What should educators focus on?

Here’s part two from Sarah’s attendance at the ‘Making the connections global to local’ conference held at Moseley School and Sixth Form in Birmingham on Saturday 7th January 2017.

“It’s a world in which people need to decide how to trust and collaborate across differences.” – Andreas Schleicher, OECD Education Director

In the second half of the day we went on to talk about the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. In 2015 over half a million students, representing 28 million 15-year-olds in 72 countries and economies, took the internationally-agreed two-hour test. Students were assessed in science, mathematics, reading, collaborative problem-solving and financial literacy. In 2018, a new measurement of global skills is being considered, looking at how well pupils can navigate an increasingly diverse world, with an awareness of culture and beliefs.

The OECD’s education director Andreas Schleicher explains, “Education leaders around the world are increasingly talking about the need to teach ‘global competences’ as a way of addressing the challenges of globalisation. Educators have been struggling with how to prepare students for the culturally-diverse and digitally-connected communities in which they work and socialise. In the past, education was about teaching people something. Now, it is also about making sure that children develop a reliable compass, the navigation skills and the character qualities that will help them find their own way through an uncertain, volatile and ambiguous world. Schools need to prepare students for a world where many will need to collaborate with people of diverse cultural origins. They will need to appreciate different ideas, perspectives and values. It’s a world in which people need to decide how to trust and collaborate across differences. These objectives already feature in many countries’ curriculums. But nowhere do policymakers or educators have ready answers about how to embed global competence in schools and learning.”

It is clearly something that educators and policy-makers all over the world must focus on more, the question is how we support teachers and schools to do that within the framework that exists. DfID provided funding for the Global Learning Programme in 2010 and earmarked £21,061,988 for grants for schools – the funding for the programme stops on 30th June 2018, and there is still £6,320,165 left in the fund that schools have not taken advantage of. We also don’t know what, if anything, will replace this after June next year.