Building a future-ready workforce: From classrooms to boardrooms

Categories: Policy News and Updates

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Date Posted: 27 Feb 2018

How do we prepare for successful careers? This question has challenged our education systems for generations. Although it can be argued that now more than ever, technological change has brought an unprecedented set of challenges that our youth have to contend with to be successful in today’s, and more importantly, tomorrow’s world.

Knowledge of traditional subjects is no longer an adequate marker of ability. Today’s students are required to master skills in problem solving and demonstrate versatile and critical thinking skills for an increasingly virtual world.

Education systems around the world have often struggled to meet and anticipate future skills needs. More needs to be done to break down classroom walls and adequately prepare students to have multiple careers in the 21st Century.

The good news is that education systems are now being assessed on how well they prepare students for the future.

Future-ready graduates

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 Educating for the Future Index, educational systems around the world must find ways to produce graduates who are able to constantly anticipate and acclimatise to the changing demands of the global economy.

Specifically, the Future Index highlights project-based learning, industry collaborations and the need for technology-based curricula as key areas in which education systems around the world must invest in.

The Future Index provides a holistic perspective of education systems, by including measures on respective national education policy environments, teaching environments and socio-economic environments — critical factors that determine the ability of education systems and their institutions to produce resilient and work-ready graduates.

Among 35 countries in the Future Index, five countries exhibited outstanding holistic education techniques that prepare students with necessary skills and expertise, allowing for the optimum environment that is fit for learning: New Zealand topped the list followed in order by Canada, Finland, Switzerland, and Singapore. Popular student destinations United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States ranked 6th, 8th, and 12th, respectively.

Forward-thinking New Zealand

With a score of 88.9 out of 100 in Future Index, New Zealand earned full marks for the curriculum framework for future skills, collaboration between education providers and industry, and cultural diversity and tolerance, among other measures – cornerstones upon which New Zealand has built its internationally-recognised education system. These are major motivators of 130,000 international students, of which more than 4,000 are Filipinos, who study in New Zealand every year.

New Zealand’s “Think New” approach promotes inquisitive and project-based learning, provides flexible learning pathways for students, and is built upon a world-class education quality assurance system. These foundations, and well-targeted education subsidies, have enabled collaborations between education institutions and industry that provide students with formal education qualifications as well as industry-relevant skills.

Additionally, government investments in digital infrastructure have ensured that the next generation of New Zealand graduates are both digitally savvy and digital natives. According to the report, 98 per cent of New Zealand institutions are connected to fast and uncapped broadband connections, making technology an enabler of education in New Zealand.

Such focused efforts have resulted in several New Zealand universities being included in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2017 list, which ranks 300 leading global institutions based on five key aspects of graduate employability.

Furthermore, New Zealand has championed welcoming global perspectives that effectively prepare students for an increasingly connected world, becoming a sought-after international education destination and being ranked as the safest English-speaking country in the world by the Global Peace Index for ten years in a row. International education is now New Zealand’s 4th largest export industry.

With the help of today’s globally connected world, New Zealand universities and education Ministries are working on education capability-building contracts across South East Asia, including the Philippines, which, with the score of 50.2, is considered a moderate environment for learning based on the Future Index, and welcoming more international students to New Zealand to experience its education system.

How are these learnings relevant to Philippines? New Zealand demonstrates that any education system can successfully prepare students when there is a co-ordinated and sustained effort by education leaders, teachers, parents, students, and government to raise education standards.

It is these efforts that help students develop crucial skills that may determine their global success in the boardrooms and workplaces of the future.


About Education New Zealand:

Education New Zealand (ENZ) is New Zealand’s government agency for international education. ENZ works to grow awareness of New Zealand as a study destination and to support New Zealand education providers and businesses to take their services and products abroad.

Information about studying in New Zealand can be found at


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