At the RewirEd Summit in Dubai last December, the Education Commission, Generation Unlimited, UNICEF, and the World Data Lab launched the prototype of a powerful new data and advocacy tool: the World Skills Clock monitors learning and skills trajectories globally and at the country level using a real-time data model. As an interactive webtool, the clock provides estimation, projection, and visualization of worldwide data related to children and youth reaching certain learning and skills benchmarks. The World Skills Clock is free and accessible to everyone online and serves as an important advocacy tool to highlight the critical need to prioritize education in the global recovery at key international moments such as the UN Transforming Education Summit, the World Economic Forum, the G20, and COP27.
Why do we need a World Skills Clock?
The world is seriously off-track in meeting the goals of SDG 4, and without significant change, by 2030, half of all children and youth will not have the basic skills required to play a productive role in society. The alarming scale of the learning crisis has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and needs urgent action to avoid, as the UN Secretary-General has said, “a generational catastrophe.”
Gaps in availability and real-time presentation of education data have been major bottlenecks to tracking and monitoring progress in the sector. This has affected the ability of national and international actors to identify areas of urgent need, advocate for, and ensure accountability for achieving results. Now more than ever, it is critical to measure and identify where children and young people are falling behind.
The World Skills Clock aims to mobilize new momentum for urgent action towards achieving greater progress on SDG 4 in this decisive decade. It complements tracking of other SDGs including the World Poverty Clock (SDG 1) and the World Hunger Clock (SDG 2). In its current form, it measures the number of youth who are not meeting basic secondary education level skills as well as digital skills.
By providing real-time data on the status of skills development around the world, the World Skills Clock will:
- Raise awareness: bolster our current understanding of the global state of education and skills, while informing strategic directions for future policy proposals.
- Spark dialogue: drive global and local conversations about the importance of education and investing in youth learning opportunities across the globe.
- Support advocacy: unite and support global education advocates by providing them with real time data, projections and analysis.
- Enhance and expand assessment: provide an impetus to measure and visualize wider skills which are crucial for 21st century opportunities, including transferable skills.
- Link to other sectors: provide opportunities to link education to other global development priorities and SDGs.
How can you be part of the World Skills Clock?
We invite interested organizations to join us on this exciting journey. Over time the World Skills Clock will be extended to include forecasts of alternative pathways – describing scenarios with rapid, medium, or stalled development – as well as provide more data disaggregation by gender, income, and urban/rural location. It will be expanded to including additional skills needed for work and life.
In 2022 we aim to launch a full version of the World Skills Clock with the following features:
- Costing and financing data and insights: what does it cost to close the skills gap
- More disaggregation of data: showcase data based on gender, income, and urban/rural
- Granular country-level information: country report cards will provide detailed information
- New visualizations: a new look and more features on the World Skills Clock website
The World Skills Clock Initiative invites additional partners to build the World Skills Clock and develop wider action tracks such as developing country roadmaps, costing and financing of learning expansion pathways (including the use of digital learning), and building coalitions and advocacy for policy action and progress. For more information, please contact Madelyn Cunningham (firstname.lastname@example.org).