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Showing posts from January, 2017

Social inequalities in education are not set in stone

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by Carlos González-Sancho
Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Most people see social inequities in education as stubbornly persistent. Children of wealthy and highly educated parents tend to do better in school than children from less-privileged families. Even though historic progress has been made in providing schooling that is universal and free-of-charge, disparities in families’ capacity to support their children (including by getting them into good schools) continue to translate into differences in children’s achievements. And with income inequality at its highest level in 30 years, the socio-economic disparities between families have widened. For instance, today in OECD countries, the richest 10% of the population earns about 10 times the income of the poorest 10%, while in the 1980s this ratio stood at 7 to 1. The growing gap between rich and poor can lead to greater differences in education opportunities because, as income inequality increases, disadvantaged fami…

Who are the winners and losers of the expansion of education over the past 50 years?

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by Dirk Van Damme
Head of the Innovation and Measuring Progress Division, Directorate for Education and Skills



Modern education systems, which are open to the middle classes and the poor, not just the elites, were established during the first industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. The growing demand for elementary literacy and technical skills during that period prompted an expansion of school systems and the adoption of the first pieces of legislation on compulsory education. Popular education continued to grow during the first half of the 20th century, corresponding to the so-called “second industrial revolution”, which was ignited by advances in science and technology. In the early 20th century, attainment of primary education became nearly universal, and the system of secondary education began to grow. 

But the great surge in the expansion of education in developed nations, specifically in secondary education, occurred in the wake of World War II, and more specifically…

How student attitudes towards the value of education can be shaped by careers education – evidence from the OECD’s PISA study

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by Anthony Mann 
Director of Policy and Research, Education and Employers Taskforce, London, UK
Dr Elnaz T. Kashefpakdel 
Senior Researcher, Education and Employers Taskforce, London, UK

As governments around the world seek to tackle stubbornly high levels of youth unemployment, new attention has been focused on the relationship between education and employment. Both researchers and policy-makers have looked afresh at the capacity of employers to engage in education and training to improve young people’s preparation for the adult working world. Building on two landmark reports, Learning for Jobsand Skills beyond School, the OECD is itself in the midst of a multi-year, multi-country study of work-based learning looking initially at the engagement of employers in apprenticeship provision aimed at youth at risk and incentives for apprenticeship. Last year saw the publication in the UK of a government-sponsored literature review looking at evidence, from OECD countries since 1996, using Rando…

Building strong partnerships to tackle Mexico’s skills challenges

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by Gabriela Ramos
Chief of Staff, OECD


Skills are central to the future prosperity and well-being of Mexico’s people 

Skills are the foundation upon which Mexico must build future growth and prosperity. Mexico, being one of the youngest populations among OECD countries, has a strong demographic advantage and thus a unique window of opportunity. But it also faces common challenges to bring the skills of its population up to the requirements of the global digital economy.

The time to act is now. Mexico needs to boost the development, activation and use of skills to drive further innovation and inclusive growth while dealing more effectively with longstanding, but increasingly urgent issues, such as improving equity and reducing informality. To this end, the aim of current educational reform in Mexico is a must to provide quality education to all the individuals.

However, challenges remain. According to the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data many youth in Mexic…