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Showing posts from April, 2014

A silent revolution in Colombia

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by Andreas Schleicher
Acting Director and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General


I visit Colombia at a time when education - Colombia’s future - has moved to the forefront of the political and public debate. The latest results from PISA have triggered an unprecedented search in this country for the right policies and practices to help students learn better, teachers to teach better, and schools to work more effectively.
The public eye is on how modestly Colombian students perform when compared with students in the world’s most advanced education systems. Nobody I speak with takes any consolation from the fact that there are just three OECD countries showing a faster rate of improvement in the reading skills of 15-year-olds than Colombia, according to PISA results. Everybody here wants Colombia to play in the first league of global education, knowing that this is far more important for Colombia’s economic and social future than playing in the first league of the wo…

What Spanish schools can learn from Spanish schools

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by Andreas Schleicher
Acting Director and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General

I arrived in Madrid in the morning of 1 April, coming from Singapore. I met with Singapore’s school principals and policy makers the day before to review the results from our new PISA problem-solving skills assessment. Singapore’s education system has at times been criticised for encouraging rote learning at the expense of creative skills development. Those critics should have a second look.
The PISA results show that 15-year-old Singaporeans are quick learners, highly inquisitive and able to solve unstructured problems in unfamiliar contexts. Indeed, no education system outperforms Singapore on this problem-solving test. The Spanish results on the same test, which I presented later in the day in Madrid, were a lot more troubling.  As shown in previous PISA assessments, Spanish students face challenges in math and science. However, there is bigger concern regarding their problem-solvin…

Educating for the 21st century

Andreas Schleicher, Acting Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General, shared his thoughts as part of the Global Education and Skills Forum on Bigthink on how education can help students meet the challenges of today.


The world is rapidly becoming a different place, with globalisation and modernisation imposing huge challenges to individuals and societies. Schools need to prepare students to live and work in a world in which most people will need to collaborate with people of diverse cultural origins, and appreciate different ideas, perspectives and values; a world in which people need to decide how to trust and collaborate across such differences, often bridging space and time through technology; and a world in which their lives will be affected by issues that transcend national boundaries. Twenty-first century schools help students to develop autonomy and identity that is cognisant of the reality of national a…

Education Policy Outlook: Vocational Pathways in Denmark, France, Germany and Spain

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by Andreas Schleicher
Acting Director and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General

As Helen Keller said “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”. In classrooms around the world, teachers encourage peer-to-peer learning in order to enhance student learning outcomes.  In the same way, fellow peers learn from each other on how to improve their educational systems.
Since early 2012, the OECD Education Policy Outlook series has produced profiles for Australia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, and Turkey. Today, four new country profiles are being added to the roundtable discussion: Denmark, Germany, Spain and France. While each of these countries face specific educational challenges, they each have successes that can serve as a lesson for others.

Every country assessed is concerned with similar reform domains. Vocational education and training programmes (VET) is a common area to all four countries that could stand …

Are 15-year-olds good at solving problems?

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by Francesco Avvisati
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

As our economies and societies grow ever more complex, success in life and work is increasingly determined by our ability to adapt to new situations, learn from mistakes and try out new approaches. Are these the qualities that today’s 15-year-olds learn in school?

PISA 2012 investigated this question with a special set of assessments based around creative problem-solving. Students in 44 countries and economies took part in this computer-based assessment, tackling real-life, interactive problems, such as troubleshooting a malfunctioning MP3 player and planning a trip, available online through PISA 2012 Problem-Solving questions. aim was to assess how well they could resolve problems with no immediately obvious solutions, so demonstrating their openness to novelty, ability to tolerate uncertainty, and capacity to reason and learn outside of school contexts.

Results, published today, show that students in Singapore and Kore…