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Showing posts from December, 2012

OECD Education Today… and tomorrow

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byBarbara Ischinger
Director for Education

If you want to know what we’ve been doing over the past year or so, I invite you to take a look at the latest edition of Education Today 2013: The OECD Perspective. It covers the most important results and policy recommendations that have emerged from our work in early childhood education, compulsory schooling, higher education and lifelong learning. It also discusses such overarching topics as equity of opportunity, the benefits of education, and innovation.

When we think of innovation in education these days, we immediately think of technology: getting more computers into more classrooms, offering online courses to students in higher education. But as Education Today points out, while the industry for digital educational tools is growing, fewer than half of the specialised companies in that industry operate in the formal primary and secondary school sector. The report also notes that just because there are ICT devices in the classroom, it do…

How does class size vary around the world?

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Elisabeth Villoutreix
Communications Officer, Directorate for Education
Class size is a hotly-debated topic and continues to be at the forefront of the educational and political agenda in many countries. Smaller classes are favored by parents and teachers alike. But they come at a price, countries can spend their money only once and money spent on smaller classes can’t be spent on better teacher salaries, more instruction time, better opportunities for the professional development of teachers...
So what's the magic formula? What is the  ideal class size? Is smaller necessarily better?

The latest issue of Education Indicators in Focus shows that at the lower secondary level  among all OECD countries with comparable data, the average class size varies from 20 students or fewer in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Switzerland (public institutions) and the United Kingdom, to more than 34 students in Korea. The contrast is even more striking in other G20 countrie…

China – what will remain when the dust around economic expansion has settled?

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by Andreas Schleicher
Deputy Director for Education and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary General
I recently met Vice Mayor Fu Yonglin of Chengdu, one of the key drivers behind the rapid educational transformation that his municipality has seen over the last years. I was struck by his take on how China’s power and role in the World would - when all the dust about economic expansion will have settled - not be primarily determined by what and how many goods China produces, but by what China will be able to contribute to the global knowledge pool and to global culture.

In a country where the average graduate takes home a salary of RMB 2900, roughly what a maid in the main metropolitan areas gets after three meals, money is clearly not the only motivator for the immense value which society places on education, and it seems China’s political and social leaders continue to be able to persuade their citizens to value education, their future, more than consumption…

Implementing educational reform in China

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

On the invitation of China's National Institute for Educational Sciences (NIES), I spent some days in Beijing to learn more about education policy and practice in China. As always, this was a very rewarding experience. I met with various teams of educational policy-analysts, researchers and educators in Beijing to provide advice on their work and discuss global trends in education policy and practice. They do not seem to get tired of learning from other countries and cultures as systematically as possible, with strong and consistent efforts not only to do discipline-based international benchmarking but also to incorporate the results of that benchmarking into policy and practice. The Institute is just finalising an impressive study on reform trends in the G20 members, and that work is no longer about emulating what other G20 nations are doing but about lea…

What do students expect to do after finishing upper secondary school?

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by Guillermo Montt
Analyst, Directorate for Education

The expansion of the knowledge-based economy and technological progress has created a large market of highly paid jobs for individuals who are highly skilled. Moreover, in much of the industrialised world, the demand for highly-skilled individuals is rising faster than supply, as mirrored in rising wage premia on university-level qualifications. Leveraging the talent of all individuals, whatever their social background, must therefore be an important goal for educators and policy makers alike.

The latest edition of PISA in Focus summarises findings from the PISA Report Grade Expectations: How Marks and Education Policies Shape Students’ Ambitions. PISA reveals that the range of educational expectations that students hold in different countries striking: In Korea, four out of five 15-year-olds expect to graduate from university, while in Latvia it is one out of four. Despite the major changes in skill requirements that most labour-ma…