As a student, it is highly likely that your career on graduation could extend up to more than 50 years. During that time, you will be buying products from the world, selling to the world, will work for companies with global connections, compete and collaborate with people from other cultures and maybe help to solve global problems. Doing this successfully requires you to become “globally competent”.
What does ‘global competence’ mean?
The Asia Society’s Centre for Global Education defines the four main competencies that students need to develop:
1. Investigating the world: They should be curious to learn about other countries and cultures
2. Recognizing perspectives: They need to be aware that people from other cultures may not share the same views as them, and to appreciate that fact.
3. Communicating ideas: They can convey their thoughts using verbal and non-verbal techniques effectively to diverse audiences
4. Taking action: Students need to use their global knowledge and skills to get involved in projects that make a difference to the world.
Tips for educational institutions to help you become relevant anywhere in the world
Conventional education systems can incorporate a range of innovations:
1. Develop fluency in new languages:
Along with teaching in English, an institute can teach a second language. Mandarin, Spanish and Arabic are the fastest growing languages in the world and may be more useful for business in the future than the conventional French or German.
2. Bring global views into every subject:
Faculty can source news, case studies and examples from countries around the world easily. These can be used to illustrate the regular concepts that are taught. It is important to not limit global views only to information from the US or Western Europe.
Many other countries have content in the English language. Giving perspectives of a company in Beijing or Istanbul may bring a different viewpoint than one in the US.
3. Use problem-based learning:
This is a technique where complex real-world problems are presented to students to solve. PBL requires students to independently research on data around a specific problem, incorporate the perspectives of colleagues, formulate a solution using logic and explain it effectively to others.
This facilitates a deeper understanding of concepts than just relying on textbooks and lectures and also develops critical thinking and communication skills.
4. Encourage travel:
Institutions can arrange student visits to other countries with a structured program of visiting organizations that encourage their understanding of the local environment.
5. Explore the city:
The city which the institution is located can be used as a classroom. Students can have immersive learning experiences by exploring lesser known parts of the city and interacting with locals, which gives them a sense of the problems they face and generates ideas for projects to solve these issues.
6. Global to local:
The United Nations has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals to transform the world by 2030. These include targets like lessening poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, reducing climate change among others. Students can investigate how these goals can be achieved in their local environment and can build live projects around them.
What can students do to become globally competent?
Along with looking at your local college or school to help you develop your global competence, there are many things you can do independently:
1. Watch global news:
Instead of just viewing Indian news channels, you can explore news channels from other countries. Aside from the US and UK, many countries also offer news in English, for example Al Jazeera (Qatar), RT (Russia) and CGTN (China).
2. Download a language app:
There are a range of smartphone apps that help you learn a foreign language. Some popular ones are Duolingo, Babbel and Busuu.
3. Go for low-cost global travel:
Going to other countries doesn’t have to be expensive. Many low budget travellers go back packing, stay at youth hostels (or AirBnB), travel in local trains or busses and prefer to go to smaller towns away from the big cities in many countries. This gives you a chance to really interact with the locals while also being easy on the pocket.
4. Do an internship abroad:
There are a few non-profit organizations that arrange internships in companies or volunteering with NGOs for foreign students. These could be worth investigating.
Whether you choose to become globally competitive with the help of your institution or independently, these capabilities will become even more important over the next few decades and will be a key requirement for your future career success!