The Worldwide Educating for the Future Index is the first comprehensive global index to evaluate inputs to education systems rather than outputs such as test scores, and concentrates on the 15-24 age band. It was created by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and commissioned by the Yidan Prize Foundation, along with in-depth interviews with 17 global experts.
It differs from indices like the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) index that focuses on comparing students’ test results in reading, maths and science.
Instead, this index was built to measure the extent to which education systems are adapting to meet the changing needs of our world. Ageing populations, intensifying urbanization and advancing technologies will all have an impact on the skills learners need for the future workplace.
The question is: which country is adapting the best to these changing factors?
The answer: New Zealand. The Worldwide Educating for the Future Index looked at the educational policies, teaching environments and socio-economic backdrops of 35 economies, to see which countries were succeeding at arming their students with a relevant future-focussed education.
New Zealand was followed by Canada and Finland. The United Kingdom was in sixth place, Australia in eighth and USA in 12th. China, a country that often comes out on top in the PISA index, ranked 31st.
The study outlined that New Zealand’s success were based on two main areas.
“Firstly, New Zealand views educating for future skills as a broadly-agreed strategic imperative: it is a small and remote country, with the vigilance that comes with knowing that it has little choice but to be globally competitive.
“Secondly, it has a systematic government-led approach to making its education system fit for purpose, across technology, teaching, curriculum and collaboration with industry.”
“New Zealand … is working hard to match its education system with the needs of industry and businesses by embracing the opportunities of digital technology and encouraging collaboration between schools,” it states on a You Tube clip about the index.
The Ministry of Education’s introduction of Communities of Learning and new digital technologies curriculum have played a part in the New Zealand education system’s success in these areas.
Education Minister Nikki Kaye is delighted with New Zealand taking the top spot in the index.
“The fact we have been recognised as being world leading when it comes to preparing our students for the future is great news for all of us. It means the next generation of young New Zealanders will be world leaders in areas such as problem solving, digital technology and critical thinking,” says Kaye.
“So many people from Government to principals, teachers, parents and industry leaders have worked so hard to ensure we have an education system fit for the future. This research validates that we’re not only heading in the right direction but that we’re setting the direction for the rest of the world to follow.”