Category: Skills

How higher education is driving sustainable development

“None of the SDGs can be achieved in isolation: to truly deliver lasting change, collaboration between universities and partners around the world will be critical”

In an opening address to the Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers late last month, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta sounded a clarion call to government education ministers around the world.

They should, he said ‘be alarmed to note that, by 2050, Korea and Japan will be enrolling 80% or more of their high school graduates to higher education, while countries such as the Central African Republic and Niger will be struggling to reach 5%.’ This gap, he said, was a critical issue for the Commonwealth, whose 54 member states are home to one in three of the world’s young people.

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Why we must champion innovation and invention-based learning

“Providing students with the opportunity to step outside the comfort zone of a classroom and work on inventions with a trial-and-error approach encourages them to take risks”

Providing students with engaging opportunities to explore, discover and grow is something all educators aspire to achieve. Yet, this is often difficult when the majority of teaching is done in traditional classroom environments, says Aysha Al-Mudahka from Qatar Foundation.

For STEM learning in particular, it cannot be neglected. It is essential that schools equip the next generations with engaging experiences that teach practical STEM skills if we are to encourage and prepare students to pursue careers in science and engineering-led industries.

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2022 Trends: Are skills the new ‘currency’?

“Developing skills that take change head-on will determine who thrives in a new landscape”

The pandemic has flipped the script on what skills are ‘valuable’ in the workforce – and forced individuals to rethink how to invest in their ‘skills equity’. In this article, CEO of Learning Pool, Ben Betts, reveals why skills are now the ‘new currency’ and how data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning can unlock exciting new opportunities to scale upskilling in order to adapt to rapid change.

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More women in tech? Get behind apprenticeships

“Worryingly, STEM – and particularly technology – continue to lag behind many industries when it comes to female representation”

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”  When Kamala Harris spoke these words as US vice-president elect, she continued a very welcome trend that has seen an explosion in phenomenal female role models in every walk of life, writes Katie Nykanen, chief technology officer at QA Limited.

Women like Kamala are breaking glass ceilings across industries and inspiring young girls to ignore the limitations that many of us above the age of 40 would have repeatedly had reinforced throughout our childhoods.

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Revolutionising employability with edtech in Africa

“Underemployed graduates can master more skills, update their knowledge and improve their chances of getting a better job”

By 2030, the number of young people in the African labour force will increase to 375 million. According to the International Monetary Fund, population growth on the continent means that by 2035, there will be more young Africans entering the workforce each year than in the rest of the world combined.

Yet the African Development Bank has observed that only 3 million of the 12 million graduates produced by African universities find employment each year.

In Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, unemployment has increased to 33.3% in the 4th quarter 0f 2020. Despite producing huge number of graduates, African universities are churning out too many graduates who possess little or no mastery of skills necessary for today’s job market. Oladapo Soetan, founder of Ajuwaya Learn, explains how edtech could offer a solution.

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What could and should replace the IGCSE and GCSE?

“Students don’t currently have the soft skills needed to prepare them for the workplace”

It looks increasingly likely that a new system of post qualification offers from universities will replace the current system of offers being made before IB/BTEC and A Level results are announced.

This change inevitably raises the question about the value and current content of GCSEs and IGCSEs. If they are no longer needed to inform a university offer, are they still fit for purpose? Pat Moores of UK Education Guide looks at the options.

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Three takeaways from the Third International Strategy of Impact Conference

“With today’s mounting pressures on research funding… research practitioners in HE, government, and NGOs face a mounting challenge”

Research has a long tail. The vaccine for Polio — the devastating viral epidemic linked to thousands of cases of paralysation and death in the first half of the 20th century — was launched in 1955.

The impact is still being felt today (and forevermore): according to the World Health Organisation, more than 18 million people walk today who would have been paralysed without the vaccine. Yet, the initial exploratory research project that looked at the poliovirus started and finished decades ago.

It’s precisely this recognition of the long-tail effects of research that is driving an emerging conversation around the assessment of research activity both in the UK and globally.

With today’s mounting pressures on research funding, especially following the global credit crunch, research practitioners in higher education, government, and NGOs face a mounting challenge: how can they continue to expand the borders of intellectual discovery, while investing in research activities that lead to impact and achieve the desired mission?

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Do you speak English? It’s complicated.

“Identifying the gaps in language proficiency for each individual is only the beginning”

Kate Bell is co-author of the EF English Proficiency Index. In this blog, Bell examines how subtleties in employee proficiency affect the types and depth of language training that employers must provide.

From the outside, foreign language proficiency looks simple—either you speak a language or you don’t—but anyone who grew up receiving calls from grandparents abroad or who has worked for a few years in a foreign country knows that most people’s linguistic terrain is more of a swamp than a soccer field.

This is because our language skills develop over the course of decades as a result of inclination, exposure, education, and practice.

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How emotional intelligence improves cross-cultural classroom communication

“Emotional Intelligence covers five major areas and serves as a gateway to educational and career success”

Educators need keen emotional intelligence (EI) to manage the ups and downs of classroom life. Their ability to control and respond positively to their feelings enables them to act as role models for their students. This principle remains true even when cultural constructs throw up communication roadblocks.

International educators face barriers of both verbal and non-verbal language with their students. Exercising EI lets them check their immediate responses to external stimuli. It allows them to step back and consider the learner’s perspective and prevents them from making snap judgments.

This awareness gives them the requisite mental pause to reflect on the cultural influences on behaviour.

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Your ABCs are still the building blocks of a STEM powered future

“We must recognise the power of STEM learning and its potential to equip our children with the skills they will undoubtedly need in the future”

STEM is a real buzz word in the education sector at the moment and it seems to be its answer to everything.

Many educators and policymakers increasingly argue that more and more areas of education should focus on STEM, to future-proof our kids for a world that seems to be ever more technology-driven.

But what does STEM actually mean, and is it really the answer to everything?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These are the top-line subjects that make up the acronym, but a wide range of specific academic disciplines such as Chemistry, Astronomy, Statistics, Biology, Electrical Engineering and Psychology all fall under STEM.

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