Showing posts from May, 2012

What will the global talent pool look like in 2020?

by Pedro Garcia de León, Corinne Heckmann, and Gara Rojas González 
Innovation and Measuring Progress Division, Directorate for Education

The “global talent pool” can be described in a lot of different ways.  But in an era in which having a higher (tertiary) education is increasingly a minimum requirement for successful entry into the labour force, one way to quantify it is to look at the number of people around the world who are obtaining a higher education degree.

As the latest issue of the OECD’s series Education Indicators in Focus details, by that measure, the global talent pool is exploding across OECD and G20 countries. What’s more, it’s likely to grow far larger by the year 2020.

In the last decade alone, the number of younger adults with higher education degrees has grown at a remarkably fast clip. This is particularly true for non-OECD G20 countries like Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, where the number of 25-34 …

Are Teachers Getting the Recognition They Deserve?

by Kristen Weatherby
Senior Analyst, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

More and more countries are having discussions about how to evaluate the quality of their teaching workforce and, subsequently, how to reward teachers for their work. The OECD’s newest series of briefs, Teaching in Focus, launches this month with a discussion of the appraisal and feedback teachers receive and the impact of both on their teaching.

Teaching is often thought to be an isolating profession, with teachers receiving little or no feedback that enables them to improve their teaching practice. Data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)  supports this claim in many countries, indicating that more than one in five of all teachers in the 24 countries surveyed report never received a formal appraisal of their teaching practice. Indeed even those teachers who are receiving formal appraisals may not ever learn the results of those appraisals. In several countries, teachers repor…

Taking stock of education and skills: the youth perspective

With his vantage point at the helm of the largest youth platform in the world, European Youth Forum (YFJ) President Peter Matjašič is well placed to assess the state of education and skills across Europe. Indeed, the YFJ represents millions of young people by way of national councils from Iceland to Azerbaijan, lobbying such important international bodies as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations to adopt policies that are in the best interests of European youth.

Educationtoday met with him at the OECD Forum to get his views on the state of young people's education and skills across the continent today.

educationtoday:How can today's students and young workers prepare themselves for rapidly evolving labour markets? 

Peter  Matjašič: The YFJ has been working on education since its inception fifteen years ago, focusing on quality and equality of access. We have a holistic view of education. Formal education must be supplemented by non-formal education, b…

Skills revolution will come from the grassroots

Sanjit Bunker Roy figured out pretty early on that it does, indeed, take a village; in fact, it takes a village to keep a village. He founded the Barefoot College in India in 1972 on the premise that for any rural development activity to be successful and sustainable, it must be both based in the village and managed and owned by those whom it serves. The College, a non-governmental organisation, serves rural men and women of all ages, all of whom are barely literate (if at all) and have no hope of getting even the lowest government job, by providing training in such skills as solar engineering, water drilling, hand-pump engineering, masonry, architecture, and computing.

Marilyn Achiron, Editor of the Education Department caught up with Roy when he was in Paris to speak at the OECD Forum. He’s not one to mince his words:

“We are facing a disaster of monumental proportions,” says Roy. “We’re training people to leave the village, not to stay in the village. We’re encouraging migration at…

Hong Kong’s success in PISA – One system, many actors

by Andreas Schleicher
Deputy Director for Education and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary General
Hong Kong is perhaps the PISA top-performer about which I knew the least. So, on the invitation of the authorities, I took a few days of annual leave to learn more about this system. It turned out to be a very rewarding experience. What interested me most was to find out how Hong Kong, with its market-driven approach in virtually every field of public service, had been able to combine high levels of student performance with a high degree of social equity in the distribution of educational opportunities.

With the majority of schools run by private entities, the government has few levers for direct intervention and parents have a powerful influence on schools, both through their choice of schools (though still banded) and through local control. They sit on school management committees, parent-teacher associations and on home-school co-operation committees. Perma…

“I’ve been driven by goals”

Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, was in Paris this week to speak on entrepreneurship and skills at the OECD Forum. She was interviewed by Marilyn Achiron, Editor of the Education Department.
In 2001, a 24-year-old Ellen MacArthur fulfilled a 20-year dream and sailed, single-handedly non-stop around the world in the Vendée Globe. Not only did she achieve her goal, she also came in second in one of the hardest races in sailing. Three years later, she broke the speed record for circumnavigating the globe, alone, on a trimaran.
Today, MacArthur has set herself another challenge: to change, fundamentally, how we think about and use the world’s resources. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, established in 2010, links education and business in a drive towards a circular economy. The idea of the circular economy is based on “systems thinking”, the acknowledgement that nothing occurs in a vacuum; that context matters. And the context we’re all living in right now is th…

Better skills and better policies lead to better lives for women

by Michelle Bachelet
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
The global economic crisis, with high levels of unemployment, especially among youth, and rising inequality, with large wage gaps between high- and low-skilled workers, has added urgency to the need for better skills. This is especially important for women, who already face barriers to participating fully in the economy. Investing in their skills from early childhood, through compulsory education, and throughout their working life can transform women’s lives and drive economies. Equally important are better policies to promote equal rights and opportunities and women’s full participation in public life.

Investment in skills is particularly important during these tough economic times.  Skilled workers play a crucial role in generating future jobs and economic growth. Women’s entry into the labour market has been an important driver of European economic growth in the past decade. Research finds…

Discussing education and skills with the 2012 OECD Global Youth Competition winners

The winners of the 2012 OECD Video Competition hail from no fewer than three continents and four very different countries: Uganda, India, South Korea and Australia. Yet despite this, the videos they made on education and skills all highlight the need for major change in education systems if they are to provide young people with the skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century.

Kato Jonan, 24, (Uganda) Rachit Sai Barak, 20 (India), Sharon Chan, 24 (Australia), and Young Bu Kwon, 25 (Korea), sat down with us to expand on their views on education and skills.

educationtoday:Your videos all touch on the inadequacies of formal education. In what ways can schools better equip young people with the skills they need to have successful careers and be engaged citizens?

Rachit: Schools are competitive and stressful in India. The government treats young people as a future resource rather than treating them as a stakeholder. The focus should be on providing youth with life skills.

Kato: Students see…

Business in-a-box: a global skills solution

by John Hope Bryant 
Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, bestselling Inc. Magazine/CEO READ business author for Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass)

OECD has just launched their OECD Skills Strategy, which I fully support. I call it the global-common-sense-plan-for-educational-relevancy.The OECD Skills Strategy seeks to powerfully re-connect the power of education with youth aspirations globally, maybe for the first time in a generation.  Quoting my friend Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, in his breakthrough book The Coming Jobs War, "this is the playoff game for the rest of our lives."

The roots of the crisis now gripping Greece, and Europe in general, is not social it's economics and jobs. The main complaint of the Occupy Movement is is economic in nature…

Everybody into the talent pool

by Marilyn Achiron 
Editor, Directorate for Education

The OECD has just formulated a Skills Strategy to help countries make the most of their peoples’ talents.

How does one even begin to consider an issue as complex as skills? We found that visualising the supply of skills as a talent pool helps. The idea is to create a larger and larger pool of people who have fully developed their skills, encourage those people to supply their skills to the labour market, and then ensure that those skills are used effectively on the job. This new animated video will show you what we mean. 

To download the report:  Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives: The OECD Skills Strategy   – and much find out more about skills and skills policies around the world – visit our interactive skills web portal:

Follow the launch of the Skills Strategy and join the debates on @OECD_Edu#OECDSkills

It all starts with building the right skills

by Andreas Schleicher
Deputy Director for Education and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary General

Skills transform lives and drive economies. Without the right skills, people are kept on the margins of society, technological progress does not translate into economic growth, and countries can’t compete in today’s economies. But the toxic co-existence of unemployed graduates and employers who say that they cannot find the people with the skills they need, shows that skills don't automatically translate into better economic and social outcomes. The OECD has put together a strategy that helps countries transform skills into better jobs and better lives.

It all starts with building the right skills. Anticipating the evolution of the demand for labour is the essential starting point. We then need to improve the quality of learning outcomes, by putting a premium on skills-oriented learning throughout life instead of qualifications-focused education upfront. Th…

What should students learn in the 21st century?

By Charles Fadel
Founder & chairman, Center for Curriculum Redesign
Vice-chair of the Education committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee(BIAC) to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Visiting scholar, Harvard GSE, MIT ESG/IAP and Wharton/Penn CLO

It has become clear that teaching skills requires answering “What should students learn in the 21st century?” on a deep and broad basis. Teachers need to have the time and flexibility to develop knowledge, skills, and character, while also considering the meta-layer/fourth dimension that includes learning how to learn, interdisciplinarity, and personalisation. Adapting to 21st century needs means revisiting each dimension and how they interact:

Knowledge - relevance required: Students’ lack of motivation, and often disengagement, reflects the inability of education systems to connect content to real-world experience. This is also critically important to economic and social needs, not only students…

Another perspective on teachers’ pay

by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education

Thanks largely to the OECD’s work in compiling internationally comparable data on education,  the issue of teachers’ pay has quietly crept up the political agenda in more than a few countries (take the recent French presidential election and the current US presidential campaign, to name just two). PISA takes the discussion a step further. It asks: does basing teachers’ pay on their effectiveness as teachers help to improve an education system’s overall performance?

As this month’s PISA in Focus notes, about half of OECD countries reward teacher performance in different ways. For example, in the Czech Republic, England, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden and Turkey, outstanding teaching performance is a criterion for decisions on a teacher’s position on the base salary scale. In the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the Slovak Republic, it is a criterion for deciding on supple…

It’s a small world indeed

by Barbara Ischinger
Director for Education
Earlier this week I attended the Transforming Education Summit  in the Emirate state of Abu Dhabi. Some 15 ministers and former ministers from all regions of the world, from countries in all stages of development found—perhaps surprisingly—a lot they could agree on when it comes to education: the importance of raising the status of the teaching profession so that qualified candidates apply, the need to strike a better gender balance among teachers at all levels of education, and the need for trust in education systems—trust between governments and teachers, and trust between parents and teachers.

What this says to me is that our expertise in education policy can and should be shared more widely; and the OECD stands ready to work with non-member countries as they seek to improve their education systems. Already, 29 of the 75 countries and economies that participated in PISA in 2009-10 were recipients of Official Development Assistance. And we …