Finland leads in skills education

  • Education
  • Sunday, 22 Mar 2020

FINLAND’S universal future skills strength across all index pillars including policy and teaching environment and access to technology see it retain its lead among 50 economies in the third edition of the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI).

Sweden and New Zealand ranked second and third, with Sweden advancing two places and New Zealand maintaining its third position from 2018’s results.

The Philippines, Ghana and Mexico all performed strongly among a new income-adjusted ranking due to their ability to channel their more limited resources to implement strong policy and advance a future skills agenda.

Among the world’s largest economies, the US, UK, France and Russia all fell in their rankings while China, India and Indonesia advanced their scores.

According to the WEFFI 2019, the Top 10 economies are Finland; Sweden; New Zealand; Singapore; Netherlands; Canada; Switzerland; Australia; Germany and Japan.

Consensus on the need to adopt future-focused approaches to education has grown in countries globally but implementation of policy to make such changes remains the largest challenge to preparing students for the challenges that await them in work and society, according to a recent report released by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Themed “From Policy to Practice”, the white paper is commissioned by the Yidan Prize Foundation and based on the findings of the third annual WEFFI. With a focus on young people aged 15 to 24 in 50 economies, it measures three pillars of education systems namely policy approaches, teaching conditions and broader gauges of societal freedom and openness, as a means of readying young people to meet the challenges of work and society in future.

It remains the only major ranking to assess inputs to education systems and stands in contrast to measures like the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Programme for International Student Assessment, which looks at exam-like outputs.

The report shows that the need to develop future skills like critical thinking, creativity, entrepreneurship and analysis is more vital than ever given the continuing advances in technology and artificial intelligence.

A number of countries, including Finland, Sweden and New Zealand, are embracing this education challenge through comprehensive policies, well-trained teachers and strong assessment frameworks to test for future skills.

A new income adjusted ranking also showed that many lower-income countries, including the Philippines, Ghana, Mexico and Vietnam, are also performing well with particular strengths in their policy and teaching environments.

“The third edition of the index shows that while more economies have incorporated the future skills agenda into their education policies over the past two years, policy implementation still remains weak in many nations, ” Georgia McCafferty, editor of the report said.

“Progress in adapting assessment frameworks, quality assurance frameworks and teacher training all need to accelerate.”

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