Opinion – Which countries have the best literacy and numeracy rates? | World Economic Forum

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It’s disgraceful that the UK is bottom of the OECD list for literacy and second from bottom for numeracy, where the US is the worst. The WEF reports the OECD countries with the best and worst literacy and numeracy rates.

Source: Which countries have the best literacy and numeracy rates? | World Economic Forum

Of course, these statistics understate just how bad the quality of education is the UK and the US. Both countries have outstanding private education standards, so the true quality of public education is shambolic.

Who is responsible? Politicians? Teachers? Unions? Parents? Immigrants? Junk food? Too much technology? Perhaps, the statistics are not trusted?

Also consider the wider trends of technology and globalization on jobs  – definitely fewer jobs in the future. It’s not surprising that employers want better educated immigrants, who are probably more motivated and less likely to be obese. So poor education is a double whammy – compared to international benchmarks, it provides poor value for money now and secondly destroys opportunity to compete for work in the future, compared to global competition.

Older UK voters who voted for Brexit will possibly blame the statistics or favor a Little England solution, wanting to raise the drawbridge and keep better skilled immigrants out. If their children are teachers, they will protect claiming how hard their children work. In the private sectors results prevail and effort is part of the input.

Personally, I blame the politicians, the teachers and the unions. The political classes have increased bureaucracy, protected teachers, and ignored international education benchmarks. Both in the UK and the US, teachers are an important pressure group on left-wing politics, with very powerful unions. For me, it’s time for radical change in education. Teachers’ remuneration must reflect their appalling ineffectiveness, compared to international benchmarks – they should be paid by results. Also it’s time to outsource education to the private sector. Finally, let’s face the evidence of the increasing power of the far-left, for whom the results justify the means – they are responsible for falling education standards. I struggle to see how Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party will improve UK education quality.

Let me ask two open question:

  1. So how should Theresa May’s government improve the UK’s education standards, compared to international benchmarks?
  2. A Clinton presidency will fail to challenge US teachers and their unions to improve US education standards?




Self-employment | The Economist

Be prepared for a surprise when you look at these international statistics on self-employment published by the Economist.

Despite all the hype about land of opportunity in the US, it’s suprising how few people are prepared to take the risk and be self-employed.

Both John Gelmini and myself have had lengthy careers in international corporate life working for well-known multi-nationals. Then we reinvented ourselves and became self-employed.

For me personally, becoming self-employed was one of my best decisions.

OK you’re your own boss but you need to learn new skills in developing clients, supplier relationships and networking. Also your work must take priority – normal life may get subordinated.

With increasing technology, traditional jobs will disappear at an escalating rate. Career cycles will become shorter and shorter, even for highly qualified professionals.

In many major intersections in India’s major cities, the unskilled stand on corners hoping to get day-work to maintain their frugal lifestyle. With less social security, in twenty years time, this could be happening in major cities around the world.

Sooner or later, you will need to look at being self-employed as your traditional work options dry-up. Spread your risk now and look at self-employment before all your peers. Don’t just be another ‘Me too’, get ahead of the pack!