The UK Government has launched an ambitious new education programme to prepare the next generation of British businesspeople to live and thrive in a global society.
Through the Global Learning Programme (GLP) UK students will learn about global trade, technology, security, sustainability and development to help them foster an international outlook.
The GLP initiative, run by learning provider Pearson and the Development Education Consortium, aims to create a “national network” of schools offering frameworks designed to help people make a “positive contribution” to a globalised world.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening, who launched the programme, said it would arm young people with the skills and knowledge they need to live and work in a global society.
Business leaders’ concerns
The Government cited a recent survey of UK CEOs who warned that young people’s horizons were not broad enough to engage with a globalised and multi-cultural economy.
They said that the UK could find itself overtaken by emerging economies if more was not done to help young people think about the world in a global way.
Justine Greening said: “For Britain to thrive in the global race, we need school leavers who understand how the world works, and how they can make the most of new technology, new markets, and new ways of working with people in other countries.”
Half of UK schools by 2017
The GLP, which is already due to roll out in 140 schools, aims to reach half of the UK’s schools by 2017.
Its core aims include:
∙ Helping young people to understand their role in a global world
∙ Introducing them to concepts of interdependence, development, globalisation and sustainability
∙ Moving their thinking from a “charity mentality” to a “social justice mentality”
∙ Promote greater awareness of poverty and sustainability and how technology, governance and job creation can lift people out of poverty.
“UK students are the entrepreneurs, business leaders and diplomats of tomorrow,” Ms Greening added.
“The Global Learning Programme will prepare them to live and work in a global society and help them develop the knowledge and skills to compete in an international job market.”
Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK and spokesperson for the Development Education Consortium said: “In today’s globalised world it is not only exciting but also really important that our young people have opportunities to learn about the experiences of people from every corner of the world.”
The council identified language learning as a key way for British students to engage with the increasingly global nature of business, recommending that schools teach a wider range of languages, including Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese and German.
In October this year, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said that children in British schools should be taught Mandarin as standard.
When asked if children should be taught Mandarin as a standard part of the curriculum he said: “Why not? Absolutely. My kids are learning it so why not? Definitely, definitely.”