Showing posts from May, 2013

What makes a NEET?

by Karinne Logez
Statistician, Directorate for Education and Skills

NEETS - young people aged between 15 and 29 years old who are not in employment, education or training - are a potential problem both for society and for themselves. The proportion of young people neither working nor studying offers an insight into how well economies manage the transition between school and work – better than youth unemployment rates, which do not take into account the numbers in education. It's especially illuminating when the figures are broken down into those who are still looking for work ("unemployed") and those who have dropped out of the labour market altogether ("inactive"). Particularly worrying are those in the very youngest age bracket – aged 15 to 19 – who may not have completed their secondary education and are disproportionately likely not even to be seeking work. There’s a risk they may never catch up with their better educated peers.

So what makes a NEET? And wha…

Getting our youth back to work

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

If there’s one lesson we’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that we cannot simply bail ourselves out of a crisis, we cannot solely stimulate ourselves out of a crisis and we cannot just print money our way out of a crisis. But we can become much better in equipping more people with better skills to collaborate, compete and connect in ways that drive our economies forward.

There is no group for whom this is more important than today’s young people. Between 2008 and 2011, the gap in unemployment rates between higher- and less-educated youth widened dramatically. While young people with advanced skills have weathered the crisis reasonably well, those without foundation skills have suffered. Unemployment among young people without a high school education soared 20% in Estonia and Ireland and 15% in Greece and Spain. The short-term impact on individuals, families and commu…

Earmarking Justice

by Justine Doody
Freelance Journalist and Editor, SGI News

In his State of the Union address on 12 February 2013, US President Barack Obama proposed a new initiative to improve access to high-quality early childhood education. The action is much needed: according to OECD figures from 2010, only 51 per cent of US children were enrolled in pre-primary education at age three, rising to 69 per cent at age four.

By comparison, in New Zealand, which became in 1986 the second country in the world to have its ministry of education take responsibility for early childhood education, 95 per cent of children in 2012 had been through an early childhood education programme before starting school at five years old.

Early childhood education is linked to improved prospects for future learning and employment. And, as the new Intergenerational Justice Index (IJI) study from the Bertelsmann Foundation's Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) project shows, it can help to level the playing field in t…

Evolving attitudes towards early childhood education

by Barbara Ischinger
Director for Education and Skills

I was in Berlin recently to launch the German edition of Starting Strong III at an international conference on early childhood education and care and was struck by the difference in attitudes I found there compared to even a decade ago. Given the effects of the economic crisis and the ageing of European populations, more governments are realising that it is becoming unsustainable to continue to expect – and encourage – young mothers to stay at home with their children until the age of five or six, when primary school begins. Eight or nine years ago, Germany, to name just one country, hadn’t yet come to grips with the broader role that young mothers could play in society. The German Lander have come to agree with the federal government that as of August 1, 2013 all parents should have the right to enroll their children at the age of one.

Of course, early childhood education is not just about encouraging half of the adult population …

The “urban advantage” in education

by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills

Nearly half the world’s population now lives in urban areas. What does that mean for education? Results from PISA indicate that that could be good news for students who go to school in those areas. As the latest edition of PISA in Focus points out, an “urban advantage” in student performance is evident in nearly every country and economy that participated in the PISA 2009 assessment. 
PISA has shown that while large cities can be a challenge to educators, they are mostly a boon, particularly when all students can take advantage of the wealth of cultural and social opportunities that big cities offer. PISA results also show that schools in urban areas differ from schools in less-populated areas – in ways that are usually associated with better student performance.
On average across OECD countries, students who attend schools in cities of more than 100 000 people perform better in PISA than students who attend schools in vil…