OECD Report: Success of global education reforms threatened by lack of oversight.

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Released January 19, 2015 – Governments around the world are under growing pressure to improve their education systems. Rising spending is increasingly being matched by reforms to help disadvantaged children, invest in teachers and improve vocational training. But a widespread lack of evaluation of the impact of these reforms could hinder their effectiveness and hurt educational outcomes, according to a new OECD report.

Education Policy Outlook 2015: Making Reforms Happen finds that once new policies are adopted, there is little follow-up. Only around one in 10 of the 450 different reforms put in place between 2008 and 2014 were evaluated for their impact by governments between their launch and the publication of this report.

Measuring policy impact more rigorously and consistently will prove more cost-effective in the long-run, says the OECD. It will also ensure that future reforms are built on policies proven to work over a timeframe independent of political cycles or pressures.

“Too many education reforms are failing to measure success or failure in the classroom,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills, at the launch of the report at the Education World Forum in London. “While it is encouraging to see a greater focus on outcomes, rather than simply increasing spending, it’s crucial that reforms are given the time to work and their impact is analyzed.”

“Education represents 12.9% of government spending, with total expenditure across the OECD exceeding 2.5 trillion dollars a year, equivalent to the GDP of the United Kingdom,” he added. “This valuable investment must be deployed in the most effective way. Reforms on paper need to translate into better education in our schools and classrooms.”

The report finds a trend of reform priorities converging across the OECD. Of the reforms analyzed, most focused on: supporting disadvantaged children and early childhood care; reforming vocational education systems and building links with employers; improving training and professional development for teachers; and strengthening school evaluation and assessment.

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