>> Equity and Inclusion in Education: Finding Strength through Diversity
The 2022 Gender, Education and Skills Report on the persistence of gender gaps in education and skills presents fresh insights on progress towards gender equality in education. The report tries to understand why teen boys are more likely than girls, on average, to fail to attain a baseline level of proficiency in reading, mathematics and science, and why high-performing girls do not continue investing in developing skills in areas such as mathematics and science, when compared to high-performing boys. The report also describes that, despite overall gender gaps in mathematics and science being quite small, young women continue to be under-represented in STEM-related fields after leaving school. These career choices are also reflected in gender disparities in the labour market: tertiary-educated women earn 76% of the earnings of their male peers. This could be possible because men are more likely than women to pursue studies in fields associated with higher earnings, such as engineering, manufacturing and construction, and ICTs, while women still choose fields associated with lower earnings, including education, welfare, and arts and humanities.
>> Equity and Inclusion in Education: Finding Strength through Diversity
Governments and education policy makers are increasingly concerned with equity and inclusion in education due to several major global trends such as demographic shifts, migration and refugee crises, rising inequalities, and climate change. These developments have contributed to increasing diversity within national populations and flagged some concerns around the ability of education systems to be equitable and inclusive of all students.
This report by the Strength through Diversity project examines how education systems can respond to increasing diversity and foster greater equity and inclusion in education. Based on a holistic framework for studying diversity, equity and inclusion in education, the report examines five key policy areas (i.e., governance; resourcing; capacity building; school-level interventions, and monitoring and evaluation), provides examples of policies and practices, and offers policy advice on promoting more equitable and inclusive education systems.
>> Resourcing Higher Education in Portugal
The report on Resourcing Higher Education in Portugal is part of a series of publications produced by the OECD's Resourcing Higher Education Project. This project has sought to develop a shared knowledge base for OECD member and partner countries on effective policies for higher education resourcing through system-specific and comparative policy analysis. The review of resourcing in Portugal focuses on options for reform of the core public funding model for higher education institutions in Portugal, the strategic steering and funding of the future development of the public higher education system and the resourcing of policies to support widened access to higher education. Based on analysis and comparison of the current approach to higher education resourcing, the review provides recommendations to support future refinement of policies.
>> Are Students Ready to Take on Environmental Challenges?
The world demands bold action to meet the global goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Young people will experience the consequences of climate change more directly during their lifetime than any previous generation in recent history. Education can play a pivotal role in preparing new generations for a greener future. What students learn may mean the difference between accepting the status quo and fostering sustainability to keep the world in ecological balance. Are students ready to actively address these environmental challenges? And how can education endow students with the knowledge, skills and pro-environmental attitudes they need? This report identifies the types of education policy and practices that can help students build an environmentally sustainable future.
The report finds varying levels of environmental knowledge and skills, attitudes and actions among 15-year-old students around the world. Students need stronger scientific knowledge and skills in environmental issues than they currently have, especially in countries and economies where student performance in science tends to be lower. Better performers in science have, on average, more pro-environmental attitudes than lower-performing students, and students with pro-environmental attitudes are more likely to take part in actions that benefit the environment.
>> Policy options for stronger, more equitable student outcomes in Türkiye
In 2021, an OECD team undertook analysis of Republic of Türkiye's data from two international assessments – the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)'s Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The analysis aimed to understand how student performance in Türkiye has evolved over time and whether factors related to student background – such as gender or socio-economic background – are associated with performance. This policy perspective uses the findings from the PISA and TIMSS analysis to identify policy options to help Türkiye to raise performance and improve equity. It provides suggestions across five policy areas for Türkiye to create a stronger policy focus on overcoming obstacles for more equal opportunities for students.
>> Value for Money in School Education: Smart Investments, Quality Outcomes, Equal Opportunities
Policymaking has always been a matter of making choices, managing trade-offs and balancing multiple goals and priorities to make complex budgetary decisions. Yet, the past few years have seen a rising number of priorities facing policymakers, hence mounting pressure to enhance the efficiency of public spending. There is a strong case for public investment in high-quality education as it leads to a range of economic outcomes as well as broader social outcomes for both individuals and society. But while high-quality education will continue to enable individuals and societies to thrive and recover from disruptions, education ministries will need to rethink the way they invest in education to ensure that education systems deliver greater value for money. Following an introduction laying out the context, this publication first takes stock of the wealth of economic returns and broader social outcomes derived from high-quality education, making the case for continued public investment. It then turns to the examination of smart ways of investing in education and examines key policy levers that can help enhance value for money: governing and distributing school funding to make the most of education investments; achieving educational equity alongside greater efficiency; and planning, monitoring and evaluating the efficient use of school funding.
>> Education Policy Outlook 2022: Transforming Pathways for Lifelong Learners
The effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (with its dramatic impact on energy and food prices), the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and extreme weather events in some parts of the world in 2022 are expected to reverberate into 2023. International implications for education and training include economic uncertainty and tight labour markets, ongoing digital transformation, and continued growth and influence of mass information. These trends challenge education policymakers to transform existing pathways in their countries and economies, so people can become effective lifelong learners to navigate change. Building on the OECD’s Framework of Responsiveness and Resilience in Education Policy, as well as analysis of international policies and practices from over 40 education systems implemented mainly since 2020, this report identifies three areas of policy effort that education policymakers can undertake in 2023: 1) enhancing the relevance of learning pathways; 2) easing transitions throughout learners’ pathways; and 3) nurturing learners’ aspirations. Lessons emerging from recent policy efforts are synthesised into key policy pointers for 2023. The report has been prepared with evidence from the Education Policy Outlook series— the OECD’s analytical observatory of education policy.
>> Improving Early Equity: From Evidence to Action
Early equity for disadvantaged children can be achieved through nurturing, high quality early learning environments. However, without deliberate action, disadvantaged children face a 12 month development gap compared to their more advantaged peers in key early learning areas such as emergent literacy. Data based on direct assessments from 7,000 children in England, Estonia and the United States show what it takes to achieve a level playing field for disadvantaged children. These actions include supporting parents to regularly read with their children, having back-and-forth conversations and providing access to developmentally appropriate books. Links between parents and their early childhood education and care (ECEC) centre are also positively linked to children’s early development, as well as the provision and quality of ECEC. The latter includes a holistic approach to ensure children’s social-emotional skills are fostered, such as curiosity and co-operation, and ensuring children have a level of autonomy over their activities.
>> Education at a Glance 2022: OECD Indicators
>> Finland’s Right to Learn Programme: Achieving equity and quality in education
Finland has been widely regarded as one of the most successful education systems in the world. However, recent trends suggest that Finland’s considerable achievements may be at risk. The country’s performance in international student assessments has been declining over the past decade, as gaps among student groups and levels of school segregation have grown. In light of these developments, Finland is advancing a number of policies, notably under the umbrella of the Right to Learn (RtL) Programme, to improve quality and equity in early childhood education and care (ECEC), pre-primary and basic education. This analysis explores the Ministry of Education and Culture’s (OKM) planned reforms in regard to the country’s main education challenges and priorities. At the request of the Ministry, the analysis focusses on three main policy issues: (i) financing equity and quality in education, (ii) expanding participation and strengthen quality in ECEC, and (iii) equalising education opportunities through strengthening the local school policy. A final section looks at some of the cross-cutting issues that emerge from the OECD’s analysis. This analysis offers policy considerations aimed at strengthening the design and implementation of the RtL Programme.
>> Does Higher Education Teach Students to Think Critically?
There is a discernible and growing gap between the qualifications that a university degree certifies and the actual generic, 21st-century skills with which students graduate from higher education. By generic skills, it is meant literacy and critical thinking skills encompassing problem solving, analytic reasoning and communications competency. As automation takes over non- and lower-cognitive tasks in today’s workplace, these generic skills are especially valued but a tertiary degree is a poor indicator of skills level. In the United States, the Council for Aid for Education developed an assessment of generic skills called the CLA+ and carried out testing in six countries between 2016 and 2021. This book provides the data and analysis of this "CLA+ International Initiative".
>> Who Cares about Using Education Research in Policy and Practice?
Across the OECD, enormous effort and investment has been made to reinforce the quality, production and use of education research in policy and practice. Despite this, using research in education remains a challenge for many countries and systems. The OECD launched the Strengthening the Impact of Education Research project to respond to this challenge.
This publication provides a first set of analyses of data collected from over 30 systems through an OECD survey. It describes the mechanisms used to facilitate research use in education policy and practice, and the levels of engagement of various actors in these processes. By mapping the drivers of, and barriers to, using research systematically and at scale, the publication sets out an agenda for future inquiry.
>> Building on COVID-19's Innovation Momentum for Digital, Inclusive Education
Education systems can build on school-led micro-innovations during the pandemic to develop more equitable learning. Empowering teachers to be autonomous, actively engaged in designing learning environments, and knowledgeable and dynamic in using multi-modal technology can encourage more peer-to-peer collaboration in schools and enrich pedagogy. This will be crucial in addressing the learning needs of disadvantaged students and boosting science proficiency with the goal of societal equity.
>> Accessing Higher Education in the German State of Brandenburg
Brandenburg’s economy is undergoing structural change, which opens exciting new prospects for highly skilled workers. The state has intensified efforts to diversify the economy towards cleaner and more knowledge-intensive industries, including the development of advanced manufacturing, spill-over effects from the start-up scene in Berlin, fostering entrepreneurial activities at its own higher education institutions, promoting innovative places for working and living, and phasing out of coal production in favour of next-generation technologies. As the engine of skills development and research, the higher education system will play an important role in helping the state unleash these opportunities. The German State of Brandenburg has therefore entrusted the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – in close collaboration with and supported by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support – with the development of recommendations on how to enhance the visibility of its institutions’ programme offer, align this offer with the skills and innovation demand, and make it more attractive to prospective students from the state and beyond.
Chart of the month: Are students ready to take on environmental challenges? PISA 2018
Source: PISA 2018