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Showing posts from April, 2016

Going grey, staying skilled

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by Marco Paccagnella
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD

The population is “greying” in most advanced countries as well as in some developing countries. Many governments are struggling to address the challenges resulting from this demographic transition, from rising costs of healthcare, to worries about the sustainability of pension systems.
Increased life expectancy represents one of the great achievements of modern societies: living longer and better has been a dream of past generations. At the same time, it implies changes to many aspects of life. To finance retirement incomes and aged care, many governments have reformed their pension provisions and are asking individuals to work longer for less-generous pensions and to contribute more to the costs of care. When such reforms are passed during times of sluggish economic growth and rising unemployment, they tend to create discontent not only among older workers (who may long to retire), but also among younger adults, …

How well are teachers doing in solving problems using ICT?

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


If one were to ask ministers of education what they consider to be the most important factor determining the quality of their education systems, the odds are high that they would refer to the quality of the teaching work force. The saying goes that the quality of an education system can never exceed that of its teachers. Ensuring that the most talented candidates are attracted to the teaching profession is now widely recognised to be the most effective strategy to improve education.

But how does one assess how teachers compare to the rest of the working population? We still lack reliable, robust and comparable measures of some of the essential elements of teachers’ knowledge and skills. A new tool developed by the OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, known as the Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning (ITEL) assessment, focuses on teachers’ pedagogical knowledge. It…

Colombia’s moment of truth

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

Colombia now has an historic opportunity to end one of the world’s longest-running armed conflicts. Will the country be able to seize this chance and realise its huge economic, social and cultural potential? That depends on nothing more than on what happens in Colombia’s classrooms.
Education is the foundation for lasting peace; and, as a new OECD report, Education in Colombia, shows, over the past 15 years, Colombia’s education system has undergone an extraordinary transformation.
Enrolments in both early childhood education and tertiary education have more than doubled over the period and school life expectancy has jumped by two years. Not only that, but Colombia has been one of the very few countries in the world that were able to enroll more children and raise the quality of learning outcomes at the same time. In fact, Colombia was among the top four countries to show a significant improvement in reading in the 20…

Making literacy everybody’s business

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by Andreas Schleicher Director, Directorate for Education and Skills


While poor literacy skills severely limit people’s access to better-paying and more rewarding jobs, data from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills also shows that individuals with poor literacy skills are far more likely than those with advanced literacy skills to report poor health, to believe that they have little impact on political processes, and not to participate in associative or volunteer activities.

Ensuring that all people have solid foundation skills has become one of the central aims of the post-2015 development agenda. This is not just about providing more people with more years of schooling; in fact, that’s only the first step. It is most critically about making sure that individuals acquire solid knowledge in key disciplines, that they develop creative, critical thinking and collaborative skills, and that they build character attributes, such as mindfulness, curiosity, courage and resilience. All of that bui…

Governing complex education systems

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by Tracey Burns
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD

Florian Koester
Consultant, Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD



What models of governance are effective in complex education systems? How can governments set priorities and design polices that balance responsiveness to local diversity with national education goals? And how do we ensure that there is trust, co-operation and communication between the multiple levels and actors in the system?
These are tough questions. Just published, Governing Education in a Complex World brings together state of the art research and insights from country experience to identify the elements necessary for effective education governance. The book challenges our traditional concepts of education governance through work on complexity, reform and new approaches to collaboration and decision-making. In doing so it sets the agenda for thinking about creating the open, dynamic and strategic approaches necessary for governing complex systems…

How far from the tree does the leaf fall?

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by Antonio Villar
Thomas J. Alexander Fellow & Universidad Pablo de Olavide



Equality of opportunity is a lofty ideal, but some societies get closer to achieving it than others. Regarding compulsory education, results from PISA show that socio-economically disadvantaged students in the OECD have much higher chances of being low performers than their socio-economically advantaged peers. And also, that they have much lower chances of being high performers.

PISA provides information on the competences acquired by 15-year-old students in some 65 countries and large economies. Those competences are classified into 6 different levels of proficiency, each one adding new competencies. Students in levels 5 and 6 are considered to be the high performers whereas those below Level 2 are regarded as the low performers. Level 2 is viewed as the baseline level concerning future outcomes in the labour market and social life. PISA also provides rich information on family characteristics of student…