Finland has again topped an international ranking that measures countries’ ability to provide future skills through education to youth.

The study, Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI), is produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by Yidan Prize Foundation to measure how 50 economies provide skills needed for the future to their students/youth aged between 15 and 24 years.

Finland was first in previous year’s ranking as well, meaning the strength of its globally acclaimed education system is only fortifying. Sweden moved up two places to make the number two spot on the list, while New Zealand was ranked, that same as in 2018.

WEFFI Ranking 2019

The Worldwide Educating for the Future Index 2019 gauges how education systems around the world are enabling youth between 15 and 24 years of age with skills needed in future work environment.

The subjects of the study included 50 economies that make up 93% of the global GDP, 88% of the world population and 81% of the world’s youth population. The researchers select economies based on a number of factors, like income levels, population size, youth populations and geographic representation. The index includes 20 indicators and 57 sub-indicators across three thematic categories: policy environment, teaching environment and socio-economic environment.This year’s report was themed “From Policy to Practice” and based on the findings of the third annual Worldwide Educating for the Future Index.

Per the results, Philippines, Ghana and Mexico all exhibited strong improvements. Despite the meager size of their resources, they ranked highly for implementing effective policy measures and skill building agenda. On the other hand, larger economies like the US, the UK, France and Russia all witnessed a fall in ranking, while China, India and Indonesia improve their scores over the previous year.

The UK and the US were ranked 10th and 18th, respectively in 2018. But both fell several places, 15th (UK) and 22nd (US) in 2019. Researchers cited the fears looming over the fate of the country in the context of Brexit for the fall in UK’s ranking, while the US suffered the ranking blows apparently due to a decentralized education system that has weakened national policy objectives.

Georgia McCafferty, the report’s editor said the third edition of the index showed that “while more economies have incorporated the future skills agenda into their education policies over the past two years, policy implementation still remains weak in many nations”.

“Progress in adapting assessment frameworks, quality assurance frameworks and teacher training all need to accelerate,” she added.

McCafferty also pointed out the “recent rise of nativism and populism in some quarters of the world, along with a rejection of globalization, makes the need for students develop future-oriented skills like critical thinking and analysis even more urgent in order for them to combat these forces”.

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