‘UK insularity may push it behind India’

Unless UK`s students think more globally, they will fall behind India, China and Brazil, says a research.

Last Updated: Dec 09, 2011, 00:04 AM IST

London: Unless Britain encourages its students
to think more globally, they will not be able to meet demands
of global business and will fall behind India, China and
Brazil, according to a research commissioned by the British
Council.

Three out of four business leaders fear that UK will be
left behind by emerging countries unless young people learn to
think more globally, said an ICM business poll released today.

The research, commissioned by the British Council and
Think Global, found that while almost two-thirds felt they had
an `international outlook`, students failed to see the
potential career advantages to be gained from international
experiences, rating the aspects that might help their future
employment prospects behind other benefits like making new
friends, culture or altruism.

Three-quarters (74 per cent) of the 500 business leaders
polled expressed concern that young people`s horizons are not
broad enough to operate in a globalised and multicultural
economy.

Employers agreed that unless "we better support schools to
teach young people to think more globally, UK is in danger of
being left behind by emerging economies such as China, India
and Brazil".

Only 18 percent of young people said they had done, or
definitely planned to work, study or volunteer abroad, despite
almost nine out of 10 saying that such experiences were a
great opportunity.

Dr Jo Beall, British Council director of Education and
Society, said, "This research shows that while British
students are extremely keen to gain international experiences,
there aren`t enough of the right opportunities for them to
gain the professional skills that British employers really
value."

There are great examples of good practice from UK
universities where young people can gain professional skills
overseas, she said.

"We would like to work with British business and education
sectors to expand these opportunities and develop more. Otherwise the UK economy risks losing global competitiveness".

Roger Clarke, Chair of Think Global, said, "UK businesses
urgently need people with an understanding of the wider world.

"Yet even those students lucky enough to go university
still have a large gap in their awareness. It is crucial that
we help children to start thinking globally during their
school years."

PTI