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Showing posts from February, 2017

How Wales can ensure the successful implementation of its reforms

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By Andreas Schleicher
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Wales is committed to providing high-quality and inclusive education for all its citizens. The disappointing 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment results however showed Wales was far removed from realising this commitment, which sparked a national debate on the quality and future of education in Wales. This resulted in a broad consensus on the need for change. In 2011 Wales embarked on a large-scale school improvement reform and introduced a range of policies to improve the quality and equity of its school system.

Creating lasting change however is hard, and reports of unaccomplished educational reform efforts continue to come in from around the world. But there are also many examples of successful reforms from which lessons can be drawn. The OECD is there to support countries in translating these lessons to different contexts and extending global knowledge on how to make reform happen – and ultim…

Doctors and nurses are from Venus, scientists and engineers are from Mars (for now)

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By Francesco Avvisati 
Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

There is little doubt that in OECD countries, the chances for boys and girls to succeed and contribute to society have become more equal over the past century. Every International Women’s Day, however, we are also reminded of the remaining obstacles towards gender equality. This month’s PISA in Focus illustrates both the progress that enables girls today to aspire to roles once exclusively reserved for men, and the remaining obstacles on the road to closing gender gaps.

The progress can be readily seen in the health sector. Only a generation ago, in most countries, women represented only a minority among doctors; today, in many hospitals, the majority of young doctors are women. That trend is likely to continue, if you trust current patterns of enrolment in tertiary health-related programmes and in girls’ expectations for their own future careers.

But not all science-related occupations saw similar progress for w…

Knowing what teachers know about teaching

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

In modern societies, most professionals become knowledge workers. Their professional practice is increasingly fuelled and inspired by various forms of knowledge. A good example is the medical profession, where the continuously growing body of scientific knowledge finds its way into professional practices. An important dimension of what constitutes an effective doctor today is the ability to incorporate scientific knowledge within one’s own experience and to translate this into a professional encounter with patients through adequate communication, advice and empathy. Is something similar also happening within the teaching profession?

Teachers are also knowledge workers. To effectively stimulate students’ learning, teachers constantly draw on a vast repertoire of knowledge. And of course, teachers work with subject knowledge. Maths teachers must have a good grasp of the mathemat…

Mind the Gap: Inequality in education

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by Tracey Burns
Senior Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … we had everything before us, we had nothing before us "... 
Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities in 1859. Almost two centuries later, his words remind us of what a very serious challenge inequity is.
Inequality has been growing in most OECD countries since the 1980s and is currently at its highest level in 30 years. Forecasts for 2060 suggest that gross earnings inequality could continue to rise dramatically across the OECD if current trends persist.
The widening income gap between the rich and the poor raises economic, social and political concerns. High inequality hinders GDP growth and reduces social mobility. Unequal opportunity results in a talent loss for the individual as well as for society. It also gives rise to a sense of injustice that can feed social unrest and decreasing trust in institutions and political systems. 
Inequality in …