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Showing posts from October, 2017

Teachers for tomorrow

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills


Anyone flying into Abu Dhabi or Dubai is amazed how the United Arab Emirates has been able to transform its oil and gas into shiny buildings and a bustling economy. But more recently, the country is discovering that far greater wealth than all the oil and gas together lies hidden among its people. If the country would live up to its ambition to be among the world’s 20 leading school systems, as measured by PISA, that would add over USD 5 600 billion to the economy over the lifetime of today’s primary school students, or the equivalent of 9 times the size of the UAE’s economy. That is because people with a solid foundation of knowledge, with creative, problem-solving and collaborative skills, and with character qualities such as mindfulness, curiosity, courage and resilience, make a so much greater contribution to economic and social progress.

The trouble is that the UAE has been slow to invest in the people who can di…

Different, not disabled: Neurodiversity in education

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by Tracey Burns
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills


Feeling out of place. Too big, too short, too wise, too ignorant – these are all situations Gulliver experiences in Jonathan Swift’s classic of English literature. Gulliver’s Travels give us an idea of how important our environment is when it comes to defining ourselves. It also gives us a 19th century look into the very modern concept of diversity.

Diversity in the classroom includes differences in the way students' brains learn, or neurodiversity. Diagnoses of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) have risen dramatically in the last two decades. This is not an issue that is isolated to a few countries: ADHD diagnoses have increased dramatically in Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Similar patterns are seen in the prevalence of ASD, which occurs…

What today’s teachers need to know

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills


I’ve often said that the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers. How, then, do teachers become really good at their jobs? One important way is by learning from one another – across classes, across schools, and yes, even across countries. That’s why the OECD is a knowledge partner of the 2017 Qudwa Global Teachers’ Forum, which is being held in Abu Dhabi on 7 and 8 October. The Forum is bringing together more than 900 teachers from 83 countries to discuss “Teaching for Tomorrow”.

The focus of the forum couldn’t be more timely. According to reports by the World Economic Forum, one-third of the skillsets required to perform today’s jobs will be entirely redundant by 2020. And experts assert that nearly two-thirds of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that do not yet exist. The dilemma for teachers is that the kinds of things that are easiest to teach and e…

Why teaching matters more than ever before

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by Stavros Yiannouka, CEO, WISE – World Innovation Summit for Education and Andreas Schleicher, Director, Directorate for Education and Skills



Teaching and learning lie at the heart of what it means to be human. While animals teach and learn from each other through direct demonstration, observation and experience, humans are unique in their ability to convey vast quantities of information and impart skills across time and space. We are also, as far as we know, unique in our ability to engage in and convey our thinking around abstract concepts such as governance, justice and human rights.

Technology has always played an indispensable role in this process. Starting with language and then writing, humanity was able to separate the process of teaching and learning from the constraints of direct demonstration, observation, and experience. The invention of paper and ink, and then the printing press, exponentially increased the quantity of knowledge that could be captured, stored, and dissem…

Closing Italy’s skills gap is everyone’s business

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills


Italy is the birthplace of Leonardo, Galileo and Armani. For centuries, skilled Italians have been recognised for their contributions to the world’s art, science, and culture. A relatively small country, with scarce natural resources, Italy today is among the world’s leading industrialised economies and is home to millions of firms, including many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), who play a prominent role in many key global value chains. So the skills of Italy’s population matter. Not only for their own country, but also for their contribution to the future prosperity and well-being of the global community. 
Italy’s future prosperity depends upon the skills of its people
Today, Italy is facing a skills gap. OECD Surveys measuring the skills of 15 year-olds (PISA) and adults between the ages of 16 and 64 years old (Survey of Adult Skills, PIAAC) have detected a significant shortfall in skills  compared with ot…

Why innovation becomes imperative in education

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by Dirk Van Damme 
Head of the Skills Beyond School Division,  Directorate for Education and Skills


Since Harvard economists Goldin & Katz published their ground-breaking book The Race between Technology and Education (2008), education has come face-to-face with the challenges of a world continuously altered by technological innovation. Education is generally perceived to be a laggard social system, better equipped to transmit the heritage of the past than to prepare for the future. This perception is not entirely accurate; OECD/CERI work on Measuring innovation in education (2014) demonstrates that education is a system that is not change-averse.

From a historical perspective, education has adjusted to the needs and opportunities of the 2nd Industrial Revolution, for example by introducing natural sciences into the curriculum – although it took many years for that to happen. Will education have the luxury of time to confront the current wave of technological change and innovation?…