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El welcomes OECD Education at a Glance 2011 report emphasis on quality, equity and well-invested resources

EI welcomes the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Education at Glance 2011 report, released today, which emphasises the need to maintain quality in education in a context of mounting pressure on governments to cut spending despite demand for higher education increasing.

The report continues to stress the need for national education policies centred on delivering quality education, measured by internationally comparable learning outcomes. In a welcome move, however, this year’s report has softened the focus on delivering  ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’ schooling, opting instead to focus attention on creating equitable and inclusive learning environments for all students.

Acknowledging the report, EI President, Susan Hopgood, said: “Teacher unions around the world welcome the shift in focus of this year’sEducation at a Glance to the importance of achieving equality of outcomes by ensuring equity in education, defined in the report as a ‘fair allocation of resources,’ as well as a school environment with ‘positive student-teacher relations, certified teachers and a strong infrastructure.’”

The OECD report also insists that countries should put their efforts into lowering the prevalence of vulnerable students from disadvantaged backgrounds by ensuring equitable and inclusive learning environments that support student diversity. Importantly, Education at a Glance demonstrates how schools systems tend to be inclusive when experienced teachers and material resources are evenly distributed among schools. It notes that achieving equality and equity is possible through policies that encourage mixed-ability schools and allocate appropriate resources to disadvantaged schools.

One of the report’s new indicators places emphasis on school accountability, looking mainly at outcome-based accountability forms including national examinations and school inspections, as well as school choice. EI rejects this focus on outcome-based accountability forms because it believes that they are too narrow and do not take into account teacher leadership and professionalism. 

EI also notes that the report is based predominantly on data from the OECD’s PISA 2009 Programme, with many indicators using data that precedes 2009. Therefore, EI believes this data is inadequate to properly reveal the impact of the global financial and economic crises on the financing of education in recent years. EI does, however, welcome the fact that in addition to data provided by 34 OECD countries, Education at a Glance includes – for the first time – analysis of education systems in Argentina, Brazil, China (Shanghai), India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

To read the full report please visit: http://www.oecd.org/

For further information, contact Pav Akhtar, EI Communications Unit: tel: +32 473 950 275 or email: pav@ei-ie.org

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