Showing posts from February, 2013

2much 2handle? Schools, social networks, and cyber bullying

by Tracey Burns
Analyst and Project Leader,  Innovation and Measuring Progress Division, Directorate for Education and Skills

“I’m really worried but I don’t know how to react” my friend told me over coffee the other day. Her daughter, 11, had told her that she was being bullied online, but would not say by whom.

“What can I do? And how do I know if it’s serious or not?”

A just released OECD publication looks at how rapid technological development has changed the way we interact with each other and our communities. Despite the enormous potential of the Internet to reshape our world, there is a downside to infinite connectivity. Internet fraud, privacy concerns and identity theft are all part of the online world. For parents and children, worries about cyber bullying and protecting children from explicit content and online predators are crucial.

Cyber bullying occurs when a child, preteen or teen is threatened, harassed, or embarrassed by another young person using the Internet. A numbe…

Getting the best start

Miho Taguma
Senior Analyst, Early Childhood and Schools Division, Directorate for Education and Skills

Given the current background of fiscal constraint, is public funding of early childhood education and care programmes a sound investment?

As more and more women have been entering the labour force since the 1970s, access to pre-school services has improved across OECD countries. Although in the 1970s and 1980s, early childhood education and care policy was put into place to facilitate women’s entry into the labour force, in recent years it has become more child-centred, focusing instead on the child’s development and improving educational outcomes. As inequalities, which are often present well before children begin primary school, are likely to increase over time, early childhood policies can be a component of anti-poverty and educational equity measures as well.

As the latest issue of the OECD’s brief series Education Indicators in Focus shows, countries vary widely on all aspects of…

The weight of nations: the shape of things to come?

by Tracey Burns
Analyst and Project Leader, Innovation and Measuring Progress Division, Directorate for Education and Skills

At lunchtime, Marco can be found in the bathroom stall of his secondary school. He is not ill. Rather, he is eating his lunch away from the eyes of his peers, sensitive to his weight problem and hoping to avoid being teased and targeted by bullies. Like many obese children, he struggles with poor self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

Growing affluence has had positive influences on the health of OECD citizens. Less premature death and infant mortality, and longer and healthier lives have all been associated with our increased economic well being. But, does affluence lead to indulgence? A just released OECD publication shows that obesity among adults and children threatens to grow into a severe public health crisis.

Across all countries, the average   Body Mass Index  (BMI) increased between 1980 and 2008. This trend is universal, and it is swift. In 1980, just un…

Making education more equitable

by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills
Most of us think of education as the great leveller; but are our education systems really doing all they can to ensure that boys and girls from all backgrounds have an equal shot at a high-quality education? As this month’s PISA in Focus reports, some countries have been more successful than others in levelling the playing field for their students.

PISA results consistently show that socio-economic disadvantage is linked to poor student performance. On average, an advantaged student scores 88 points higher – the equivalent of more than two years of schooling – on the PISA reading test than a disadvantaged student. But results from the assessment also show that countries and economies vary in the degree to which performance is linked to socio-economic status. That fact demonstrates that the link can be weakened, usually by putting the right policies and practices in place.

Even more encouraging, education systems don’t have …

Getting internationalisation right

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

The exceptional turnout at the 2013 OECD/Japan Seminar  in Tokyo this week, where over 300 participants from over 20 countries discussed global strategies for higher education, shows that the seminar had exactly the right agenda at exactly the right time. I asked myself how many people would have turned up had this seminar been held five years ago; or whether five years ago, Japan would have ventured to take the lead on this theme.

At long last higher education has become a global enterprise, with a rapidly growing number of students who are going global, with educational content going global, and with providers of higher education going global.

And as many speakers at the seminar pointed out, where those people go, where that content goes, and where those institutions go has huge economic and social consequences, for individuals, for institutions and …