UK children aged 11 to 16 have the lowest international awareness among their age group in 10 countries, a British Council survey says.
Ipsos Mori asked 4,170 with internet access about such things as language learning and international affairs. Those in Nigeria had the highest ranking, while the UK was last after the US and Czech Republic. Among the questions asked was whether children saw themselves as a citizen of the world or of their own country. The study coincides with a government drive to raise awareness. An international education week has been organised by England’s Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
Interviews were conducted online in the USA, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, Brazil, China and India. They were face-to-face in Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, but still among those with net access.
According to the British Council, UK children were the least likely to try to understand current events. More than twice as many Brazilian (69%) and German children (61%) said they would, compared with 28% of the UK sample and 30% of the American. Asked whether they saw themselves as citizens of the world or their own country, most saw themselves as global citizens – except in the UK, USA and the Czech Republic.
Young people in Brazil were among the most likely to agree with the statement “it is a good idea for schools in my country to have links or partnerships with schools in other countries” but the least likely to be in schools that had such links.
British Council chief executive Martin Davidson said: “Our school children cannot afford to fall behind the rest of the world. “For the UK to compete in a global economy, it is vital that we encourage our young people to have an interest in and engagement with the world around them.”