02 Mar 2020
Young people in Malaysia are proactively taking action to tackle global issues and say they want to pursue careers that make a difference, according to new research from Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge International).
Over 11,000 students around the world aged 13 to 19 took part in Cambridge International’s first-ever Global Perspectives survey and shared their views on global issues, how they learn about them, and how their awareness of these issues might impact their future career choices.
A student’s perspective on global issues
Four out of five Malaysian students (79%) who responded to the survey said they would like to pursue a career that allows them to make a positive contribution towards solving a pressing global issue. And more than three quarters (77%) said they will consider a potential employer’s attitude towards their most important global issue.
Malaysian students are motivated to make a difference with 94% saying they take some form of individual action to tackle their top issue of concern. These include sharing information with family and friends, making changes to their own lifestyle and encouraging others to make lifestyle changes.
Climate change a major concern
Over a quarter (26%) of Malaysian students identified climate change as the biggest issue faced by the world today, which aligns with sentiments of students around the globe. Pollution (including plastic waste) came second in the poll, with 19% of Malaysian students choosing this.
“The results do not come as a surprise, for students are suffering the effects of global issues such as climate change and pollution. In fact, plastic waste floating freely in rivers and frequent occurrence of flash floods are common sights now in many Malaysian cities. This is why it is important for our next generation to be armed with the necessary tools and knowledge to combat these issues.” said Ben Schimdt, the Regional Director Southeast Asia & Pacific, Cambridge International.
Furthermore, he added: “The results in Malaysia show one key insight – that Malaysian students are aware of their surroundings and view climate change as a big challenge for the world today. We are encouraged by this, because as educators, we hope to instil the right skillsets that enable them to effectively address these issues, which comes hand-in-hand when pursuing knowledge.”
Understanding the global issues
Around a third of young people surveyed in Malaysia said they don’t learn about global issues in school, but almost all (98%) felt it is important to learn about them in lessons. Of those who said they do learn about them in school, almost a third discuss them at least once a week. Other statistics show that charities and organisations are trusted sources of information for students, while two thirds (68%) of those surveyed in Malaysia said they believe major issues, like climate change and pollution, will be worse by 2030.
Christine Özden, Chief Executive, Cambridge International, said: “In a world that is constantly evolving with some huge global challenges ahead, we feel that it is even more important that students not only engage with key global issues, but develop the skills to research, discuss and evaluate the facts, and work with others to understand different perspectives around the world. “Cambridge Global Perspectives™ equips students with the essential skills they need for further study at university and for the future world of work. We look forward to giving many more schools and students the opportunity to learn about this unique programme during Cambridge Global Perspectives Week.”
Cambridge Global Perspectives is a unique and stimulating programme that provides an opportunity for students aged 5 to 19 to think and learn more about the topics and global issues they care about. It focuses on enabling students to develop life-long skills like critical thinking, research, collaboration and evaluation.
The survey was conducted leading up to Cambridge Global Perspectives Week, which runs from 1-7 March 2020.