Bridging the Global Skills Gap is based on a national poll with 753 teachers and builds on other Think Global research with businesses, pupils, parents and teachers.
It shows that two in three teachers (64%) worry that young people’s horizons are not broad enough to operate in a globalised and multicultural economy and society.
Business leaders are more concerned still, 93% say schools must help young people develop the ability to think globally and three-quarters say we risk being left behind by emerging economies.
Teachers (85%) say schools should prepare pupils for a fast changing and globalised world but just 16% say that the school system actually does this. That is a sharp drop from a 2009 poll when 58% responded positively to the same question.
Students (93%) want to learn about different parts of the world and how it may change. Yet they do not perceive the full value of global understanding, less than half (48%) think that an international outlook benefits their work prospects.
Other key findings include:
- Since 2009 a much lower proportion of teachers feel confident that their teaching helps pupils to understand that we live in an interdependent world (90% in 2009 dropping to 57% today.)
- Three-quarters of teachers agree that the current focus on ‘the basics’ is squeezing out opportunities to foster global capabilities in young people. Whilst teachers believe ‘the basics’ are important, the survey shows their belief that education should be broader than this.
- 45% of teachers rated global knowledge and awareness as very important, 42% rated exam results as very important. Employers are even more emphatic: a greater proportion (79%) say knowledge and awareness of the wider world is important than the numbers who say A-level results or subjects are important (68% and 63% respectively).
- Nine out of ten teachers (90%) believe it is important for schools to help young people increase their openness to cultures and perspectives of people from different places and backgrounds. Half say this is very important.
The research offers solutions for teachers wanting to improve their student’s prospects including, using focussed resources and harnessing the clear pupil enthusiasm that exists. The research shows that where teachers access dedicated, subject-specific resources relating to global learning, the number of teachers confident that the school system appropriately prepares pupils doubles.