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Showing posts from April, 2012

Educating for innovative societies

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Professor Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, answers questions posed by educationtoday's editor Cassandra Davis during his visit to OECD to present at the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation conference on Educating for Innovative Societies.

Cassandra Davis:In your book “Five minds for the future”, you call for the development of five types of thinking: the disciplined, synthesizing, creative, respectful and ethical. In your opinion, are schools equally responsible for the development of these minds? How could schools best develop these skills?

Howard Gardner: The traditional role of school is to develop minds that are disciplined—both in the sense of mastering the major disciplinary ways of thinking and in the sense of working steadily towards the development of any intellectual skill.  Synthesizing and creating are also intellectual/cognitive capacities, and thus within the purview of school, and they …

How can education help tackle rising income inequality?

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By Ji Eun Chung
Innovation and Measuring Progress Division, Directorate for Education
The gap between the rich and poor has widened in OECD countries over the past 30 years. As the latest issue of the OECD’s new brief series Education Indicators in Focus describes, the average income of the richest 10% of people in OECD countries was about nine times greater than the income of the poorest 10% before the onset of the global economic crisis. This ratio was 5 to 1 in the 1980s.

What’s more, existing income inequality may also limit the income prospects of future generations in some countries. In countries with higher income inequality – such as Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States – a child’s future earnings are likely to be similar to his or her father’s, suggesting that socio-economic background plays a large role in the development of children’s skills and abilities. Meanwhile, in countries with lower income inequality – like Denmark, Finland, and Norway – a child’s future …

How “green” are our children?

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by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education
Anger over an oil spill off the coast of California prompted a US senator to call for a day-long national “teach-in” to raise awareness about the environment. More than four decades after the first Earth Day (22 April) was celebrated, in 1970, the day is commemorated around the globe as a time to draw attention to environmental issues and
(re-)commit to protecting the planet’s natural resources.

For this 42nd Earth Day, we wanted to find out how “green” today’s students are and where most of their information about the environment comes from. According to the latest issue of PISA in Focus, students who have high levels of environmental literacy are still the minority; but all students get most of their information about environmental issues at school.

Results from the PISA 2006 survey, which focused on science, indicate that an average of 19% of 15-year-olds across OECD countries perform at the highest level of proficiency in enviro…

Bridging the socio-economic divide between public and private schools

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by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education
Several months ago, we described how PISA results show that, when it comes to the question of private versus public schooling, it’s the students who make the school. Both private schools and public schools with student populations from socio-economically advantaged backgrounds benefit the individual students who attend them. But PISA results also showed that there is no evidence to suggest that the proportion of private schools in a country, in and of itself, is associated with higher performance of the school system as a whole.

In most PISA-participating countries and economies, the average socio-economic background of students who attend privately managed schools is more advantaged than that of those who attend public schools. The PISA team wanted to find out why some school systems seem to be better than others at minimising the socio-economic differences that are often apparent between publicly and privately managed schools.

The …

17 top OECD tweeters to follow on education

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by Cassandra Davis and Julie Harris
Communications, Directorate for Education

Like us, you are looking for the best and latest information on education when you trawl blogs and twitter streams, Google search results and RSS feeds from news sites. You're seeking quality content, timely content, new research and answers to age-old questions. Years ago, we ploughed through papers found in online libraries, on websites and links sent by colleagues. Today, we have a number of new, well-informed sources at our fingertips (on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and even Pinterest). Some see these as contributing to information overload. Others have learned to use them as powerful filters.

Some of the most reliable filters are knowledgeable people who care enough to share. So who are the "filters" and sources tweeting here at the OECD on education? Take a look below, follow a few, and let us know who we should be following in the comments below. Together, we will learn, share and tweet th…

Bridging the skills gap

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by Kathrin Hoeckel
Analyst, Skills Beyond Schools Division, Directorate for Education

If you were to ask someone which countries tend to bear the brunt of a shortage of skills in this era of globalised trade, you couldn't fault them for thinking of developing countries.

While this is certainly true, the problem is by no means limited to poorer countries. Indeed, even in countries at the forefront of the developed world and consistently at the top of the PISA rankings, skills shortages can plague the economy.

Two such countries are Australia and Canada.

The Canadian Council on Learning says there is a clear “gap between the demand for workers with strong literacy and numeracy skills and the supply of Canadians who possess them.” They point out that the growth in the information communication technology industries, coupled with the reduced demand for unskilled workers due to foreign outsourcing, has only served to intensify the need for skilled workers. The question is why there is s…