Questioning Education

Questioning Education

“Effective education about the issues that affect us all is crucial to achieving a greater awareness of the world we share… I want to see the teaching of global issues given more weight in our schools and colleges… For it is only through education that we will foster citizens with the conviction to speak out against world poverty, that we will find the creativity we need to tackle climate change and that we will produce the next generation of social entrepreneurs.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, June 2008

Today’s young people face a global future with some major issues such as world poverty, climate change and racial and religious tensions. We can all agree that every child should have a ‘world class education’ but a central question is whether this education is preparing them for the world:

  • Parents fear that the school system does not give their children a wide enough set of skills for life.
  • Employers argue that they need people with a wider set of skills and worry about too many employees having a ‘little England’ mentality who cannot work well in a global marketplace or interact with consumers from a wide range of backgrounds.
  • Teachers report that their creativity is stifled. This affects their ability to make connections between children’s own experiences and the wider world.
  • DEA’s new research shows that young people themselves want to learn about global issues, and that schools are not currently meeting this demand.

Drawing on newly commissioned global learning research for DEA by Ipsos MORI, this discussion paper considers what can be done to ensure that global learning is embedded in all schools. Asking a set of key questions, it provokes discussion and provides analysis and ideas as to how education policy should change so that young people are properly prepared for their global future and able to thrive in the world they will inherit.