I recently reviewed an excellent survey on global learning conducted by Pearson. Reading it reminds me of a phrase many people used two decades ago of “thinking globally and acting locally.” That is still good advice. Often were are so busy with our day-to-day jobs we fail to step back and think about the long term trends. Plus, we Americans are a bit self-centered and believe we have all the answers and, of course, the best education system. Download and review the Global Learner Study.
It is easy to review the highlights, which will provide you with thought-provoking quotes and also affirm the importance of CTE in a changing world. That is if CTE continues to adapt to meet the changing skills and workforce trends. The report cautions us that the U.S. clings to traditions and it could be out of step in the rapidly changing education landscape.
The study, conducted by Harris poll, sampled 1000 people of different ages in eleven major countries around the world. The following are the key trends that are not new but good reminders of how education is changing.
- A DIY mindset is reshaping education.
- The 40-year career is gone, replaced by life-long learning and diverse career paths.
- People expect digital and virtual learning to be the new normal in the next decade.
- Confidence in educational institutions is wavering.
- Some young workers think you can do OK in life without a college degree.
- Markets like China and India are leading the world in upskilling while the U.S. and U.K. lag.
- Learners believe soft skills will give them an advantage over automation.
- People now cite social media and bullying as contributing factors to school safety concerns.
Data emphasizes the importance of CTE and raises questions about the quest in “college for all.” Among the U.S., Canada, and Europe respondents, over 40 percent reply that higher education did not prepare them for their current careers. When asked in hindsight if college graduates would still go to college, fully 39% would choose another path to get vocational skills or go directly to the workforce. Half of Generation Z in the U.S., U.K., and Australia says you can do OK in life without a degree. While many still value higher education, 68% of people globally agree that a degree or certificate from a vocational college or trade school is more likely to result in an excellent job with career prospects than a university degree. Finally, globally, 78% of people think they need to develop their soft skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
The themes which come from this survey make clear that formal institutions need to become more flexible in adapting to technology. Schools and colleges need to take an active role in helping the entire population raise the skill levels to enable workers to adapt to a rapidly changing world. One quote which sums this up for me is, “What you learn tomorrow is more important than what you have learned in the past.”