Please see recent education-related change below.
- Mounting insecurity and violence across Central and West Africa have caused 9,272 schools to close across the region in 2018 and 2019, according to a UNICEF report. That's three times the number that had closed at the end of 2017.
- Africa's population boom and rising living standards are putting pressure on the continent's higher education systems. African universities currently feature 50% more students per professor than the global average, even as rising enrollment rates still rank last among the world's regions.
- What tools should we be arming today’s children with so they stand a chance of surviving the world or work in one or two decades from now? “Many pedagogical experts argue that schools should switch to teaching ‘the four Cs’ – critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity,” Yuval Noah Harari wrote in his new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. In a chapter entitled Education: Change is the only constant, Harari continued: “More broadly, schools should downplay technical skills and emphasise general-purpose life skills. Most important of all will be the ability to deal with change, to learn new things and to preserve your mental balance in unfamiliar situations.”
- It doesn’t matter where you go to university. Despite the college admissions scandal, the prestige of a school has little relationship to future success.
- Starting in 2019, undergraduate students at the National University of Singapore had the option to design their own course modules. Interested students needed to organise themselves into groups of at least 10 and submit a proposal. Upon approval, they could then invite industry experts as guest tutors, or select courses from online platform edX. A faculty mentor would then be assigned to guide them. The university aimed to allow students greater ownership over their learning journey, and the ability to pursue topics not currently offered by the university, from blockchain technology to sustainability and climate change to photography.
- The global share of children who do not attend primary school has fallen from 28% in 1970 to 9% in 2016. But progress is stalling, and is less impressive than it appears, warned The Economist. The share of children not attending school has fallen by less than one percentage point since 2007. Some 63m children of the relevant age do not go to primary school; another 200m do not attend secondary school.
- Literacy rates have been steadily climbing for decades now, and though it seems incremental, even a fraction of a percentage point can make a huge difference. Considering there are some 5.5 billion adults alive today, the 0.23 percentage-point increase from 2015 to 2016 (the last year for which data are available) means about 11.5 million more people can read, according to Quartz.
- Kenya will start teaching Chinese to elementary school students. The move further deepens China’s influence in the country, where it has invested billions in infrastructure and cultural projects, noted Quartz.
- Academics are only just beginning to understand the misfortunes of working-age Americans without a college degree. New evidence suggests that in the past 50 years, the earnings of this group have scarcely risen in real terms—and for men they have fallen. Such Americans are far more likely to live in rural areas, since the collapse of the urban wage premium means they no longer earn more in a city. And technological progress could make things worse.
- Raconteur asked what skills we should be teaching children in schools, in 2032, or 2042, and beyond. What tools should we be arming today’s children with so they stand a chance of surviving the world or work in one or two decades from now? Many pedagogical experts argue that schools should switch to teaching ‘the four Cs’ – critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Yuval Noah Harari wrote in his new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, in a chapter entitled Education: Change is the only constant, Professor Harari continues: “More broadly, schools should downplay technical skills and emphasise general-purpose life skills. Most important of all will be the ability to deal with change, to learn new things and to preserve your mental balance in unfamiliar situations.”
- The global gender gap in education continues to close. The latest data showed that, in 2016, there were 99.7 girls enrolled in primary and secondary school for every 100 boys. For comparison, in 1986 that number was 85.1.
- In Essential education: future jobs must be taught with tech, Raconteur argued that the applications of technology in classrooms can add great value, but leave room for the human interactions of skilled teachers. Many education stakeholders are calling for a shake-up of organisation and curriculum to meet 21st-century needs. In a recent Australian Future of Education survey, undertaken by Real Insurance, 42 per cent of respondents said the current school curriculum is inadequate, 23.2 per cent said basic literacy is lacking and 30 per cent are not confident children are being prepared for future jobs.
- Online courses have been around for years, but often suffered by association with the kind of learning that gave education a bad name, poorly developed distance learning courses, heir to the dubious correspondence course of the early-20th century. But, noted Raconteur, recent MOOCs (massive open online courses) are a different kind of fish altogether, developed by world-class academics working at institutions, such as Harvard and Oxford, that need no introduction. These are courses that offer academic rigour combined with real-life experience.
- Raconteur further added that if recent headlines are to be believed, robots are already taking over our schools, relegating “Sir” or “Miss” to the status of a second-rate computer dumped at the back of the class. Yet to many experts, the real value of artificial intelligence (AI) to education may be far more humdrum as a back-of-house tool to free up time for human teachers to build students’ social skills, resilience, appetite for learning and character.
- IMF president Christine Lagarde noted that, given what we know about the future of work, how can anybody thrive in the modern economy without at least a secondary education? As H.G. Wells put it, “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” According to UNESCO, world poverty would be cut in half if all people completed secondary education.
- Dispelling fears that Brexit would have somewhat dampened its appeal, London was ranked as the world's best city for university students in 2018.
- A new UNHCR report tells the stories of some of the world’s 7.4 million refugee children of school age under UNHCR’s mandate. In addition, it looks at the educational aspirations of refugee youth eager to continue learning after secondary education, and highlights the need for strong partnerships in order to break down the barriers to education for millions of refugee children.
- Further reading:
One of the most obvious but striking things about a modern education is that you go through it only once, noted The School of Life. You show up every day for a number of years, get filled up with knowledge and then, once you’re twenty-one or so, you stop - and begin the rest of your life. However, before modern education took off, the mightiest educational systems in the world were religions. It was religions that taught us about ethics, purpose and the meaning of life. And one of the interesting aspects of their pedagogy was that they were obsessed with repetition. For them, it was absurd to imagine ever learning anything if you went through it only once.
- If the move to digital learning continues, children will spend much, if not most, of their waking hours in front of screens, warned Aeon. They will use apps before they go to school, spend their days in front of computers, do their homework online, and then entertain themselves with digital media. Children are losing opportunities to experience the world in all its richness. Screens drain the vitality from many educational experiences that could be better done in the flesh.
- Basketball star LeBron James’ foundation partnered with the public school system in his hometown in Ohio, US to open the I Promise School, a public elementary school. The new school is intended to serve under-privileged children who are falling behind in educational attainment. In the US at least, Trend Watching sees this as a sign of brands increasingly solving shared problems and stepping into the gaps left by government.
- Our World in Data made a new set of presentation slides on education. It covers many aspects – schooling, learning, teaching, governance and much more. The slide decks comprise over 100 charts highlighting what the world has achieved and the policy challenges that lie ahead.
- Part 1: Population growth and pressure on global education systems
- Part 2: Progress in the expansion of schooling
- Part 3: Challenges in education quality and learning outcomes
- Part 4: Characterisitcs and behavior of teachers around the world
- Part 5: Corruption and accountability challenges in education systems
- Part 6: Cross-country correlations between education and other social outcomes
- Part 7: Missing data and statistics on education
- The RSA explored the plight of the thousands of children living in destitution in the UK who do not appear in school poverty statistics because their families, owing to their immigration status, cannot access public funds such as housing benefit and child support. Local authorities, schools and third sector organisations are picking up the pieces left behind by national immigration policies.
- Further reading:
Quartz noted that research has shown that students with highly effective teachers (those in the 90th percentile) learn 1.5 years’ worth of material in a year, while students with teachers in the 10th percentile learn just half a year’s worth of material in the same period. “No other attribute of schools comes close to having this much influence on student achievement,” an economist at Stanford University, told the Economist.
The students who stand to benefit the most from the most effective teachers are those in disadvantaged schools, continued Quartz. But a new report from the OECD finds that in many countries, including France, the Netherlands and the US, just the opposite is happening: Disadvantaged schools have less qualified or less experienced teachers, compared to advantaged schools. Instead, many of these countries attempt to address inequity by creating smaller classes or lower student-teacher ratios for worse-off schools.
- US Ivy League schools are highly selective and extremely hard to get into. But the good news is that all these universities now offer free online courses across multiple online course platforms.So far, they’ve created over 430 courses, of which around 344 are still active.
- Meanwhile, a commercial site offs students the chance to pay to "learn from the world’s greatest minds in just 10 minutes a day". Classes are divided into digestible lessons accessible on any device at anytime.
- Automation could displace between 400 million and 800 million workers globally by 2030 if we do not retrain them or change our education systems to prioritise lifelong learning, warned Shaping Tomorrow, whose robot, Athena found the following new education-related headlines (and many more).
- The collection and analysis of more personal information from schoolchildren will be a defining feature of education in coming years.
- European businesses, governments, and universities will need to substantially strengthen and renew their efforts in support of research, innovation, and education if they hope to maintain their narrow edge over agile Chinese competitors.
- 65 percent of all jobs will require some education or training beyond high school by 2020.
- By 2020, two-thirds of all US jobs will require education beyond high school.
- Automation could displace between 400 million and 800 million workers globally by 2030, if we do not retrain them or change our education systems to prioritize lifelong learning.
- In Africa and parts of Asia there is a huge demographic dividend due to a burgeoning youth market and this market offers opportunities to established higher education institutions with international strategies.
- Higher education participation rates will continue to rise, particularly in emerging and developing countries: By 2040, most countries will have a participation rate that will exceed 60%: demand for previously unmet domestic higher education will be met for countries such as China, India and Brazil.
- The projected rate of growth to the year 2040 in the number of internationally mobile students enrolled in higher education could be anywhere from 9.1 million to 12.3 million to 15.7 million.
- All this raises such questions as: Can China lead global higher education? Is the global push on education succeeding? What role should an emerging economy company play in general training and education, and in building the workforce you need?
- The US is very poorly prepared for an automation wave due to the structure of its education, suggests a new report. The main reason is the emphasis on long-college degrees rather than apprentice-oriented on-the-job training found in some European countries. This latter (closer to the push-and-pull of the market) may be more adaptable to employer needs.
- Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators claims to be the authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. With more than 125 charts and 145 tables included in the publication and much more data available on the educational database, Education at a Glance 2017 provides key information on the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; the financial and human resources invested in education; access, participation and progression in education; and the learning environment and organisation of schools.
- There appears to be a growing consensus that mainstream education practices may not be fit for purpose to meet future global challenges, and that a wide range of alternatives should be explored. A noteworthy recent such example is Ken Robinson's now famous TED talk, on how to escape education's "death valley".
- Claiming that learning for all is the right goal for education worldwide, the World Bank asked for public partners as it helps developing countries invest early and smartly in learning.
- Educational Attainment Worldwide on the Rise found that people all over the world are completing more years of schooling than ever before.
- Globally, more than 61% of individuals 15 or older - just over 3 billion people - finished at least some secondary school education during their lifetimes as of 2010, up from 36% in 1970 and from 50% in 1990.