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Showing posts from June, 2016

Skills Summit 2016: Skills strategies for innovation, productivity and inclusion

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by Andreas Schleicher
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills
Building the skills needed to succeed at work and in life: Charting the path to 2025


In all OECD countries the working-age population is now either growing at a much slower rate than in the past or shrinking, making productivity and innovation the primary engines of economic growth. The expansion of global value chains and technological advances are reshaping the structure of employment and the skill requirements of jobs. Skills demand and supply continue to diverge rather than converge, despite large numbers of unemployed in many countries and pockets of entrenched unemployment in all. Everywhere, too few adults are upgrading their skills in response to the rapidly changing skills needs of the economy and society. At the same time, countries are also struggling with significant social challenges, such as rising inequality and large increases in flows of migrants. Skills are central to responding to all of these c…

Why skills matter

by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

It’s the time of year when young people in the northern hemisphere are finishing their formal studies for the year – or for the foreseeable future. Some will soon be working at their first jobs, some are just beginning to look for a job, some may have been looking for months with nothing to show for it. What links the classroom and lecture hall to the workplace? Skills.


Three years ago, the OECD published the First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, a product of our Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, or PIAAC. That report found that adults who are highly proficient in the information-processing skills measured by the survey – literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments – are more likely to be employed and earn high wages. They are also more likely to report that they trust others, that they have an impact on the political processes, and that they are in g…

Understanding how the brain processes maths learning

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by Francesca Gottschalk
Consultant, Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD



Numbers are universal and constantly confronting us in daily life. In fact, they are so omnipresent that most of us perform basic mathematical calculations every single day without even realising it – when we glance at the clock, count change for a morning coffee, or even when we check the calendar to plan the weeks ahead.
It is, therefore, no surprise that student performance in maths is not only a key indicator for potential academic achievement, but also of future employability and overall participation in our “knowledge economy” society. Without the ability to make sense of the numbers that surround us, one would be completely lost in our modern world (even with a smartphone in hand!).

The question of how we actually learn maths and whether everyone has the ability to do so is thus a crucial one and should be of interest to parents, teachers and policy-makers alike. Anew Education Working Paper entitled …

Closing the gap between education and employment

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by Anthony Mann
Director of Policy and Research, Education and Employers Taskforce

Employer engagement in education and training has become a hot topic for policy makers and practitioners around the world. Over recent years, Governments and other stakeholders have invested significant resource in promoting and enabling closer links between employers and schools, colleges, universities and training providers.

Policy objectives have included:
Tackling skills shortage/skills mismatchImproving youth skills relevant to dynamic labour market demandHarnessing community resources to improve attainmentPutting coherent pathways in place for young people moving through educational and training provisionAddressing inequalities in outcomes, promoting social mobility and challenging gender stereotyping. The OECD has looked at the question of employer engagement from the perspectives of skills provision Learning for Jobs, gender inequality The ABC of Gender Equality in Education and currently with sp…

Making all students count

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by Chiara Monticone
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Mario Piacentini
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills






Films about mathematicians have become incredibly popular: many of us now know about John Nash’s beautiful mind. Fewer people have heard the extraordinary story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a genius of comparable stature to Nash. Ramanujan was nothing more than a promising 16-year-old student from a poor family in South India when he came across A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics, a compilation of thousands of mathematical results used by English students. Starting from the textbook, Ramanujan taught himself mathematics. After failing to get into university in India, he sent a letter to one of the great scholars of that time, Godfrey Harold Hardy, who noticed his talent and invited him to Cambridge.  Hardy quickly understood that, in spite of his amazing feats in mathematics, Ramanujan lacked the basic tools of the trade of a mathemat…

Why should we improve learning opportunities for young kids?

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



More than hundred years ago, nations that are now members of the OECD introduced legislation to set the age compulsory education. Most countries obliged families to send their children to school from the age of 6 or 7. The gradual abolition of child labour and the need for a workforce with elementary skills – two consequences of the ‘second industrial revolution’ – convinced countries to impose compulsory education. Since then, education policy has focused on ensuring that all students are provided access to – and participate in – compulsory schooling. Many countries have also gradually increased the upper age limit of compulsory education. But for younger kids – under the age of 6 – families were seen as the most optimal environment for children’s care and upbringing.

But as more women entered the labour force and two-income families became the norm, the context in which children …