By Syrah for The Parisian Post
It is clear that education reform can bring tremendous advantages because for most, education is seen as the solution to many problems faced in life. But for policy makers it could be considered a painful exercise. In fact, carrying out ambitious policy changes with increased efficiency or cost savings could face popular resistance and is a balance is difficult to achieve.
Today, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presents a new publication called « Education policy Outlook » that aims to learn from countries’ experiences in education. Policy lessons learnt and reflections on how to make education reform happen give policy makers a global view of initiatives in other countries and their particular successes.
Since early 2012, the OECD Education Policy Outlook series produced nine country profiles for Australia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway and Turkey. « Today we are publishing four new country profiles for Denmark, France, Germany and Spain and we believe that acknowledging the policies adopted to respond to the challenges faced in these countries will inspire reforms internationally », said Project leader Beatriz Pont.
Each team member has selected a reform to show an example of why education policy is at the heart of any improvement. What better way to explore what is going on than to read about it directly from the team members?
« Introducing information and communication technologies (ICT) in schools became a necessity. ICTs are part of the solution to increase equity between students from different socio-economic backgrounds and prepare students for the technology-rich environment they will face once entering the labour force.
In Spain, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport is developing a new ICTs plan for schools (Plan de Cultura Digital en la Escuela), which will improve school access to the Internet; create an Open Educational Resources and enhance digital competence for teachers. »
« Germany faces challenges to support and integrate students with migrant backgrounds. According to PISA 2012, 13.1% of German 15-year olds are immigrants, above the OECD average of 11.2%, and they scored 54 points less than non-immigrant students in mathematics.
TheNational Action Plan on Integration(NAP-I; 2011) is a joint undertaking of the states and the Federation. It establishes concrete targets concerning the overall framework, transitions, individual support and quality of education, addressing all educational levels from early childhood to tertiary and continuing education. «
« The French system has the challenge of reducing the weight of the social inequalities that explain and reduce its overall performance. Mathematics performance of 15 year olds decreased by 16 percentage points between 2003 and 2012, making France move from the group of performers to the group of average performance.
The law of 2013 set a goal to reduce to less than 10% of school achievement gaps between students of priority education and other students of France. To this end, the rebuilding of the priority education policy, launched in January 2014, takes a comprehensive approach with the creation of priority education networks (REP), and implements a plan of 14 key measures around 3strands: an « educational » component, a « human resources » component and a « school environment » component. »
In Denmark [Insert weblink], the recently approved policy agreement Better and more attractive vocational education and training programmes (Bedre og mere attraktive erhvervsuddannelser, 2014), aims to improve the quality and attractiveness of VET programmes in Denmark, by simplifying their structure, providing greater clarity and increasing the number of apprenticeships. It will enter into force in 2015 and, and some of the following objectives to be reached by 2020 include: at least 25% of young people entering a VET programme directly after finishing primary and lower secondary education, increasing the share of students completing their VET programme, providing more professional development to teachers and staff, offering more flexible VET education that caters to students with different levels of abilities, improving counselling to students before and during VET programmes and, collaborating closely with companies providing training places for apprentices.