How to prepare students for the complexity of a global society

by Anthony Jackson, Director, Center for Global Education at Asia Society
Andreas Schleicher, Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

In all countries, rapidly changing global economic, digital, cultural, and environmental forces are shaping young people’s lives and their futures. From Boston to Bangkok to Buenos Aires, we live today in a VUCA world: volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.

The world’s growing complexity and diversity present both opportunity and challenge. On the one hand, globalization can bring important new perspectives, innovation, and improved living standards. But on the other, it can also contribute to economic inequality, social division, and conflict.

How well education systems prepare all of their students to thrive amid today’s rapidly changing world will determine the future prosperity and security of their nations – and of the world as a whole. Global competence education is what will empower students to do just that. Globally competent student…

Drawing the future: What children want to be when they grow up

by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

The next generation of children will need to create jobs, not just seek jobs. They will draw on their curiosity, imagination, entrepreneurship and resilience, the joy of failing forward. Their schools will help them discover their passions and aspirations, develop their potential, and find their place in society.

But that is easier said than done, and good reading, math and science skills are just part of the answer. To develop their dreams and invest the effort it takes to realise them, children need, first of all, to be aware of the world and the opportunities it offers them.

We often take that awareness for granted, perhaps because schools tend to be designed and run by people who succeeded in them. But this report paints a different picture. Statistics showed previously that more than one in five teenagers are looking to secure the 2.4% of new and replacement jobs in the UK economy that are predicted to be found i…

What does teaching look like? A new video study

by Anna Pons
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Looking – literally – at how teachers around the world teach can be a game changer to improve education. The evidence is clear that teachers are what makes the greatest difference to learning, outside students’ own backgrounds. It is widely recognised that the quality of an education system is only as good as the quality of its teachers. Yet we know relatively little about what makes a good and effective teacher.

Our new research project, the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) Video Study, aims to help us learn more about how our teachers teach. The study aims to provide a better understanding of which teaching practices are used, how they are interrelated, and which are most strongly associated with students’ cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes.

The TALIS Video Study is based on a truly innovative research design. It uses videos to capture what goes on in the classroom, and also surveys teachers and students, …

What the expansion of higher education means for graduates in the labour market

by Markus Schwabe
Statistician, Directorate for Education and Skills

A university degree has always been considered as key to a good job and higher wages. But as the share of tertiary-educated adults across OECD countries has almost doubled over the last two decades, can the labour market absorb this growing supply of skills? At first glance, the answer isn’t encouraging: the number of unemployed tertiary-educated adults has been increasing across OECD countries for many years. However, a closer look reveals that the unemployment rate for these adults is still much lower than for those without a university degree.

The latest Education Indicators in Focus policy brief analyses long-term trends in employment outcomes of adults based on their highest level of educational attainment. The figure above shows that, in all OECD countries, adults with tertiary education still enjoy higher employment rates than those without by 10 percentage points, on average, and this advantage has changed litt…

Busting the myth about standardised testing

by Tarek Mostafa
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Standardised testing has received a bad rap in recent years. Parents and educators argue that too much testing can make students anxious without improving their learning. In particular, standardised tests that could determine a student’s future – entry into a certain education programme or into university, for example – might trigger anxiety and, if conducted too frequently, might lead to poorer performance, absenteeism and lower self-confidence. But are standardised tests really used all that frequently? And do they exacerbate anxiety and undermine performance?

Evidence from PISA dispels these myths.

On average across OECD countries, about one in four 15-year-old students attends a school where mandatory standardised tests are never used, and three in five attend schools where these tests are used only once or twice a year. In 11 countries, including Belgium, Costa Rica, Germany, Slovenia and Spain, more than one in two st…

Citizenship and education in a digital world

by Marc Fuster
Consultant, Directorate for Education and Skills

"Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side, without ever bothering to examine the evidence”, George Orwell wrote in 1943. And in an era of ‘fake news’ and post-truth, it resembles our world today.

Democracies are built upon the principles of equality and the participation of citizens in public deliberation and decision making. But participation can only work if people have at least a basic understanding of the system’s norms and institutions, can form opinions of their own and respect those of others, and are willing to engage in public life one way or another. A new Trends Shaping Education Spotlight looks at how civic education can support students in developing the knowledge and skills needed to take part in the democratic process, especially in an increasingly digitalised world.

Equipping young citizens with civic and political knowledge and skills is at the centre …

Educating our youth to care about each other and the world

by Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

In 2015, 193 countries committed to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, a shared vision of humanity that provides the missing piece of the globalisation puzzle. The extent to which that vision becomes a reality will in no small way depend on what is happening in today’s classrooms. Indeed, it is educators who hold the key to ensuring that the SDGs become a real social contract with citizens.

Goal 4, which commits to quality education for all, is intentionally not limited to foundation knowledge and skills, such as literacy, mathematics and science, but emphasises learning to live together sustainably. This has inspired the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the global yardstick for success in education, to include global competence in its metrics for quality, equity and effectiveness in education. PISA will assess global competence for the first time ev…