A recent global study has ranked countries that best prepare students for the future, assessing education systems of 35 economies according to key indicators such as socioeconomics, teaching enviroment, and policy.

NEW ZEALAND education is the best in the world in terms of preparing its students for the future.

This is what the London-based The Economist Intelligence Unit has found in the first ever Worldwide Educating for the Future Index, commissioned by the Yidan Prize

The study ranked 35 economies representing 88% of the global GDP and 77% of the global population. These education systems were assessed according to three key indicators: (1) education policy, (2) teaching environment, and (3) socio-economic environment.

“The index was developed to assess the effectiveness of education systems in
preparing students for the demands of work and life in a rapidly changing landscape. It is the first comprehensive global index to evaluate inputs to education systems rather than outputs such as test scores, and concentrates on the 15-24 age band in 35 economies,” the introduction in the study’s workbook reads.

The overall ranking has New Zealand in the lead with Canada, Finland, Switzerland, and Singapore tailing behind as the top five countries best equipped to teach and develop a set of specific skills in their students.


The study also identified six (6) key skills the young needs to learn to help them navigate the future. According to the study, education will be less about learning information and more about analyzing and using information.

Citing Harvard University’s Tony Wagner who said, “Content knowledge is becoming a commodity. The world no longer cares about what students know, but what they can do with what they know.”

The skills identified are the following:

Interdisciplinary skills

Creative and analytical skills

Entrepreneurial skills

Leadership skills

Digital and technical skills

Global awareness and civic education 


Why New Zealand?




According to the report, New Zealand earned full marks for its curriculum framework for future skills, the effectiveness of its policy implementation system, teacher education, government education expenditure, career counseling in schools, collaboration between universities and industry, and cultural diversity and tolerance.

“The reasons behind this success are twofold. First, New Zealand views educating for future skills as a broadly-agreed strategic imperative: it is a small and remote country, with the vigilance that comes with knowing it has little choice but to be globally competitive, now and in future,” the report said.

“Secondly, it has a systematic government-led approach to making its education system fit for purpose, across technology, teaching, curriculum and collaboration with industry.” ■ By Aldrin C. Brosas