Education beyond limits – embedding “global competence”

Comment by FELICIA JACKSON, Chair of the Learn2Think Foundation

The importance of good career leadership

Comment by

TRISTRAM HOOLEY, Director of Research at The Careers & Enterprise Company

The OECD’s PISA test, which assesses the quality of a nation’s education in terms of reading, maths and the sciences in 15-year olds, is for the first time going to test "global competence" in 2018.

The tests, run every three years by the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development, are among the most widely used measures for global education standards. There are lot of different education league tables (including PIRLS and TIMMS) but whether or not you believe in ranking educational quality in this way, they make things happen around them. Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's director of education, says that international promises about the right to "quality education for all" now have to mean more than the "foundation knowledge" of maths, reading and science, it also needs to be about "learning to live together". It certainly seems self-explanatory that tests of maths, reading and science are tested, as they are the most straightforward to test and measure. The introduction of criteria for ‘global competence’ takes the PISA tests into a new realm and is a challenge to intolerance and extremism. The OECD describes global competence as the capacity to examine local, global and intercultural issues, to understand and appreciate the perspectives and world views of others, to engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures, and to act for collective well- being and sustainable development.

Given Learn2Think’s work on developing Tolerance Day and its associated educational materials - addressing fake news, assessing knowledge and bias and religious tolerance - we are excited by this development and what it means for education.

One of the most challenging things will lie not simply in assessing just how ‘global competence’ will be measured, but also how it will be taught. Learn2Think has been planning a pilot project for 2018 which we believe will provide curriculum-based materials that provide support for embedding global competence in every primary school.

The programme has largely been developed from work undertaken with schools over the last couple of years. The materials for the new pilot project have been developed with a team of teachers, researchers, psychologists and academics.

We are interested in discovering the extent to which the practice of critical thinking and empathy building within the existing curriculum can impact children’s bias and understanding of perspective. The idea is to introduce questioning approaches within the existing curriculum, encouraging independent thinking and assessment, without adding further burdens to teachers.

The pilot will provide a programme structure, sample lesson plans, workshops and projects, as well as training to help teachers create lesson plans embedded with the values of the Questioning Curriculum. We are focused on the transition ages of 9 to 12 as this seems to be when prejudice and other-isation are seen to develop, and we hope to show how this can build a platform for future development.

If you or your school are interested in taking part, either in initial programme focus groups or the full year pilot project, please do get in touch by calling 07958 923 182.

January 2018

The government’s careers strategy, published in December 2017, provides a welcome focus on careers leadership. At a time when the world of work is rapidly changing, and many young people feel overwhelmed by the choices in front of them, it is vital that we open their eyes to all career opportunities, whilst providing them with the right support and guidance. It is more important than ever to ensure that there is good careers leadership in schools and colleges.

Given the right career opportunities, research shows that young adults who have had greater levels of contact with employers whilst at school are significantly less likely to become NEET. They can also expect, when in full-time employment, to earn up to 18% more than peers who had no such workplace exposure. The government’s new strategy adopts all of The Gatsby Benchmarks, widely recognised as the hallmark of best practice in careers and enterprise provision. The Gatsby Charitable Foundation has been trialing these benchmarks with schools and colleges in the North East. Their pilot has shown that they can transform provision within institutions, but also make the whole system work better, strengthening links between schools and colleges and the education system and employers. At The Careers & Enterprise Company we are delighted to have been asked to play an expanded role, operating as the backbone organisation to coordinate efforts across these benchmarks.

A key recommendation of the new strategy is the requirement for schools to identify a designated ‘Career Leader’ who can champion and deliver high quality careers provision for their pupils. Gatsby, Teach First and the Careers Development Institute identify that Career Leaders are critical if schools and colleges are going to successfully deliver good careers support for their students.

At The Careers & Enterprise Company we have also been emphasising the importance of careers leadership since our State of the Nation* research showed the challenges still faced by most schools to deliver good career guidance. Last year we conducted further research with 27 schools that already have a careers leader in place. This showed that effective careers leaders are involved in leadership and management, in coordinating staff within the school and in networking with employers and other stakeholders beyond the school. We will be working with Gatsby, with school leaders and with key stakeholders from education and employment to build on this research and further clarify the Career Leader’s role.

We believe that the ideas set out in the careers strategy can make a real difference to the careers of young people as they face a world full of new challenges ranging from Brexit to the impact of automation. If we can build a partnership between education, employers, government and the careers sector, and provide strong careers leadership, we can help the next generation meet these challenges and improve social mobility.

* the-nation-2017 25

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