Building on strong foundations of numeracy and literacy, global competencies at CMEC is a pan-Canadian effort to prepare students for a complex and unpredictable future with rapidly changing political, social, economic, technological, and ecological landscapes.

The ambiguity and uncertainty of these changes signal the urgency for educational institutions to provide younger generations with the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes that they will need to become lifelong learners, to understand issues of global interdependence and to be active global citizens. Global competencies will assist them in being able to meet the shifting and ongoing demands of life, work, and learning; being active and responsive to their communities at a range of levels from local to global; leveraging new technologies; engaging in meaningful relationships with people from countries and cultures around the world; acting responsibly to new challenges and issues; and embracing opportunities that do not yet exist.

There is growing recognition that global competencies promote deeper learning by equipping students with the necessary tools to adapt to diverse situations and become lifelong learners. These key competencies can be interdependent and leveraged in a variety of situations and across disciplines; moreover, they contribute to educational attainment, relationships, employment, health, and well-being outcomes. After all, there is an increasing number of jobs requiring both discipline-specific skills (cognitive competencies) and people skills and self-knowledge (interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies). Additionally, the development of global competencies increases understanding of the global economic, social, political, technological and environmental forces that transcend national boundaries. This understanding is imperative in preparing students to live, work and contribute to a world that is increasingly interdependent.

As a result, a clear and relevant definition of global competencies for students in the pan-Canadian context is absolutely essential to support future discussions on fostering and measuring these competencies across provincial and territorial education systems. To that end, ministers have endorsed the following six pan-Canadian global competencies:

  • critical thinking and problem solving
  • innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship
  • learning to learn/self-awareness and self-direction
  • collaboration
  • communication
  • global citizenship and sustainability

Global competencies are overarching sets of attitudes, skills, and knowledge that can be interdependent, interdisciplinary, and leveraged in a variety of situations both locally and globally. The six pan-Canadian global competencies can be developed over time and they equip learners with the ability to meet the shifting and ongoing demands of life, work and learning, to be active and responsive in their communities, to understand diverse perspectives, and to act on issues of global significance.

Ministers noted the significant alignment between these six pan-Canadian global competencies and the competencies that their jurisdictions have prioritized through the introduction of new curriculum, programs, and initiatives. Subsequently, the details of the competency descriptions may continue to evolve as jurisdictions work with these competencies individually and collectively in curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment. It is also important for education systems across Canada to actively work towards fostering these global competencies in a context reflective of Indigenous knowledge, perspectives, languages, and histories.

CMEC looks forward to continuing its work on the global competencies built on foundational skills of literacy and numeracy, which are necessary to create a sustainable future and to succeed in today’s complex, interconnected, and ever-changing world.