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7 Shocking Statistics Illustrating the Importance of Global Education

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Technology has changed the world’s landscape.

President Barack Obama explains, “In a 21st-century world where jobs can be shipped wherever there’s an Internet connection ... a child born in Dallas is now competing with a child in New Delhi.”

As teachers, educators and mentors we need to prepare students for a world where borders between continents are blurred, where companies will be formed over the Internet and where learning about other cultures in classrooms will be as ubiquitous as learning to read.

To illustrate the urgency of teaching global education in your classroom, we have gathered seven statistics that just might surprise you.


  1. Sixty percent of secondary students ranked understanding different cultures the most important subject area, ahead of writing skills and math skills.
    • As technology makes our world more accessible, and because classrooms are increasingly diverse, students recognize the need to understand the cultures of others, as well as their own.
  2. Nearly all (98 percent) of students in a recent survey agreed that a strong understanding of world history and events is critical to developing solutions to a global problem.
    • Students are interested in being better global citizens. Learning about world events in the classroom allows them to study the past in order to change the future.
  3. Research shows that students who learn about global issues are more than twice as likely to see the importance of personally taking social action.
    • Global learning encourages awareness and critical thinking about issues such as poverty, climate change, religious and cultural differences, world trade and politics.
  4. Nine out of 10 students, teachers and industry leaders recognize that jobs are becoming increasingly international.
    • There is broad understanding that globalization results in companies that are more diverse than ever before.
  5. The number of multinational corporations rose from 7,000 in the 1990s to 65,000 in 2013.
    • Students are correct in recognizing that jobs are becoming increasingly international - because it’s true. The number of multinational corporations continues to rise as developments in technology and transportation revolutionize the work force.
  6. There are more than 1 billion people who speak Chinese, and only 508 million people who speak English.
  7. Only one-half of students in the U.S. study a world language compared to Europe where 90 percent of students study at least one foreign language.
    • European schools are creating bilingual students who will be seen as much more valuable to multinational companies. In the future, people will be expected to speak more than one language in order to successfully compete in the workplace. 

Let’s Change These Statistics Together

VIF Senior Research Associate Julie Keane, Ph.D, says, “I think engaging students with the world around them is oftentimes left out of the classroom.” Keane illustrates that global education should no longer be seen as an add-on to school curriculums. Instead, it should be easily integrated into core curriculums by creating interdisciplinary programs.

To seamlessly incorporate global education into your classroom, sign up for a free trial at where you will have access to globally themed lesson plans, professional development and our online community of teachers.

A global educator with 15 years of experience under her belt, Michelle Macumber spends her days working with VIF's Passport and Global Gateway programs, engaging with the learning center community and dabbling in social media. Addicted to travel, photography, volunteering and keeping really busy, this Canadian is proud to call North Carolina home!