Pilot study finds that despite national mandates to develop global competence skills in students, schools are not prepared to meet this requirement


A revealing new pilot study on global competence development in schools found that 78% of over 450 schools surveyed did not have adequate resources to prepare students for an increasingly diverse future, reports AFS Intercultural Programs. To better understand and address this challenge, AFS is launching the AFS Global Competence Readiness Index for Schools, a free self-assessment tool and resource kit for primary and secondary schools.

“AFS is confident that the Global Competence Readiness Index tool will empower teachers to equip Generation Z students to thrive in a globally interconnected world,” says Melissa Liles, Chief Global Engagement Officer at AFS Intercultural Programs. “And AFS is here to help educators modernize their curricula and introduce school activities to broaden the perspectives of their school community.”

The Index is especially helpful to secondary schools as they assess their students’ global competence as part of standardized testing for teens. One such test, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Test will begin doing this among 15-year-olds worldwide in September 2018 using its new Global Competence Framework. The Framework was developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) together with experts including Dr. Veronica Boix Mansilla and Dr. Darla Deardorff, both of whom are members of the AFS Educational Advisory Council.

Global competence is now considered an essential workplace skill,” says Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS. “Studies like the major British Council Culture at Work survey of nearly 400 employers in nine countries confirm the need for staffers who can effectively collaborate and communicate with individuals and organizations from different cultural backgrounds.”

By taking part in the AFS Global Competence Readiness Index, educators can:

  • Reflect and self-assess how their school fosters global competence in the classroom and beyond,
  • Generate a profile of their school along with specific recommendations on how to launch or improve their intercultural learning programs and other activities,
  • Obtain resources to improve or develop new teaching practices that promote their students’ global preparedness, and
  • Understand how their school compares to others in their country when it comes to preparing a future-ready population and workforce.

The pilot study was conducted in April 2018 in eight Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, and Panama. The Index project will be announced worldwide this September at the AFS Global Conference in Budapest, Hungary. Updated reports will be shared with the education community as more data is collected each year.

The AFS Global Competence Readiness Index for Schools was developed by AFS Intercultural Programs with input from OECD, the developers of the Global Competence Framework.   


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