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A World Economic Forum (WEF) meta-analysis of research about 21st-century skills in primary and secondary education identified 16 critical skills.  There were six foundational literacies needed by students for everyday tasks: literacy, numeracy, ICT literacy, scientific literacy, financial literacy and cultural and civic literacy.  Although they were foundational skills for learning in the late 20th century, they are now only a starting point for skills needed in 21st century labour markets.

The study found four competencies needed for working with complex problems: critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration.  It also identified the following character qualities that help students thrive in a rapidly changing environment: curiosity, persistence/grit, adaptability, leadership, initiative and social and cultural awareness.

The World Economic Forum study assessed selected indicators for these skills in almost 100 countries.  It found large skill gaps within countries and between groups of countries, such as developed and developing nations.  It concluded many students aren’t getting the education they need to deal with rapid technological change, with a flow-on effect for labour markets that now have critical skill shortages.

Posted on by NZK / Karen Craig
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