Generation Z: What are they and what might that mean for education? A pilot study in Belgium and Suriname.
Abstract: Based on marketing research, Generation Z (born roughly between 1995 and 2012) is hyped as different from previous generations (generations Y and before). They are, for example, often labelled ‘digital natives,’ (which scares especially older teachers). Based on 10 years of interviews and trendwatching, Ahlers J. and R. Boenders (2019) draft a profile of Generation Z. Our research focusses on the extent to which GenZ recognizes itself in that profile. Our findings, based on a survey (n=265) which was co-designed with upper secondary school learners (belonging to GenZ) and piloted in Flanders (Belgium) and Suriname suggest that GenZ is not a monolithic block. For example gender, subgroup (based on year of birth) and country of residence (Suriname or Belgium) had significant effects on aspects of the GenZ profile. High-quality education for GenZ is most certainly not just a matter of plugging in more ICT. But a redesign is called for: respondents listed academic outcomes third in a list of important things in their lives, after love and friends. At the same time only 4,69% of GenZ respondents included teachers in the people they admired and were influenced by.