YAYA Wire
Are YAYAs Globally Incompetent?
30th Sep 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 3
“Recently, Send2Press Newswire released a study revealing that 18-24 year olds show a conspicuous lack of global competency skills necessary for the 21st century global economy. The article contains startling statistics regarding this age group’s ability to correctly answer questions regarding modern global issues. Find the original article here.
New Study Among 18-24 Year Olds Shows Conspicuous Lack of Global Competency
Skills Necessary for 21st Century Global Economy
Over 75 percent of respondents could not identify U.S.’s largest trading partner or world’s most commonly spoken language
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 12, 2012 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — A recent study of 18-24 year old American high school graduates commissioned by education nonprofit World Savvy (www.worldsavvy.org), with support from the International Baccalaureate Organization (www.ibo.org), shows a desire among young people to learn more about global topics, but a conspicuous lack of instruction within American schools to satisfy these needs. The resulting lack of global competency skills can make it difficult for young Americans to thrive in an increasingly global economy.”There is no question that the shifting demands of an interconnected, interdependent global economy and society requires that graduates are globally competent; knowledgeable about the world, capable of thinking creatively and critically about problems, and adept at working collaboratively with a diverse group of people to find solutions,” remarked Dana Mortenson, Co-Founder and Executive Director of World Savvy, the nonprofit organization responsible for commissioning the study. “It is imperative that we create learning environments that prioritize and cultivate this kind of global experience, if we want students to truly be college and career ready. Through exposure to a range of educational programs which develop global competency, World Savvy students have this kind of preparation.”Young Americans see the value in learning globally; there is a high demand among young adults for global competency education.
* 80 percent of those surveyed believe that jobs are becoming increasingly international in nature.
* 60 percent say they would be better employees if they had a better understanding of different world cultures.
* 86 percent agree that a solid foundation in world history and events is crucial in coming up with solutions to the problems in the world today.
* Nearly 90 percent believe that developments abroad can have significant implications on the U.S. economy.
* 79 percent say that it is important in today’s world to be comfortable interacting with people of different cultural backgrounds (on par with the perceived importance of writing skills [78 percent], technical skills [76 percent] and math skills [77 percent]).

Global issues are not regularly discussed in school:
* While the vast majority respondents see the importance of global literacy, 48 percent actively disagree with the statement that their 6th-12th grade education provided instruction that helps them to understand the roots of global issues that affect their lives today.
* 63 percent indicated that they did not discuss world events in their high school classes.
* Only a little over half (54 percent) think that their high school teachers incorporated a global perspective into their curriculums.

As a result, the majority of young Americans cannot accurately answer questions related to important contemporary global issues. For example:
* 78 percent of students do not know that Mandarin is the most commonly spoken language in the world; 45 percent thought it was English.
* 77 percent of respondents cannot correctly identify Canada as the U.S.’s largest trading partner.
* 72 percent of students surveyed cannot identify which region Afghanistan is located in.
* Fewer than half know that Libya is located in northern Africa.

Data suggests a relationship between global event discussions in high school and future interests/behaviors. Those who discussed world events in their high school classes were more likely to report that they:
* Regularly or often discuss news and world events with other people (+21 percent).
* Actively seek out news and information about world events (+17).
* Vote in local and national elections (+14 percent).
* Received a very well rounded and useful high school education (+13).
* Diversity is an asset (+9 percent).
* Volunteered to support a cause they believe in (+8 percent).
* Are curious about the world around them (+8 percent).
* Believe developments abroad can have significant implications on the U.S. economy (+8 percent).
* Believe that what happens in the US affects people around the globe (+7 percent).

This suggests that exposure to global competency education in high school helps to inspire young adults to stay abreast of world events, be active in their communities, and understand the interconnectivity of global economies.

The Global Competency Poll was conducted by Colligan Market Research between June 29th and July 6th via an online survey among 502 respondents. In order to qualify for this study, respondents had to indicate that they were between the ages of 18-24 year olds, had attended high school in the United States, and had graduated from high school or obtained a GED. The survey included quotas to ensure that the demographics of this audience (gender, age distribution, college enrollment, etc.) matched that of U.S. population of 18-24 year olds.

YAYA Connection is largely unsurprised by these statistics. YAYAs, unlike their parents or grandparents, have grown up with a myriad of distractions that take their attention away from the used-to-be-popular nightly newscasts. Instead of watching evening broadcasts, YAYAs are focused on other mediums that don’t typically center around global news, including fantasy sports, social media, gaming, video streaming and blogs. In a world that is increasingly working and operating on a global scale, is this a trend that will pose problems in our nation’s future?”



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  • Katie Lynn

    I think this blog brings up a good point, our culture and business practices ARE making global shifts. I think when we don’t take the initiative to educate ourselves on social issues we risk applying a ethnocentric lens to the way we view other countries and cultures.

    While this post obviously proves that YAYAs possess a certain amount of ignorance in regards to global topics, I have also observed millenials acceptance of culturally rich content, and tendency to ascribe to global brands and trends. However, is this genuine interest or merely a superficial way to appear “more culturally relevant”? Thoughts?

    • Xue Liu

      I totally agree with you. Sometimes I have the feeling that the development of technology does make communication much easier and quicker, yet it distances people at some point. When I first came to America, I found that actually people around my age here knew very little about Chinese or Asian culture. And in fact myself knew less about America as I used to imagine.
      Also as you said, millenials are quick information acceptors, and they had less difficulties to learn and understand messages from another culture. So this brings a great challenge to marketers – how should they communicate their messages on a multi-cultural basis effectively? A way I can come up with is that the messages should be global, and the vehicles have to be local, which could be easily understood.

  • Sara Michelle

    I try to keep up on the news and have a general view of the world, but I didn’t know a lot of these statistics. I guess I’m not as global as I thought I was thought? But the real question is, who is to blame? Is it me for not knowing that I don’t know this, or someone else for not teaching it to me?