Driving the Skills Agenda: Preparing Students for the Future

This Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report, sponsored by Google, investigates the extent to which the skills taught in education systems around the world are changing, and whether they meet the needs of employers and society more widely. To shed light on these issues, the EIU convened an advisory board meeting of education experts and conducted four global surveys of senior business executives, teachers, and two groups of students, aged 11 to 17 and 18 to 25. Countries represented in the sample included Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Ghana, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, the UAE, the UK, and the US. Respondents to the business survey hailed from 19 sectors, with professional services, manufacturing, IT, financial services, and technology especially prominent in the sample.

Content Comments 

This paper meets its purpose, which is "to examine to what extent the skills taught in education systems around the world are changing," and it does so in a presentable format and with extensive visual supports. Its charts, tables, and case studies provide a valuable picture of what skills businesses value and how education is changing as students have increased access to technology and utilize it to support their learning. The report concludes by stating that "the traditional classroom, with a teacher at the front and the students in serried ranks, has had its day, as has rote learning as the core of education. Instead, interviewees are unanimous in emphasizing the importance of group discussion, giving students the opportunity to work things out for themselves, while also learning how to respond to the differing skills and opinions of their peers."