4 January 2021

Enter online by 1 April 2021

All entries are free

Enter if you are under the age of 25,

or a school (whether state or private)

and based in Africa.

Double-click here to add your own text.

School of the Future


The Brief

Old education systems teach students routine thinking to perform repetitive tasks. But in our rapidly changing world, where technology can perform repetitive tasks for us, such routine thinking does not solve problems, it only makes them worse. 

Today, we need creative thinking to improve the world. We need creative people who can generate new ideas to shape the future. To prepare students for the modern world, education must radically change. It needs to place creativity at the heart of all that it does.

So, can you imagine a new type of school? A school that will teach students the creative skills they need to build a better future?

In less than 1,000 words, describe your ideal ‘school of the future’. If you wish, add pictures and videos to help our judges visualise your school. 

Search your creative mind and experiment with possibilities. Do not hold back or criticise your ideas. Remember, with creative thinking there is no idea that is ‘too wild’, ‘absurd’, ‘impossible’ or ‘half-baked’.

Judging criteria

Your ideas will be judged on their creativity and innovation. That is - how original, new, inventive and groundbreaking they are.

The following questions can help you to think about your ideas. We have organised them into 5 sections to guide – but not limit – your curiosity and imagination. You do not need to answer all of the questions. Simply choose the one you like, or create your own! 


To design a school of the future, you first need to imagine what that future will look like. 

Imagine what jobs and professions might be needed in 20-50 years. What technology will we have? How might it impact the way we live and work, both positively and negatively? What problems might arise? 

Think of bigger things too. For example, how will the success of a person or a country be measured in your ideal future? Will it be measured by wealth, or maybe by how much new and positive technology and ideas it creates? Will humanity be obsessed with artificial intelligence, or perhaps it has decided to build something more meaningful? Will people be organised by governments, or inspired by self-organisation?

The only limit is your imagination.


In the future, entirely new jobs will exist.  

  • What subjects and skills should children starting school learn to be prepared for the future?

In the future anything can happen. 

  • Should schools prepare students for the future’s unknown and unexpected possibilities? How would they do that? And what might these unknown and unexpected possibilities be?


Practicing art is the best way to strengthen someone’s creativity. 

  • Are the arts (painting, dancing, performing, singing, graphic design, etc.) important in your school of the future?

  • How does creativity-education use the arts?

  • Other than the arts, what other learning activities can help young people to strengthen their creativity both in and outside of school, and why?


How should your future school be structured?

  • PLACE. Should it take place in a traditional school building? If so, what does this building look like? Will learning take place in the community instead? If so, how can it be organised?  Where else can learning take place? Perhaps you want to design and draw it? Your designs can be entered into the Arts Awards too…

  • ONLINE LEARNING. We all recently experienced studying from home due to COVID-19. How would you make e-learning more effective and fun? What would your best e-learning experience look like?

  • CLASSES. In your ideal school, will students still march from class to class? Will they still be grouped by age and seated in rows with a ringing bell to announce the end of the lesson, or will it be different? Should students be organised into temporary ‘task forces’ to work on particular projects? Will they go from teamwork to individual work and back?

  • TIME. Should learning be stretched over a lifetime so that people can update their skills and knowledge as and when they need? For example, students could combine part-time schooling with part-time work. Can this be more educational, and satisfying? Should there be a 4 day school week? A 3 day school week? Why?


Do teachers have a new role in your school of the future?

  • Who could our teachers be? What skills and qualities should they have?

  • Should parents be teachers? What about members of the business and science communities? How would this be organised?

  • How will teachers grade students? Is grading needed at all? Can students grade teachers?

  • Should teachers’ lectures be given in different ways? Will role-playing and interactive video-gaming be part of their lessons? What other new ways of teaching might they use?

If you have any questions about any of the above, please let us know and our team will be happy to help! 

Enter your solution now. Think differently. Imagine freely. Dream big. Be brave. Be bold. Push boundaries.

How to enter:


  1. Create your account, or login if you already have an account with MASK 
  2. Upload your ideas after 4 January 2021 and before 1 April 2021
  3. Winners will be informed and invited to Award Ceremony that will take place in Nairobi on 20 May 2021.

You can also enter the other challenges here:

The prizes

  • Winners will be awarded with paid internships at top companies (Unilever and Mabati Rolling Mills) in Nairobi and have an opportunity to shadow awe-inspiring leaders at these companies.

  • Best ideas will be listed in our Innovation Gallery to be seen around the world.

  • Winning ideas will be shared with the education policy community.

Creativity & Innovation for a Better Future

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