Population shifts are changing the world everywhere. What’s happening now affects not only geographies, but also industries spanning from business to education.
A huge demographic growth in Asia in the past decades lead to exponential boost of the local economy. Europe with its ageing population has a recent update in the form of refugees that came to the region plagued by the constant crisis in the Middle East.
Slowly but steadily improving living conditions in many African countries offer better opportunities and access to education. As a result, the economic situation in that region is getting healthier as well.
Today, we are going to take a closer look into some of the opportunities that seem to emerge from these trends. More importantly, we will discuss how they may change the face of education in upcoming years.
Demographic trends overview
Usually, a boom in birth rates results in fast-growing economy, which in turn leads to better education and living conditions for the country’s population. Afterwards, we see a decline in birth rates. Why? Because improved medical services prolong life expectancy and lower the possibility of death at infancy. Better education offers more opportunities for stable careers and social security. Thus, more and more families can allocate their resources towards family planning.
“Megatrends: The future of international education“, released in November 2013 by the British Council, cites ageing populations as the most urgent trend in global demographics. The report suggests that even though several regions, including Africa, will face steady growth of population aged 15-24 up until year 2100, most other regions (including Northern and Latin America, Oceania and Europe) will show stable numbers of young people. In comparison, most Asian countries are facing a huge demographic decline.
The first decade of XXI century was ruled by BRIC countries (Brasil, Russia, India and China). Together, these countries have around 3 billion inhabitants. Furthermore, they deliver around 20% of the gross world product. The British Council report suggests that from 2010 onwards, economic growth in BRIC countries has slowed down. It’s now the CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa) that may take a dominating role with their vast young populations and diverse economies.
Another study, “The future of the worlds mobile students to 2024“, reveals yet another interesting trend. It suggests that by 2024 India and China will host slightly less than 50% of all 18-22 year-old mobile students. Indonesia, United States, Nigeria, Pakistan are following quickly on that list.
The future of education
One of the main problems upcoming generations are facing is the mismatch between workforce needs and the education that is currently provided. Even if most universities seek for a well-rounded, practical learning outcome, far from every student gets a job relevant to their field upon completion of studies. This is one of the key challenges our century is facing. It is also the topic educational institutions around the world should be working to fix together with global businesses.
What other challenges are demographic shifts posing to education on both local and global scale? Let’s discuss in the comments below!