Showing posts from October, 2013

Learning in rural China: The challenges for students

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

The first thing I notice is that, in this neighbourhood of simple houses and farmlands, it is the school, not a shopping centre, that is the cleanest and most impressive building in the area. The Qiao Tou Lian He primary school can afford only 29 staff to look after the 714 children who attend. Most of the children stay for the full school-week as they have to walk for several hours to reach their homes. So the school has become their family, albeit one where the children have to assume an incredible amount of individual and social responsibility, with very limited support from adults.

Roughly 3,000 kilometres southwest of Shanghai, a city that harbours the world’s leading education system, the Qiao Tou Lian He primary school is one of the fruits of China’s efforts to educate its citizens who live in sparsely populated rural areas like this. While t…

Where diversity doesn’t mean disadvantage

by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills

OECD publications and international media regularly discuss the impact of immigrants on host-country societies. This month’s PISA in Focus looks at the issue from a different perspective: how effectively do the education systems of host countries integrate their immigrant students?
Between 2000 and 2009, across OECD countries the proportion of 15-year-olds with an immigrant background increased from 8% to 10%. In Ireland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, Spain and the United States, the proportion of immigrant students increased by five percentage points or more during that time, and these students now represent from 8% to 30% of these countries’ student population. Education systems play a critical role in the process of integration: they give immigrants and their children opportunities to acquire the skills needed for them to join the labour market.
Results from PISA 2009 show that immigrant students of…

Smart policies matter in education

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

Education policies are meant for the future, they target society-wide outcomes in the next generation. But constructing these policies demands foresight and planning, while simultaneously dealing with difficult trade-offs in the present. Take Korea, a remarkable success story of fast increasing educational attainment which made the country one of the highest educated nations in the world: 64% of its 25-34 year-old population has a tertiary qualification. And the PISA and Survey of Adult Skills data show that this incredible educational revolution did not cause any decline in the quality of learning. Clearly, Korea is successful in preparing its young workforce for a highly-skilled technological economy. How did they do that? A new issue of Education Indicators in Focus sheds some light on the policy trade-offs that countries face when they want to raise the tertiary attainment …

Education and skills using today's technologies

When it comes to information technology in schools, the valuable experience and views of Nele Leosk, Program Director on ICT in Education, eGovernance Academy, Estonia, are encouraging to hear. She met with Lynda Hawe, Communications Officer for the Directorate for Education and Skills answered a few question about her observations on the use of technology in schools, the benefits for learning, achievement and skills, during a coffee break at the OECD Forum in Paris.

Share with us an example of a successful ICT in Education program that you implemented?
Over the past 15 years Estonia prioritised the development of information society and e-governance and initiated a tiger-leap program. The program focused on teacher training and infrastructure.  In addition, teacher administrators received advanced training on new technologies, so a shift in their mind-set got underway. Technology was not taught separately. Students were taught how to develop and progress in their related subjects by u…

Balancing Trust and Accountability

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

Strengthening accountability is one of the key ways to improve the quality of an education system. Yet reform processes that emphasize strong evaluation and assessment regimes can be misunderstood as controlling or demonstrating a lack of trust: in teachers, in students, and in the system. What is the best way to maintain and build trust while improving accountability?
A recently released Governing Complex Education Systems (GCES) case study looks at this issue. Entitled Balancing Trust and Accountability? The Assessment for Learning Programme in Norway, the report explores the implementation strategies used to enhance formative assessment in Norwegian schools. The reform aimed at helping school leaders and teachers integrate formative assessment into their day-to- day teaching practice and schools.

In Norway there is a strong sense of trust in the system. Howeve…

Skill up or lose out

by Andreas Schleicher
Deputy Director and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary-General For the first time, the Survey of Adult Skills allows us to directly measure the skills people currently have, not just the qualifications they once obtained. The results show that what people know and what they do with what they know has a major impact on their life chances. On average across countries, the median wage of workers who score at Level 4 or 5 in the literacy test – meaning that they can make complex inferences and evaluate subtle arguments in written texts – is more than 60% higher than the hourly wage of workers who score at or below Level 1 – those who can, at best, read relatively short texts and understand basic vocabulary. Those with poor literacy skills are also more than twice as likely to be unemployed. In short, poor skills severely limit people’s access to better-paying and more-rewarding jobs.
It works the same way for nations: The distribution of …

Who are our teachers?

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

As we celebrate this year’s UNESCO World Teachers Day, many of us think back to our favourite teacher. Mine was Mr. Monroe, the high school English teacher who instilled in me a love for writing that still exists today.  We all have favourite teachers, those inspirational leaders whom we hope our children or loved ones will encounter at some point during their schooling. But what makes a good teacher? And what do we know about the teachers in our schools today?
When the results of the OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey were first released in 2009, we were able to start answering some of these questions. TALIS 2008 was the first and largest international survey of teachers, giving teachers and school leaders in 24 countries a voice to speak about their experiences. Teachers told us about their initial teacher training and the professional development they receive; the feedback they get …

Education GPS: A world of education at your fingertips

by Jean Yip,
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Today the OECD launched the Education GPS, the source for internationally comparable data on education policies and practices, opportunities and outcomes. Accessible any time, in real time, this platform gives you the latest data and analysis of countries’ performance in providing high-quality education for all.

Analyse by country The Education GPS enables you to find, use and understand data and analysis on individual countries. Choose from a variety of themes, explore our country profiles, and create your own customised country reports. 

Explore dataThe Education GPS gives you easy access to the OECD’s data on education. Choose a theme, find the related data, and compare countries.

Review education policies (coming soon...) The Education GPS provides access to OECD’s extensive research and analysis of education policy around the world. See how education policies complement or compete with each other, and which policies the OECD …

A new old topic, reloaded

by Mihaylo Milovanovitch
Policy Analyst, Non-Member Economies, Directorate for Education
In a recent OECD blog entry for the European Association for International Education, studying in the “good old times” has been likened to a nice air trip. One would purchase a ticket, board a plane and enjoy a flight to a new and better place. On the way one would fly over and see new things, earn miles and acquire a higher status.

The same blog suggests that things are different today as in many of the countries that are in the middle of a “gold rush” to higher education, the academic planes stay grounded. Outdated systems of admission to university, of assessment and financial support bend under the weight of increasing student numbers and diversity and fail to provide the right answers to three key questions: What do students want? Why do they study? Do they study what they want?
Wrong answers to these questions can be detrimental to institutional integrity. If restrictive and/or misleading acc…