Members of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), a global initiative driving innovation and collaboration in education, have called for more collaboration between schools and the world of work for education systems across the world to improve in their task of preparing students for the workforce.
In a survey conducted by Gallup on the effectiveness of education systems around the world, members of the WISE community, while identifying gaps in how education systems are preparing students for work, also called for more emphasis on teacher quality.
The result of the survey, conducted ahead of this year’s summit, was released as the three-day event kicked off on Tuesday, November 3 in Doha, Qatar.
The 2015 WISE Education Survey, with the theme, “Connecting Education to the Real World,” is based on responses of members of the WISE global community from 149 countries. Respondents included teachers, students, recent graduates, education policy makers, and members of the private sector who are connected with WISE on education reform issues.
According to the survey, respondents were largely critical of the job education systems are doing, including the key task of preparing students for the workforce.
“Three-quarters of the diverse WISE community surveyed are dissatisfied with the overall education system in their countries. Only 34 per cent of respondents believe his or her country’s education system has improved in the past decade while 29 per cent say it has worsened,” the report stated.
The lack of integration with employers was identified as a key challenge in post-secondary education with less than half of those surveyed saying that the system is preparing university students for success in work.
In the same vein, lack of work or internship opportunities that prepare students for jobs was highlighted as a top challenge in post-secondary education by the majority of the respondents.
They expressed the belief that the best way to achieve better work readiness is through more collaboration between schools and employers, giving students ample opportunity to exercise the skills they learn in real-world classrooms.
Having also identified the quality of teachers at both primary and secondary levels as being below acceptable standard, a large majority of respondents recommended that the teaching profession is improved and strengthened. Specifically, about 59 per cent of the respondents said that teachers were not being treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.They also suggested the need to harness technology to supplement and support high-quality teachers.
Meanwhile, in addressing teacher quality, 78 per cent of WISE experts expressed the opinion that school systems in their countries would be better off if more funds were allocated to recruiting and retraining high quality teachers than on improving technology in schools.
However, this is not an indication that the respondents don’t value technology, as almost all the respondents yet agreed that technology-based solutions can improve education in disadvantaged areas.
By Olawunmi Ojo on November 5, 2015