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Showing posts from August, 2017

What happens with your skills when you leave school?

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


Moving from the world of school to the world of work is one of the most dramatic changes in the lives of young people. And for many youngsters this transition does not go smoothly. Spells of frictional or longer-term unemployment, job insecurity because of low-paid or temporary contracts, and the uncertainties associated with starting to live autonomously produce a challenging phase in young people’s lives. The most vulnerable people are those who fall between the two systems: the so-called NEETs (not in employment, education or training), who are no longer in school and are either unemployed or inactive. Some 6% of 15-19 year-olds in OECD countries – in other words, half of those of that age who have left school, or around 5 million young people – are NEET.


A new Education Indicators in Focus brief looks at the transition from school to work across different age groups. It re…

Do countries have to choose between more educated or better-educated children?

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by Francesco Avvisati
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

While Joana, a 15-year-old girl from Fortaleza in Brazil, was sitting the PISA test in 2015, her cousin, also 15 but living in the countryside, was busy working in the family business. In fact, by the time they turn 15, many adolescents in low- and middle-income countries are no longer enrolled in school (or have never been), particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. But soon, those children may be able to sit a PISA test specifically designed for out-of-school youth.

Increasing the educational attainment of young adults has been the focus of much effort over recent decades. But we all know that having children spend more time in school does not guarantee that every student will learn. For this reason, the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4), which defines the new global agenda for education and was adopted by the United Nations in September 2015, emphasises improvements in the quality of educa…

“Youth are not the future; they are the present”

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Interview with Oley Dibba-Wadda, Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) 
by Marilyn Achiron, Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills
Oley Dibba-Wadda is the dynamic (and first female) Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). The organisation’s mission is to assist in “the transformation of education and training to drive Africa’s accelerated and sustainable development”. We spoke with Dibba-Wadda in June when she participated in the OECD Forum in Paris.
Marilyn Achiron:What do you consider to be the greatest challenge facing African youth today? 

Oley Dibba-Wadda: The challenge that youth are facing, first and foremost, is skills for employability. It is a fundamental issue. What we have realised in education is that going to school has not necessarily translated into quality learning. The learning being taught in schools does not resonate with the current job market. Then there is the …

Improving education outcomes for Indigenous students

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by Andreas Schleicher 
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills 

Indigenous peoples are the first inhabitants of their lands, but are often poorly served by the education systems in their countries. Why? Is it necessary to wait until issues such as poverty or appropriate legal recognition for Indigenous peoples are resolved? Can education systems be expected to address Indigenous students’ needs relating to language, culture and identity? Can non-Indigenous teachers be effective teachers of Indigenous students? How can Indigenous parents have confidence that their children are safe at school and receiving a high-quality education?

Indigenous students do well in some schools more than in other schools and in some education systems more than in other education systems. Pockets of excellence and promising practices rarely translate across systems or across schools within a single education system. Thus, education systems and individual schools seldom learn from each other about what…

How education can spur progress towards inclusive growth

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills


Costa Rica is recognised across Latin America as a leader in education. The country was among the first in the region to enrol all children in primary school and combat adult illiteracy. Today, one in two young adults has completed secondary education, up from one in three among their parents’ generation. But, the demands placed on the skills of people have evolved as well. The overall context has become more challenging too: Economic growth has slowed, inequality is rising and productivity is weak in a labour market that shows a growing divide between a well-paid, high-skilled sector and a precarious informal economy. The OECD report, Education in Costa Rica, looks at how education can help Costa Rica turn these negative trends around.

The first step is to build strong foundations. Pre-primary education has become nearly universal in most OECD countries; but in Costa Rica, only 63% of children benefit from two years …