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Showing posts from June, 2013

Education: The best protection against an economic crisis

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



The insight that education is valuable both to individuals and to countries is not new. Using continuously improving data and statistical tools, we have come to understand and appreciate the magnitude of education’s impact on employment, income, health and life opportunities in general. From a purely economic point of view, private returns on investment are well beyond 10% per year, and public returns are only slightly below that figure. Fears that increasing participation and greater numbers of graduates – resulting in ever-increasing numbers of highly qualified people in the work force – would result in some kind of inflation, in diminishing returns and burgeoning graduate unemployment could not be confirmed by the data.
When the financial crisis erupted in 2007-08, rapidly turning into a global economic recession and a fiscal crisis in the Euro-zone and other countries, it …

Learning to Teach: Teaching to Learn

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by Kristen Weatherby
Senior Analyst, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

If you are a teacher, chances are the scene in this photo looks very familiar to you. You’ve probably spent quite a few hours in a room similar to this as part of a professional development conference, course or seminar. You’ve listened to the speakers, possibly done some group work with other teachers in the room and then returned to your school. Perhaps you’ve come away inspired and have been able to apply some of what you’ve learned in your teaching. Or maybe you have found it difficult to transfer the content from the course back to the unique context of your school and classroom.

One thing we have learned from surveying teachers around the world as part of our Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is that teachers everywhere want more professional development. On average across countries, 55% of teachers are telling us this. In some countries, continued professional development is a…

Arts education in innovation-driven societies

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For immigrant students, early arrival is best

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by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills

Arriving in a new country, in a new school as an immigrant student is never easy. But the transition can be a little less damaging if the student has already spent a few of his or her earliest years in his new home country. This month’s PISA in Focus examines the “late-arrival” penalty in student performance among immigrant students who arrived in their new country at the age of 12 or older.

An analysis of PISA data shows that there are no marked differences in reading proficiency between immigrant students who arrived in their new country before they were five and those who arrived between the ages of six and 11. In contrast, in most OECD countries, immigrant students who arrived at the age of 12 or older – and have spent at most four years in their new country – lag farther behind students in the same grade in reading proficiency than immigrants who arrived at younger ages. 

Countries and economies vary markedly in the m…

Diverging levels of research efficiency change the global landscape of innovation

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


Recovering from the current recession and building a sustainable economy based on growth and social progress require investments in innovative research. No future is imaginable without a new wave of innovation. But innovative ideas come from creative research, in many cases produced by universities and research institutions. Over the past decades countries have generally increased their investment in R&D, leading to higher numbers of researchers, more research activities and higher research output. Thanks to more sophisticated indicators and monitoring tools, we are now able to measure progress in research and to evaluate the impact of research in the global research system.

This global research system still is a rather concentrated system, with a very strong core and a wide periphery. Despite globalization and increasing access to research findings thanks to technology, m…