For years they told us we were getting a world-class education. Turns out they were right.
New Zealand schools, and teachers, are rated the world’s best at preparing students for the future. That’s right, number one.
The Worldwide Educating for the Future Index was prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit for China’s Yidan Prize Foundation by the Economist and published in early September 2017.
The new index looks at how effective countries are in equipping school and tertiary students (15-24) with the skills needed in future labour markets. In effect, the index measures how ‘effective’ an education system is. NZ is on top, from Canada, Finland, Switzerland and Singapore. The UK is sixth overall, while the US is 12th.
All up the Economist report looked at 35 different economies which in all covered three-quarters of the world’s population. The report tried to judge how students are being readied to master “interpersonal, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and navigate an increasingly digital and automated world”. That’s a lot to master.
Here’s the good part: the future skills our teachers are delivering are right on the money the report outlines. Plus, the authors say, our government is spending at a good level, our teachers are well trained, we have good career counseling services, we’re a diverse and open country and there is a strong link between tertiary education and industry here. We’re winners.
Why are we so good?
One reason the report offers is because we live so far away from other countries. We already get how important it is to compete globally. Another reason is how joined up our education system is for things like technology, teaching, curriculum and collaboration with (and relevance to) industry. Add to that we’re quick on the uptake and have lots of free broadband in schools. We’re good to go, ‘fit for purpose’ the report says.
And as every one of your teachers will tell you, the pay teachers get does not correlate to the report rankings. NZ is on top, with Canada second. NZ teachers are paid in the bottom half of the 35 economies looked at – 19th of the 35 – while Canadian teachers are 17th best paid on the list. Germany and Japan easily top the teacher pay scales but rank 6th and 10th respectively.
Is this relevant to us in NZ?
Yes, and for more than bragging. Sure, there is lots that can be questioned about a privately commissioned report that compares apples with just about every other fruit you could imagine. Truthfully, if we weren’t on top, it wouldn’t rate a mention here.
But we are on top. They looked and liked what's happening to us in NZ. It's good to learn that what and how we’re learning about getting ready for a modern world is what and how plenty of other places around the world want. That’s pretty good.
Worldwide Educating for the Future Index: Top 10 - 2017