By Andreas Schleicher
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills
Revolution. Contained within that often frightening word is another, less destabilising one: evolution. If we look at the future as the result of a series of advances propelled by megatrends, then we have a better chance of meeting the challenges it presents, rather than being ambushed by them. We will also be better equipped to prepare tomorrow’s learners. So we will start the year in January with our tri-annual report Trends Shaping Education, which scans the horizon for megatrends that will shape the demand and supply of educational opportunities, and outlines the most significant challenges facing education over the years to come.
But how will education reinvent itself to respond to these megatrends and educate learners for their future? Governments cannot innovate in the classroom, but they can help build and communicate the case for change. Government can also play a key role as platform and broker, as stimulator and enabler; it can focus resources, set a facilitative policy climate, and use accountability to encourage innovation rather than compliance. But education needs to better identify key agents of change, champion them, and find more effective approaches to scaling and disseminating innovation. That is also about finding better ways to recognise, reward and highlight success, and making it easier for innovators to take risks and pursue new ideas.
It is easy to talk about innovation in education, but how do we know where and how this innovation is happening? With our Measuring Innovation report in January, we will look at some of the tools that can make innovation visible, and explore what these tools reveal about the capacity of our education systems to prepare learners for their future, rather than our past.
Another trend shaping education has been the rapidly increasing social and ethnic diversity in student populations. Our Strength Through Diversity report in February will summarise successful policies and practices for integrating students with an immigrant background through education.
In March, ministers of education and teacher union leaders from the best performing and most rapidly improving school systems will meet in Helsinki to explore how to build strong foundations in early childhood education and care in order to shift the emphasis from access to quality, and from care to fostering learning and child well-being. They will also explore how to best support staff in early childhood education to develop the right balance of cognitive, social and emotional competencies. Our background report, Starting strong through quality early childhood education and care, will shed light on this.
In April, we will publish our report on work-based learning in school-based VET programmes, a topic that has been of growing interest to countries seeking to improve the relevance of learning.
What knowledge, skills, attitudes and values will be at a premium in tomorrow’s world, and how can countries best design curricula and instructional systems to support schools in fostering them? Over the last couple of years, governments and a wide range of stakeholders – including students, educators, researchers and those who represent the demand side of education – have been working together to answer these questions. Their answers will be published in our Education 2030 learning framework in May.
Most countries have well-established institutions for educating young learners, but how do we elevate the skills of adults in the face of rapidly changing requirements in life and work? The 2019 edition of the OECD’s Skills Outlook in May will focus on the interplay between digitalisation and the development and utilisation of skills. May will also see an update of the OECD Skills Strategy, which provides a compilation of tools and policies to ensure that countries effectively develop and use the right skills.
One of the highlights of this year will be the first results from the new Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). For the last five years, nearly 50 countries have been working together to develop internationally comparable data on the changing landscape of teaching; on how to attract and effectively prepare candidates for the teaching profession; and on how to provide opportunities for their professional growth and continuous development. Our report Teachers and School Leaders: Continuous Learners in June will present a initial analysis of these questions.
In July, we will be publishing results from the third and final round of the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills, which will further expand the geographic reach of the first global assessment of adult skills. In July, we will also publish a synthesis of results from our project Benchmarking Higher Education System Performance.
In September we will publish our annual indicators report Education at a Glance, which provides the OECD’s report card on the output of educational institutions and the impact of learning; access to education, participation and progression; the financial resources invested in education; and teachers, learning environments and school organisation. This year, for the first time, Education at a Glance will focus on tertiary education.
During this month, we will also publish our comparative analysis of education policies, with the 2019 edition of our Education Policy Outlook under the theme “Working Together to Help Students Achieve Their Potential”. The volume will examine the evolution of policy priorities related to school improvement, evaluation and assessment as well as governance and funding.
In October we will be publishing an analysis of the very first survey of staff in early childhood education and care. The results will give those working in early childhood education a voice on how to better support quality learning and the well-being of children. We will also mark another “first” in November, with the publication of results from the first international assessment of early learning and child well-being.
And we will conclude the year in December with the first results from the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA): the most rigorous and comprehensive international assessment of quality and equity in student learning outcomes to date.
This is just a small selection of more than 50 publications and reports that we plan to publish this year to improve the evidence base on learning outcomes and the performance of education systems, to deepen our understanding of human learning and effective pedagogies, and to help countries with implementing policies that work. So stay tuned!
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