Education Policy has the Ability to Address a Wide Range of Issues

Learning Ecosystems and Leadership September 04, 2019

Note: This article was originally published in the Diplomatic Courier on August 26, 2019 [link]

France has picked a fight against inequality in its 2019 G7 Summit agenda. Increasing access to education is just one way French President Emmanuel Macron imagines countries can improve equality of opportunity.

And this year’s G7 host country isn’t the only voice proposing education as a solution to global challenges. The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), a global organization that is exploring innovative ways to reimagine the future of education is releasing a number of new research reports. Bringing together decision-makers, teachers, and education experts from around the world, WISE sees education as a key tool for addressing global issues like poverty and inequality.  

Specifically, states around the world have already employed education as a tool for solving other national problems. For example, several countries have designed national education policies to attract the best students from across the globe in order to accommodate skills gaps and population decline. Additionally, the growing refugee crisis prompts countries to mold educational systems to meet a variety of language needs. In three 2019 reports, WISE explores the ways in which countries are making innovative education policy decisions to achieve their national goals.

Reimagining Language Policy

The world’s growing number of displaced migrants combined with indigenous speakers of minoritized languages creates a need for countries to employ robust language policies to accommodate all students learning new languages at school. Current language policies in the classroom are inadequate as argued in a recent WISE report—research suggests that as many as 40% of students around the world may be studying in a language they do not fully understand. Language policy in schools should empower students to use new language tools building from language resources they already have available in the classroom and community. In Ottawa, Canada, for example, the Ministry of Education gives families an avenue to request school language support in the form of additional native language classes so long as the language has 23 or more student speakers.‍

Global Competition for Talent

“Unprecedented” is the word WISE uses to describe the scale and volume of migrants currently crossing borders with postsecondary degrees. Attracting international students has become a key goal of national-level policies in education. And though 50% of the world’s international students wind up in just five Anglophone host countries, other world powers are catching up. In countries within the East African Community, for example, a new initiative will encourage students to study at any of 100 universities across Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda through a program that allows students to transfer credits between institutions.

Educating Elite Athletes

Even physical education policy can be shaped to meet modern challenges. Globally, elite sport programs can be used to achieve a variety of non-sporting national objectives. WISE recently analyzed national elite sport programs to better understand corresponding state education programs. Russia, for example, strengthened its sports ministry in 2008. The result was the development of a peerless Russian physical education program that rewards physical activity in schools. This renewed educational commitment to physical education, in addition to several other policy changes in athletics, in contributing to a positive effect in Russia. Since 2000, increased investment in sport education and healthcare led to decreasing diagnoses in alcoholism and drug addiction between 2009-2011 for the first time since 1992.

Education policy will definitely be a talking point at this summer’s G7 summit. However, around the world, states are already using education as tool to solve a wide variety of national problems. From an education system in Africa trying to attract interregional talent to a sports education that is working to improve health in Russia, education policy as the ability to solve many international issues. Only the future will reveal what world challenges education will meet next.


New Reports

The Education of Elite Athletes

This research explores elite sport development systems and aspects of educational attainment and opportunities for elite athletes in n a variety of national sport development systems. The countries analyzed for this project are the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Senegal, and Qatar. These were selected by the researchers because of the heterogeneous social-political contexts, the diverse histories in relation to sport and education, and the expectation of a variety of approaches toward elite athlete development and education attainment. The objective of this research is to compare and contrast the examined systems to ascertain best practices and approaches for elite athletes to gain a viable education experience and career development for life after formal competitive sport.  To learn more visit here.

Global Competition for Talent

This research from our colleagues at the Institute of International Education (IIE) is a full portrait of the current state of global higher education for mobile students. The report focuses on the measures the key countries have taken to attract international students and the motivations that underpin these tactics and strategies. Drawing on IIE’s core collaborative research entitled Project Atlas, national policy documents, and broad literature on higher education mobility, the report taps a unique network of institutional expertise. To learn more visit here.



Language Policy in a Globalized Context

With ever greater numbers of our fellow humans on the move across the globe, whether forced to flee conflict and poverty, or seeking better lives for their families, and for education, communities have new opportunities to embrace and learn from diversity, and to shape their societies. Surely migration poses core challenges for leaders and policy-makers and at all levels. How the education sector should address the linguistic diversity of populations that have grown increasingly multicultural has become a touchstone for controversy. In this report, Dudley Reynolds, our colleague at Carnegie Mellon University – Qatar, urges educators to raise awareness about how languages are actually used in societies. To learn more visit here.