Global issues at school

Cambridge International’s Global Perspectives survey revealed that 93% feel it is important to discuss global issues at school


A quarter of students in the UAE voted climate change as the single biggest issue facing the world today (24%), followed by pollution (16%), in Cambridge International’s first-ever Global Perspectives survey.

Over 11,000 students aged 13 to 19 took part in the study and shared their views on global issues; how they learn about them; and how their awareness of these issues might impact their future career choices. The UAE was the only Arab country among the 12 target countries surveyed globally.

The poll revealed there is a clear desire from students to learn about global issues in school, with 93% of UAE students agreeing that it is important to discuss global issues in the classroom. However, 43% say they don’t learn this in school despite wanting to.

Of those UAE students who do learn about global issues, 29% learn via class discussions led by a teacher, more than a quarter (26%) learn from discussions with other students and more than one in five (21%) from studying a textbook.

Waseem Al-Hanbali, Cambridge Assessment International Education Regional Director, MENA, said: “Cambridge International’s first-ever Global Perspectives Survey aims to showcase that education extends beyond the walls of the classroom, and is more about building skills for life. It is encouraging to see UAE students passionate about big global issues like climate change, environmental pollution and poverty, and genuinely committed to making a change. We hope that the findings of this study can be a valuable resource on how to effectively engage with students and make them a part of the global discourse on sustainable development.”

Eighty percent of UAE students surveyed said they would like to pursue a career where they can make a positive contribution to solving global issues. Further, 72% will consider what potential employers’ attitudes are to key global issues when applying for jobs in the future. A majority said they take some form of action to raise awareness of global issues.

Overall, the highest proportion of UAE students surveyed said the internet and social media (40%) were their most trusted sources of information about their most important global issue, followed by organisations or charities dedicated to that issue (16%).

Christine Özden, Chief Executive, Cambridge International, said: “In a world that is constantly evolving with some huge global challenges ahead, we feel that it is even more important that students not only engage with key global issues, but develop the skills to research, discuss and evaluate the facts, and work with others to understand different perspectives around the world.

“Cambridge Global Perspectives™ equips students with the essential skills they need for further study at university and for the future world of work. We look forward to giving many more schools and students the opportunity to learn about this unique programme during Cambridge Global Perspectives Week.”

The survey was conducted leading up to Cambridge Global Perspectives Week, which runs from 1-7 March 2020.

Cambridge Global Perspectives is a unique and stimulating programme that provides an opportunity for students aged 5 to 19 to think and learn more about the topics and global issues they care about. It focuses on enabling students to develop life-long skills like critical thinking, research, collaboration and evaluation.