Google’s Economic Intelligence Report. “Driving the Skills Agenda: Preparing students for the future”

Google’s Economic Intelligence Report. “Driving the Skills Agenda: Preparing students for the future”

Missouri Education Watchdog by Cheri Kiesecker

Who knew Google played a role in the ed-workforce 21st Century Skills (data) pipeline?  

Google for Education commissioned this 2015 study entitled, Driving the skills agenda: Preparing students for the future. The report apparently tries to predict how to best prepare for an unknown future and jobs that don’t yet exist, as evidenced by the following quotes,

“This research programme, sponsored by Google, [is] to examine to what extent the skills taught in education systems around the world are changing. For example, are so-called 21st-century skills, such as leadership, digital literacy, problem solving and communication, complementing traditional skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic? And do they meet the needs of employers and society more widely?”

“How can education best prepare young people to navigate their way through an increasingly interconnected and complex world in which factual recall will perhaps matter less than their ability to understand differing perspectives?”

“As proponents of 21st-century skills point out, we have no way of knowing what challenges tomorrow’s graduates will face, and still less what jobs will exist for them to apply for. The best education can hope to do is to equip students with sufficiently transferable skills to be able to respond to whatever the future holds.”

Google’s 2015 study found that schools need to teach critical thinking, emotional intelligence, leadership, creative thinking, problem solving, digital literacy, team work, and all the other 21st Century Skills,  Social-Emotional, Competency-Based buzzwords that have invaded our classrooms in recent years.

In a survey given to business executives, Google’s skills agenda study states,

“There is a disconnect between the demand-side and the supply-side of skills,” notes Mmantsetsa Marope, director of the International Bureau of Education at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). “Education systems, or should I say educators, hardly ever talk to businesses, to employers, to parents, to a whole range of stakeholders who are on the demand-side of the competencies which they are supposed to facilitate learners to acquire.”

Greater collaboration between schools and industry—whether through work placements, industry involvement in course planning or industry representatives brought into schools to demonstrate the real-world application of theories and techniques—appears to be key to improving students’ readiness for work. In Germany, for example, 60% of school leavers continue their education by means of “dual vocational training” (rather than attending university or a full-time vocational college). Under the dual system, students are employed as apprentices and trained on the job by their employers, while also attending vocational college one or two days a week. This system, and the resulting close interaction between employers and educators, is credited with contributing to the country’s low level of unemployment.”

…”According to the business survey, employers feel they should play a more active role in deciding what students are taught and that their position as stakeholders should be more explicit. Nearly three-fifths (57%) of executives think business does not have enough say in setting the curriculum in their country, while 36% identify improved access to company schemes and internships as the educational change that would most benefit their business.” [Emphasis added]

Who was interviewed and who contributed to this Google Skills Agenda Report?

You should read the rest of the Google sponsored study, as it has multiple references to technology and the “digital classroom”, “teach less”,  “global digital economy”, and gems like this, “The business executives surveyed agree that broadening access to technology in schools and universities is one of the top three ways in which the education system in their countries could benefit business.”  Benefit business. That’s rich[…]

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