Annual Pearson Survey finds 88% UK learners see Tech, Talking (Virtual Communication) and Teamwork skills as important to learn in Primary school as the ‘Three Rs’.
August 10, 2020 – Pearson, the world's learning company, today released the results of its second annual Global Learner Survey, a study capturing the voice of over 7000 learners worldwide.
The findings show learners see COVID-19 as a turning point for modern learning, with online schooling and the need for more digital skills leaving a lasting mark. 88% of learners globally (90% in the UK) say online learning will be a permanent part of primary, secondary and higher education moving forward, with 63% in the UK saying more primary and secondary students will attend school virtually (online) than attending a traditional school within ten years (up from 56% in 2019).
Tech skills, teamwork and (Talking) communication skills should join the ‘Three Rs’ Reading (W)riting and (A)rithmetic as the most important skills to learn at school:
Among those surveyed in the UK there was a general agreement that primary and secondary education should teach practical life skills alongside the fundamentals:
- 88% said they should begin to teach some basic level of skills that will be useful in the workplace, such as teamwork and communication (92% for secondary schools).
- 88% also said Primary schools should begin to teach basic technology skills that will help students live and work in a digital environment (89% for secondary schools).*
- Of all countries polled, respondents in the UK gave the lowest mean age (11 years) at which young people should learn some basic skills to help them in their future careers (the global mean age was 13 years).
Globally and in the UK, 87% of respondents said that the economic disruption of COVID means people now need to be comfortable working remotely and in highly digital environments. To achieve this, traditional education programs won’t be enough, with 89% of learners globally (88% in UK) saying that people will need to develop more digital skills such as virtual collaboration, communication, analyzing data or managing remote teams to move forward in this economy.
*88% of UK respondents also said primary schools should be focused on teaching young people fundamental academic subjects like reading, writing and maths.
Additional key Global Learner Survey findings include:
Learners expect education systems to do more to address inequality. Even though learners still believe that education delivers opportunity, they worry that opportunity isn't equal:
- 77% in the UK (78% globally) believe online learning will give people more access to a quality education.
- 73% in UK (70% globally) believe that that pandemic will deepen education inequality, especially among young students.
- 88% (in UK and globally) want schools to do more to address economic and digital inequalities among students.
In Higher Education, learners believe that Universities have the opportunity to help drive economic recovery, but want them to provide more adult learning, shorter courses, soft skill training and more affordable options:
- 70% in UK (65% globally) agree that fewer people will seek out traditional university degrees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Most people (77% globally/75% UK) think reopening universities is vital to a healthy economy.
- 77% in UK (and globally) agree that Universities can-and must focus more on mature students
- 87% in UK (and globally) agree that universities should offer shorter courses or lower cost options to help those who are unemployed.
If online is here to stay, learners want it to be better. Learners are practical and realize that online learning is a reality during a global pandemic. But there are clear calls for more investment in and better use of technology for learning.
- In the UK 87% of learners (88% globally) want educational institutions to maximise learning through technology.
- In the UK 64% (67% globally) of people believe Education institutions are less effective at using technology than other industries (such as healthcare or banking).
- Given the choice to invest in public education, providing technology for underserved learners and ensuring schools are better prepared for online learning were the top priorities for learners in almost every country surveyed.
Rod Bristow, President of Pearson in the UK, said:
“People believe education is more important than it’s ever been. Its purpose as a means to a better life is in sharper focus and better access through technology is critical. These changes in consumer perspectives will change what’s learned and how it is delivered, and there’s no going back".
“Digital skills are no longer optional. There has been a fundamental shift in the skills and knowledge that are vital to deliver through our national education system. The ‘3 Rs’ of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are critical career skills of the future, but people now care deeply about the digital fluency that underpins creativity, problem solving and social skills in a world that’s gone online. It’s time to put digital fluency at the heart of the system".
“The future of work demands better digital skills with online learning a critical means of acquiring them. Access to that technology is foundational to a fairer society and opening opportunity to all - it is becoming as important as providing inclusive access to good school and university buildings”.
View the full findings of the Global Learner Survey
Notes to Editors:
Pearson conducted the study with Harris Insights & Analytics to give learners in seven countries the opportunity to voice their opinions on primary, secondary and higher education; careers and the future of work; and technology. More than 7,000 people, ranging in age from 16 to 70, participated in the poll.
We are the world’s learning company with more than 24,000 employees operating in 70 countries. We combine world-class educational content and assessment, powered by services and technology, to enable more effective teaching and personalized learning at scale. We believe that wherever learning flourishes so do people.