‘Good fences make good neighbors’ says Robert Frost’s protagonist in ‘’Mending wall’. Frost himself was not so sure. Barriers in education – like barriers between people - are not what cities and regions need in our time: rather what they need is better collaboration between the vocational and the university sectors for social and economic development. A very good example of this is the area of lifelong learning. Lifelong learning does not fit well with a system based on barriers and divisions even when they are pragmatic and blurred. Learners need to move from one sector to another in different moments of their life and tertiary education systems don’t always allow that.
Vocational and the university sectors can collaborate through updating and upgrading workers’ skills in firms, sharing business links for apprenticeships and internships, establishing dual programmes with the business sector, to name but a few. The range of possibilities for collaboration is very large and it goes from lifelong learning and skills development to creating partnerships to boost innovation in their cities and regions.
Institutional divisions between vocational and university education are unlikely to disappear, but the OECD through its reviews on Higher Education for Regional and City development provides international evidence of increased blurring of the boundaries. Last week we jointly hosted an International Seminar on the “Collaboration between Vocational and University Education for Regional Development” in San Sebastian in Spain. During the seminar we had the opportunity to see that some experts still claim a clear separation between institutions providing vocational skills and institutions providing academic knowledge, which has been traditionally the role of universities. In contrast, and during the same seminar, practitioners, policymakers and the business sector pushed universities to play other roles and to collaborate with other stakeholders.
Universities today need to be prepared to leave the ivory tower. The capacity to compete in the global knowledge economy depends on whether countries and regions can collaborate together meet the demand for high-level skills. There is room for the pines as well as for the apple orchard.
Photo: OECD/IMHE International Seminar “Collaboration between Vocational and University Education: Building Partnerships for Regional Development.” Left to right: Bernard HUGONNIER, Deputy-Director for Education, OECD; Isabel CELAÁ, Basque Minister of Education, Universities and Research, Basque Country; Iñaki GOIRIZELAIA, Rector of the University of the Basque Country, ES; Màrius RUBIRALTA, General Secretary for Universities, Ministry of Education, ES; Cristina URIARTE, University of the Basque Country, ES. Credit: UPV/EHU University of Basque Country.
By Andreas Schleicher Director, Directorate for Education and Skills
Innovation and problem solving depend increasingly on the ability to synthesise disparate elements to create something different and unexpected. This involves curiosity, open-mindedness and making connections between ideas that previously seemed unrelated. It also requires knowledge across a broad range of fields. If we spend our entire lives in the silo of a single discipline, we will not gain the imaginative skills necessary to connect the dots and develop the next life-changing invention.
For schools, then, the challenge is to remain true to disciplines while encouraging interdisciplinary learning and building students’capacity to see problems through multiple lenses. Some countries have been trying to develop cross-curricular capabilities. Japan’s network of Kosen schools is a unique example.
Its president, Isao Taniguchi, showed me around the Tokyo campus last week, and it was one of my most inspiring school visi…
by Andreas Schleicher Director, Directorate for Education and Skills
In 2015, 193 countries committed to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, a shared vision of humanity that provides the missing piece of the globalisation puzzle. The extent to which that vision becomes a reality will in no small way depend on what is happening in today’s classrooms. Indeed, it is educators who hold the key to ensuring that the SDGs become a real social contract with citizens.
Goal 4, which commits to quality education for all, is intentionally not limited to foundation knowledge and skills, such as literacy, mathematics and science, but emphasises learning to live together sustainably. This has inspired the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the global yardstick for success in education, to include global competence in its metrics for quality, equity and effectiveness in education. PISA will assess global competence for the first time ev…
Interview with Matthew D’Ancona, political columnist for the Guardian and the New York Times by Marilyn Achiron, Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills
“Learning how to navigate the web with discernment is the most pressing cultural mission of our age.” So asserts Matthew D’Ancona, political columnist for the Guardian and the New York Times, in his timely and passionately argued new book, Post-Truth: The War on Truth and How to Fight Back. D’Ancona writes that he sees his book as an exploration of “the declining value of truth as society’s reserve currency” and asks: “So what happens when lies not only proliferate but also seem to matter less – or even not at all?” We met with D’Ancona in June, when he spoke at the OECD Forum in Paris.
Marilyn Achiron: How can schools help educate young people to be able to tell fact from fiction when they’re using the Internet?
Matthew D’Ancona: It’s a bit like be given a car without being taught to drive, isn’t it? Kids have access to digital dev…