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Showing posts from August, 2012

Second chances in education

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by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education
We all know how important the first years of formal education are; but what if the education provided during those years isn’t the best it can be? Are students forever penalised? A study in Canada that followed the 15-year-old students who had participated in PISA in 2000 and re-assessed their reading skills 9 years later shows that where education and training opportunities are readily available, deficits in initial education do not doom individuals to poor reading proficiency for the rest of their lives.In fact, on average, the young people surveyed gained 57 score points on the PISA reading scale between the ages of 15 and 24 – the equivalent of more than one year of school.

As this month’s PISA in Focus relates, those students who had performed poorly when they were 15 improved the most during the 9-year period; yet, for the most part, they were not able to fully catch up with their peers. For example, in 2000, when students who …

Making the right connections

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byBarbara Ischinger
Director for Education

It’s becoming clear to me that the crisis in youth unemployment around the world is not just one of the aftershocks of the global economic downturn, but may also have roots in education systems that are not adequately preparing students for 21st-century economies. I took that message to a regional conference on Promoting Youth Employment in North Africa,  held in Tunis in mid-July, where I presented not only the OECD Skills Strategy but also discussed the importance of improving the quality of education and of teachers, and of making quality education accessible to all.

Some 41% of 15-24 year-olds in Tunisia are unemployed – a statistic that is devastating in the present and potentially catastrophic for the future of the country and the region. In more than half of OECD countries, the rate of unemployment among young people approaches or exceeds 20%; and many of the underlying conditions are the same as those found in Tunisia. These include no…