Schoolchildren in the developing world might be better equipped for the demands of the 21st century than their European and American counterparts, because they are adapting faster to changing needs, a new report suggests.

The report, from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), sounds a new alarm for educators charged with ensuring their students are prepared to compete in the new global economy.

U.S. and European schoolchildren are losing ground to countries such as China and India that are adapting faster to changing needs and producing...

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