Showing posts from January, 2013

Creativity in schools: what countries do (or could do)

by Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin
Senior Analyst and Project Leader, Directorate for Education

Are we really serious when we say that schools should nurture creativity and other skills for innovation? An increasing number of countries see fostering of creativity and critical thinking as the next educational challenge: traditional good grades may no longer suffice to equip the workforce with the skills needed to fuel innovation-driven economic growth.

The recent international OECD-CCE-Singapore workshop gave 30 education decision-makers from 12 countries the opportunity to share the lessons from Asian educational initiatives aiming to foster pupils’ creativity and critical thinking. While most of these initiatives build on project-based, research-based, and other active pedagogies, some start to use design thinking methods to scaffold the learning of innovation skills.

Singapore and Korea are two good examples of countries emphasising creativity, critical thinking and character building in thei…

What you get out of schooling is often what you put in

by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education
Does having a positive attitude towards school make it more likely that a student will get good marks? Or does getting good marks make it more likely that a student will have a positive attitude towards school? The latest edition of PISA in Focus reports that the answer to both of those questions is yes: positive feelings about school are often linked in a virtuous circle with high performance. According to results from PISA 2009, across OECD countries, nearly nine out of ten students think that school has taught them things that could be useful in a job, and around three-quarters of students think that school has prepared them for adult life and has helped to give them confidence to make decisions. In most countries, students who think school is useful are more likely to have high PISA test scores in reading; and students who have high scores in reading tend to report that they think school is useful. In 48 countries and economies, …

What are the social benefits of education?

Elisabeth Villoutreix
Communications Officer, Directorate for Education

The link between education and social benefits has long been recognised, as far back as Ancient Greece when Aristotle and Plato pointed out that education is central to the well-being of society. More recently, in the past few decades, research has supported this conventional wisdom, revealing that education not only enables individuals to perform better in the labour market, but also helps to improve their overall health, promote active citizenship and contain violence.

So how can education predict social outcomes such as life expectancy, civic engagement and general life satisfaction?

The latest issue of Education Indicators in Focus seeks to answer this question by comparing the social benefits of education in selected OECD countries.

Data show that life expectancy is strongly associated with education. On average, among 15 OECD countries with available data, a 30-year-old tertiary-educated man can expect to liv…

Dynamic educational data award

by Cassandra Davis and Lynda Hawe
Communications Coordinators, Directorate for Education

Spreading and sharing information is crucial. Doing so in an engaging and simple way is extremely powerful. Technological advances combined with creative new data visualisation tools allow complex data to be understood by everyone, even on a quick glance.  What a great skill it is to be able to identify trends and patterns in the data and then present them in a manner that is both accurate and an exciting watch!

Last September, at the launch of annual OECD Education at a Glance, we opened a competition challenge in collaboration with This required graphic designers to wrap their brains around a complex data set, in order to construct a clear and compelling visualisation, on the economic costs and returns on education.

The winners were Krisztina Szucs and Mate Cziner from Hungary. They were chosen for successfully breaking down the complex interplay between costs and returns into a …

Building the knowledge economy

by Justine Doody
Freelance Journalist and Editor, SGI News
Across the world, countries and citizens are taking steps to build and participate in the growing knowledge economy. As low skilled jobs disappear, replaced with smart systems or outsourced to less developed economies, governments are realising that the best way to ensure economic growth and higher employment is to invest in human capital. This means creating education opportunities for as many people as possible.

The OECD has found that throughout the global economic downturn, education level has been a predictor of job security. Between 2008 and 2010, unemployment in OECD countries rose from 8.8 per cent to 12.5 per cent for people with no upper secondary education, and from 4.9 per cent to 7.8 per cent for people with an upper secondary education. For those with tertiary education, unemployment increased from 3.3 per cent to only 4.7 per cent. Even in a time of economic crisis, OECD countries still needed highly skilled empl…