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Global Survey of Students Aims to Enhance Education

The World’s Largest Lesson – an initiative led by Project Everyone and UNICEF – and NetApp a cloud-led, data-centric software company, recently announced the findings from one of the largest global surveys of education ever which garnered 37,000 responses from young people in 150+ countries including India, many sharing their views for the first time.

The gamified survey aimed to understand the student sentiments towards modernizing education.

When students were asked what they believe the purpose of school should be, 48% of responses related to gaining practical skills for the real world.

“Students are imagining a future that is very different from the one their current curriculums were developed for. They want to be ready to thrive in new, green economies and to help build a sustainable world.”  says Alison Bellwood, Executive Director of World’s Largest Lesson.

The good news is that 77% of students are happy to be back at school after COVID-19, and they’ve shared thousands of ideas about what they want to see changed in education.

When asked whether they were learning enough about a range of topics, 61% of students worldwide said they feel they are learning not enough or not at all about digital skills like programming and coding. Around 5000 students from India were interviewed- constituting the second largest respondent group. Nearly 50% said that they are learning a key range of digital skills.

A close second with almost 59% global students called for financial literacy or how to make a budget with 55% wanting to understand how to analyse and use data.

“Working with data enables critical thinking and encourages young minds to ask questions founded on data. The world today can greatly benefit from objective thinking, and we want to encourage youngsters to develop this skill to help them thrive in an increasingly data-driven world,” said Ravi Chhabria, Managing Director, NetApp India. “Today, data has increasingly become the foundation for making informed decisions, and we are committed to empowering students to use this to drive positive change in the world,” he added.

To address the need for data science learning experiences, NetApp created a global social impact program call Data Explorers. It is a hands-on afterschool program focusing on reaching under-represented students from under-resourced communities.

While being prepared for jobs and the future were top of mind, a further 44% wanted to learn more about how to look after their mental health and wellbeing, with 33% reporting they feel anxious to be back at school after COVID-19. 42% of students reported wanting to understand different cultures, and a further 42% wanted to learn more about how to protect the planet.

When asked for ideas on how to improve education, the most common global theme was practical skills attainment, at 33% and a further 21% mentioned being more informed on key issues. Nearly 20% talked about changing how they learn, for example reducing pressure to succeed in exams or allowing students more individual choice.

While we’ve heard calls to modernize education before, this survey has allowed children themselves to express their thoughts. Together they have shared more than 25,000 ideas of their own to transform education, from “study in nature” to “being able to experiment” and experience “life learning lessons”.

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