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Showing posts from April, 2015

The global talent pool has taken on a dramatically different look

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by Dirk Van Damme
Head of the Innovation and Measuring Progress division, Directorate for Education and Skills




The world is living through one of its most extraordinary revolutions, with game-changing implications, many of them still unknown. The growth rate of adults with tertiary education qualifications, and the knowledge and skills associated with them, has never been higher. In 2013, on average across OECD countries, 25% of 55-64 year-olds had a tertiary qualification, but 40% of 25-34 year-olds had an increase of 15 percentage points over 30 years. But among OECD countries, differences are huge. Some countries had expanded their education systems a century ago, while others started to offer opportunities for tertiary education only recently.
The location of human capital matters: in the 20th century, the United States and several other countries were able to benefit from the pool of skilled people in their populations to progress economically and socially at a much higher rate t…

Literacy for life

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

As jobs increasingly involve analysing and communicating information, individuals with poor literacy skills are more likely to find themselves at risk. Poor proficiency in these skills limits adults’ access to many basic services, to better-paying and more-rewarding jobs, and to the possibility of participating in further education and training, which is crucial for developing and maintaining skills over the working life and beyond.

On this Leaders for Literacy Day, I want to share some findings from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills. The survey finds, for example, that the median hourly wage of workers scoring at the highest levels in literacy (Level 4 or 5 in the survey) – those who can make complex inferences and evaluate subtle truth claims or arguments in written texts – is more than 60% higher than for workers scoring at Level 1 or below – those who can, at best, read relatively short texts to locate a single pie…

A mini-milestone for PISA in Focus

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by Marilyn Achiron 
Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills

It seems like only yesterday…but it was, in fact, 50 months ago that we started our PISA in Focus series. Over these past four years we’ve mined PISA 2009 and PISA 2012 results to highlight some of the most important findings and stories from the triennial international survey of 15-year-old students – from the importance of early childhood education to the effect of family background on students’ education to whether or not doing homework is really beneficial (in general, PISA finds that yes, it really is…).

This month, PISA in Focus examines the impact of good teacher-student relations on both students’ well-being and performance. It’s not surprising that when students feel that their teachers are interested in them and support them they feel happier at school and often do better in school. What is surprising is that in several OECD countries, fewer than 60% of students attend schools whose principal reported that mathe…

Gender equality in education

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by Tracey Burns
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

To mark International Women’s Day the OECD released an impressive new analysis on gender and education. Using PISA 2012 data, the report looked at where gender equality still eludes us: boys do less well in reading while girls are less likely to imagine a career in science and technology, even when they are top achievers in those subjects.

What are some of the other ways in which gender is important in education? A just released Trends Shaping Education Spotlight starts with the obvious: The vast majority of teachers are female across the OECD. This is most marked in pre-primary and primary education, where approximately 8 out of 10 teachers are women. In secondary education, 68% of lower secondary teachers in TALIS countries are female, and in countries like Estonia and the Slovak Republic, more than 80% of teachers are women.
Is this important? Among journalists and policy-makers, there is a penchant to connect the lower …

Skills will drive inclusive economic growth in Portugal

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by Andreas Schleicher Director, Directorate for Education and Skills
Skills and human capital are the bedrock upon which Portugal is building a new bridge to growth.

Portugal is recovering from the most serious economic and financial crisis the country has experienced in recent history. The reform agenda over the past few years has been ambitious, comprehensive and challenging.

Awareness is now growing among policy makers, employers and households that Portugal’s future economic and social well-being will depend upon securing equitable and high-quality education and jobs while promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.

Portugal is on the road to recovery

Signs of Portugal’s recovery can be seen across the board. Youth unemployment and long-term joblessness rates are falling, even if levels remain too high. Job creation is picking up, and the majority of new jobs created in 2014 were on permanent contracts, which is a good indication that Portugal’s longstanding labour market dualism ha…