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The Widening Global Skills Gap

The global skills gap -- the difference between the type of skills students and workers currently possess and the skills employers will need in 2015 and beyond -- continues to widen.

Earlier this week came the announcement that International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector development arm of the World Bank, would "launch a $2bn initiative aimed at narrowing the skills gap among young people in the Arab world." The situation is acute in Arab countries:

"The region suffers from the highest youth unemployment in the world at more than 25 per cent, while labor force participation rates are only 35 per cent compared with 52 per cent internationally, according to a report by McKinsey, the consultants, commissioned by the IFC."

The problem is not confined to less developed countries. The Australian cites a government report calling for an "overarching blueprint for action on language, literacy and numeracy," and goes on to say:

"International studies have shown that over the past two decades, Australia's literacy and numeracy skill levels have stagnated while those of other countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, have improved."

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Source: Huffpost World, 19 April 2011.

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