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.

Adult Learning Achieves Primacy Across Global Societies

The number of adults engaged in formal learning around the globe in any giving year is astounding. Increasingly adult participation in learning is enabled through the robust emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem. Globally this is  nurtured by such applications as universal language translation. Together these factors help define the rapidly evolving Learning Age. There are a number of sources for global data on adult participation rates in education and formal learning. Global efforts are not directly comparable but together they illustrate the massive investment people from around the world are making in continuous learning. The questions for higher education are a matter of Academic Strategy and are learner-centric in nature. Seven framing questions focus attention on the learner and learning:

  1. Who are the engaged learners?
  2. What objectives do engaged learners seek?
  3. What learning provider models and curricula are available to the learners?
  4. What learning theories and methods are appropriate for specific learners and the objectives they seek?
  5. What is the optimum curriculum architecture for an institution or educational entity in the 21st Century?
  6. What specific curriculum can be configured to meet the learning needs of the learner population(s) an institution has chosen or been charged to serve?
  7. What support services are necessary to enable specific learner population(s) to successfully complete the curriculum and meet their objectives?

In this post we will focus on the numbers of learners in the adult learning marketplace. We begin in Europe.

An Overview from OECD

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international economic organization of 34 countries founded in 1961 (with roots back to 1948) to stimulate economic progress and world trade. OECD maintains the Indicators of Education Systems (INES) program that provides data on the performance of the education systems in the OECD’s 34 member countries and a set of partner countries, including non-member G20 nations. In a report Skills Beyond School they report adult participation in Education and Learning in OECD Member countries. Combined the European population covered by OECD is a little more than the U.S. at just under 400 million. Findings include:

  • Across the OECD, more than 40% of adults participate in formal and/or non-formal education in a given year. (This is the same range as U.S. adult participation rates.) The proportion ranges from more than 60% in New Zealand and Sweden to less than 15% in Greece and Hungary.
  • On average in the OECD area, an individual can expect to receive 988 hours of instruction in non-formal education during his or her working life, of which 715 hours are instruction in job-related non-formal education.
  • Overall, 27% of adults in OECD countries have looked for information on learning possibilities in the preceding 12 months, and 87% of those seeking information found some.
Figure 1: Participation rate in formal and/or non-formal education, (OECD Chart C5.4)

Figure 1: Participation rate in formal and/or non-formal education, (OECD Chart C5.4)

 

Figure 2: Participation rate in all and in job-related non-formal education, hours of instruction per participant and per adult in job-related non-formal education, 2007 (OECD Chart C5.2)

Figure 2: Participation rate in all and in job-related non-formal education, hours of instruction per participant and per adult in job-related non-formal education, 2007 (OECD Chart C5.2)

 

Figure 3: OECD Expected hours over the working life in all non-formal education and in job-related non-formal education, 2007

Figure 3: OECD Expected hours over the working life in all non-formal education and in job-related non-formal education, 2007

 

European Numbers from Eurostat Indicating Changes in Rates Over 20+ Years

Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. It provides the European Union with statistics that enable comparisons between countries and regions. The Adult Education Survey (AES) is a household survey on lifelong learning. People living in private households are interviewed about their participation in education and training activities (formal, non-formal and informal learning). The target population of the survey is composed of people aged 25 to 64. The survey takes place every five years and its results are published on Eurostat website. Eurostat also provides Population Statistics of European countries.

Figure 4: Adult Learners Age 25 to 64 Who Reported Receiving Education

Figure 4: Adult Learners Age 25 to 64 Who Reported Receiving Education

 Source: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&plugin=1&language=en&pcode=tsdsc440

The variability in participation rates among the European nations is profound. The focus on assessing and enhancing participation in educational activities however, is universally among the highest priorities. For deeper insights a visit to the OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, is worth the time.

U.S. Adult Participation Rates Numbers from NCES

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary U.S. entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education. The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) provides descriptive data on the educational activities of the U.S. population, thereby offering policymakers, researchers, and educators a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States. The latest numbers for the U.S. Adult Participation Rates is for 2005.

Figure 5: U.S. Summary of All Adults Enrolled in Any Program 1991-2005

Figure 5: U.S. Summary of All Adults Enrolled in Any Program 1991-2005

 Participation Varies by Age Category

Breaking out the rates by age group highlights that Eurostat begins its age classifications of adult learners at 25 where as the U.S. NHES included 17-24 year olds.

Figure 6: U.S. Adult Participation in Education by Age Group

Figure 6: U.S. Adult Participation in Education by Age Group

 

The U.S. Undergraduate Demographic

Reflecting on the characteristics of enrolled college students informs a deeper look at adult learning strategies. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation published an effective demographic infographic detailing what America would look like as 100 College Students.

Figure 7: Demographic Characteristics of American Undergraduate College Students

Figure 7: Demographic Characteristics of American Undergraduate College Students

Comparative rates from Canadian Study

Each nation exhibits a competitive concern over educational achievement by adult learners as a main component of their economic vitality strategy. The Conference Board of Canada has produced a  website that presents data and analysis on Canada’s national and provincial performance relative to that of 15 peer countries in six performance categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and Society.

How Canada Performs is a multi-year research program to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in the socio-economic performance of Canada and its provinces. It helps policy-makers, organization leaders, and all Canadians answer the following questions: How do the quality-of-life report cards for Canada and its provinces compare to those of peer countries? Is Canada’s quality of life sustainable? Has there been an improvement? What must Canada and the provinces do to provide a high and sustainable quality of life for all Canadians?

Figure 8:  Adult Participation in Education in Canada Compared to 15 Countries

Figure 8:  Adult Participation in Education in Canada Compared to 15 Countries

Source: Adult Participation in Education in Canada Compared to 15 Countries

Asia and Africa reflect a wide range of Participation

For Asia a great place to start is The State and Development of Adult Learning and Education in Asia and the Pacific report by UNESCO. Insights from the report help establish the climate for Adult Learners.

The history of adult learning and education is a hit-and-miss story – starting off with strong rhetoric, promises and expectation and concluding in limited success, and even neglect and disappointment in too many cases. Adult learning and education has been conflated into the broader agenda of education and development more at the level of discourse than in action. In the arena of action, it has been too often confined to a narrow interpretation of literacy skills. Hence, for most governments in developing countries where financial and human resources are limited, adult education is low in the pecking order when it comes to assigning priority to sub-sectors of the education system (Tanvir, 2008). Furthermore, NGOs are often the major providers of adult learning, although this is largely limited to adult literacy programmes, which then becomes a reason for the state not to fulfill its responsibility. (Page 7)

For Africa, the same source different publication: The State and Development of Adult Learning and Education in Subsaharan Africa.

After decades of sustained efforts to eradicate illiteracy in Africa, illiteracy rates of adults remain high with continuing gender and urban/rural disparities. Illiteracy has several correlations with low productivity, low incomes and poorer health (and susceptibility to HIV/AIDS). It hampers national development efforts. It is a bar to much adult education. The enormous growth in free universal primary education in Africa will gradually alleviate this problem, but drop-out rates from primary schooling remain high. The number of people needing adult basic education still grows and few resources are left over from primary education for children. The adult education sub-sector of state education systems remains relatively marginal and under-funded, in spite of the good economic progress in many countries since the mid-1990s.

So what does it mean?

It means the demand for curriculum among adult learners is huge and growing globally. The demand must be considered in addition to the focus on traditional 18 to 22 year old undergraduates. In order to translate that into place based learning one must define the place (the specific area in which learners reside), select the closest approximation of participation rate by curriculum category and calculate the theoretical demand. In the U.S. we begin with the U.S. and World Population Clock.  In the U.S. there is One Birth every 8 seconds; One Death every 12 seconds; One International In Migration every 33 seconds; for a Net Gain of One Person every 16 seconds. This establishes the context of rate of change over time.

Once a population and a rate is established, an adult learning population can be estimated. In the U.S. there are approximately 320.2 million people, and an estimated 180.7 million 21 to 65 year olds. Given a 40% participation rate there are an estimated 72.3 million adults in the U.S. Learning Marketplace Annually. Of course these are rough framing estimates but they indicate that adult learning is a well established and important strategic element of social and economic vitality. It must also be a strategic element of framing higher education strategies for the next millennium. To approach these markets new academic strategies must be developed.

The Future of Japanese Higher Education 2014

Japan

In preparing for a client engagement we assembled three required reads for our team. Our interest is in the future of higher education as it is evolving around the globe. We are also keenly interested in the policy backdrop that shapes a nation’s higher education system. That said this post provides a contemporary context by leading with Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to strengthen the economic outlook through long term higher education initiative. It ends with a perspective from India commenting on Japans strategic position in higher education in Asia.

Abeducation – A new push for higher education internationalization

by Suvendrini Kakuchi, Univeristy World News 27 June 2013 Issue No:278

Following the much-touted “Abenomics” floated by the administration of Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to revive the country’s stagnant economy, Tokyo last week unveiled “Abeducation” to promote the internationalisation of the country’s higher education.
Abeducation, Abe’s growth strategy for education to develop human resources that can “prevail on the world stage”, is the latest official bid to reconstruct Japan. This is in line with new economic policies such as injecting new funds into the economy and other initiatives to resurrect Japan`s sagging clout in the world.
“Abeducation aims to enhance the globalisation of our higher education institutions that have fallen in international university rankings. It is time to transform Japanese universities to world universities so they can be placed within the top ranking,” Minister of Education Hakubun Shimomura said at a press conference last Tuesday.

Globalization and Higher Education Reforms in Japan: The Obstacles to Greater International Competitiveness

Japan’s universities have experienced a huge number of systemic and organizational reforms over the last 20 years. Amano Ikuo, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, looks back on the origins of the reforms as a response to globalization and ahead to the problems that still need to be addressed.— Amano Ikuo March 11, 2014

Another Perspective: Japan continues to be Asian giant in higher education, China closing in

Manash Pratim Gohain, The Times of India Jun 19, 2014.

NEW DELHI: Japan continues it’s dominance in Asian higher education by holding the top position yet again in the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2014, released a few hours ago on Thursday. The country has 20 representatives in the Top 100 table. But breathing down its neck is mainland China, which made significant stride registering 18 of its universities in the list, an increase of three since last rankings.

Look for more Future of Higher Education synopsis posted here. Guest Blog posts on the outlook or future of higher education are welcome.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Releases 2014 Data for Education

Education at a Glance 2014

OECD Education at a Glance 2014

Annual Comparative International Data on Education

OECD released their annual data report September 9, 2014. It is the leading international compendium of comparable national statistics measuring the state of education worldwide. This year’s report includes new indicators that provide further evidence of the critical role that education and skills play in fostering social progress. These include the links between education levels and employment; educational attainment and social mobility; and trend data and analysis for all the key indicators.

The report also addresses: public and private spending on education; its social and economic benefits for people and economies; tuition fees; the outcomes of education based on an analysis of tertiary completion rates; and class sizes, teacher salaries and instruction times.

The report analyses the education systems of the 34 OECD member countries, as well as Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

The OECD Annual Release is a much anticipated event around international educational policy arenas. The amount of data is enormous and a bit daunting for those new to the organizations fundamental activities and purpose.  The chart below illustrates the type of data comparisons available from OECD and is the latest comparative data available. (as with any massive international data set they tend to be lagging a few years)

Chart B3.2. Distribution of public and private expenditure on educational institutions (2011 Data)

 

OECD 2014 Funding Share Distribution

 

About The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is a unique forum where the governments of 34 democracies with market economies work with each other, as well as with more than 70 non-member economies to promote economic growth, prosperity, and sustainable development. OECD member countries account for 59 percent of world GDP, three-quarters of world trade, 95 percent of world official development assistance, over half of the world’s energy consumption, and 18 percent of the world’s population. Together with its sister agencies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the OECD helps countries – both members and non-members – reap the benefits and confront the challenges of a global economy by promoting economic growth, free markets, efficient use of resources, and energy security.

International Students in Contemporary Context Insight from the U.K.

UK ImmigrationThe British public do not see international students as “immigrants” and are opposed to reducing the number coming here, even if this would make it harder to reduce immigration numbers, according to new research released today by Universities UK and think-tank British Future.

The government should instead remove international students from the net migration target and support and challenge universities to attract more international students to study here, the report argues.

The new research poses a challenge to the government as it seeks to keep its promise to reduce net migration to “tens of thousands”.  International students are the largest group of migrants from outside the EU counted in the government’s net migration figures, representing around a third of all people coming into Britain.

Yet only a fifth (22%) of people think of international students as “immigrants” at all.

Other findings include:

  • When people are told that students are part of the target, “the most common reaction is surprise and even bafflement that international students are classified as immigrants at all,” the report says.
  • New ICM polling conducted for the organisations finds that targeting international students would be unpopular and would fail to address public concerns about immigration. Six out of ten (59%) people say the government should not reduce the number of international students, even if this makes it harder to reduce immigration numbers. Only 22 per cent would support a reduction in international student numbers.
  • Among Conservative voters, the figure was even higher, with two-thirds (66%) of Tories opposed to a reduction in international student numbers, compared to just 23 per cent who would reduce international student numbers so as to get immigration numbers down.
  • The majority of people (75%) are in favour of allowing international students to stay on and work after they finish their degree. Support rises to 81% for Conservative voters.
  • Sixty per cent think international students bring money into the local economy, compared to only 12 per cent who think they are a net drain on the local economy.  Support rises to two-thirds (66%) of people living in university towns and nearly three quarters (72%) of Conservative voters.
  • Sixty-one per cent agree that Britain’s universities would have less funding to invest in top-quality facilities and teaching without the higher fees paid by international students. Only seven per cent disagree.

Download the study here.

“University of the Future” a Global Survey of Students

FYIHE 2

Laureate International Universities is the world’s largest network of higher education institutions with 75 members located in 29 countries and enrolling more than 850,000 students worldwide. In an effort to look forward and develop a vision for the future of their members over the next 15 years they commissioned a large scale survey of their students.

They commissioned Zogby Analytics to survey their students and 20,876 learners responded. The survey asked students about their vision of the optimum university  model 15 years in the future.

  • 52 percent of students who participated said most courses would be offered any time of day or night and 44 percent said most courses would have no fixed schedule
  • 41 percent of respondents said students would be able to earn specialized certificates to allow them to manage the pace of their academic career, rather than concentrating it into a two- or four-year span with a degree at the end
  • 54 percent said that collaborative courses focused on group projects will be offered, and 61 percent said that most courses will be designed by industry experts
  • 64 percent said courses will be offered in multiple languages Students will be able to access personalized instruction or tutoring online, according to 43 percent of those surveyed
  • 71 percent of survey respondents told researchers they think “career-oriented skills (not just subject matter) will be taught in future universities,” according to a summary of the findings
  • 43 percent of surveyed students said “their courses will include free content on the Internet to unlimited numbers of students,” according to the survey summary. That number increased slightly among students aged 18-24 and those in developing countries, to 45 and 44 percent, respectively
  • 55 percent saying that changes to how students take courses will benefit them, Asian students were both the most likely to tell researchers that future universities will be dominated by online content, and to say they think that’s a good thing
  • 44 percent of respondents said they think future instructors will be “part-time industry experts instead of full-time instructors,” according to the summary
  • 21 of respondents said they believe that grades will be based purely on academic performance and 64 percent said they would reflect a combination of academic performance and how much students contributed to teams

This is a must read. The study can be retrieved here.

An interview with John Zogby, Pollster and Founder, Zogby Analytics; Jonathan Zogby, President and CEO, Zogby Analytics; and Doug Becker, Chairman and CEO, Laureate Education, Inc. (Washington, DC June 9, 2014).

#FYIHigherEd

Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Michael G. Dolence and Associates teamed with the architectural firm of Perkins+Will as academic planning and prototyping consultant for the design of the 3.2 million-square-foot, 2,000 acre campus. The prototype drew upon a comprehensive course and program repository assembled within the MGD+A proprietary academic planning system. Over 800 curricula informed the development of 1,476 courses to support 52 programs of study to guide the University’s language institute, eight colleges, and six schools within the College of Health. The prototype identified specific design criteria for the physical facilities required to teach each program of study. The prototyping process resulted in a design that accommodates 42,000 students in minimum curriculum architecture format and over 70,000 using an optimized curriculum architecture. The University currently enrolls more than 60,000 students.

View the Perkins+Will Image Gallery for this project.
View project photographer Bill Lyons Photo Gallery.
View the full article in Contract Magazine – March 2014, page 42.

King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University (KSAU) For Health Sciences

King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University (KSAU) For Health Sciences Michael G. Dolence and Associates collaborated with the architectural firm of Perkins+Will as academic planning and prototyping consultant for the design of three health sciences campuses of KSAU (Riyadh 8,000 FTE, Jeddah 4,000 FTE  and Al Hasa 3,000 FTE). MGD+A drew upon a comprehensive course and program repository assembled within their proprietary academic planning system to provide the design curriculum and specifications for  the three campus University of Health Sciences.  The academic structure comprised seven Colleges including Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Applied Medical Sciences, Nursing, Basic Sciences, and Public Health & Informatics, as-well-as, a continuing education division.  The prototype identified specific design criteria for the physical facilities required to teach each program of study and projected required facilities for 30 years in the future.

University of Salahaddin – Erbil Iraq (in Design 2013-2014)

Michael G. Dolence and Associates partnered with the global construction management firm Dar Al-Handasah and  the architectural firm Perkins and Will as academic planning and prototyping consultant for the design and phased construction of the new campus. A comprehensive curriculum was constructed and a  50 year prototype developed permitting the exploration of multiple scenarios  to inform project design and implementation.  Highlights of the project include a 135 laboratory science complex, an applied engineering complex, a performing and visual arts complex, a campus school, and an English language institute.

University of Salahaddin – Erbil Iraq (in Design 2013-2014)

University of Salahaddin – Erbil Iraq (in Design 2013-2014)