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“PISA, well-being, and teacher unions”, by David Edwards.

Many of the headlines when the OECD releases its PISA reports focus on country rankings. While we have consistently critiqued the league table approach there is much in these reports that is useful to educators and their unions.

A good example is the PISA report for 2018[1], released in December of last year. It contains, and not for the first time, a volume on student well-being. It looks at numbers, but not only at numbers. In this report, it confirmswhat everybody knows instinctively. For example, on “school climate”, it says,

“A positive school climate is one of those things that is difficult to define and measure, but everyone – including parents – recognises it when they see it. The state of the school’s facilities, the tone of the conversations in corridors, the enthusiasm of the school staff and the way students interact during breaks are some of the signs that visitors can read to quickly and broadly assess a school’s climate.”

Teacher Enthusiasm

The PISA questionnaire for 2018 also included an attempt to measure the impact of teacher enthusiasm[2] on student well-being and achievement. Although, the link between the two areas is correlational not causal, there seemed to be a connection:

“PISA findings reveal that, in a clear majority of countries and economies, the more enthusiastic 15-year-old students perceived their teachers to be, the higher they scored in the reading assessment, even after accounting for the socio-economic profile of students and schools.”

Learning environment

The report stresses that the learning environment is not just about the school climate. There are many other factors such as the home environment, social and economic situations, andthe community. An example isbullying,which this PISA shows, as did earlier reports, is a very serious problem. It does not all take place in school, but it often “spills over” into school. As the report indicates, teachers and education support personnel play a crucial role in this domain:

“Teachers and principals not only need to be able to recognise bullying when it happens, but they may also need to create an atmosphere where bullying is less likely to occur. Research suggests that a supportive and caring school environment is linked to a lower prevalence of bullying and to students’ willingness to seek help.”

Although relationships are not a major focus of the report, it recognises that they are an essential part of school life and climate. Interestingly, and possibly related, the report shows that there is a correlation between heavy student use of the internet and feeling “sad”,

“…when students were asked how frequently they feel sad and miserable, the differences between the categories of Internet users were greater. The more time students reported spending connected to the Internet, the more likely they were to report feeling sad and miserable. For instance, on average across OECD countries, 35% of low Internet users reported feeling miserable sometimes or always, compared to 38% of average Internet users and 44% of heavy Internet users.”

The PISA report also shows the important connection between teaching and learning, positively and negatively. On the positive side, the report states,

“One of the main ideas that informs this report is that life at school is a key aspect of students’ lives. School is not only the place where children acquire knowledge but, crucially for this report, it is the place where children make friends, build trusting relationships with teachers and develop an attachment to the school.”

Teacher and Student Well-being

There is one area for which research is long overdue and that is on the link between student and teacher well-being. Both the OECD Directorate and EI agreed that this should take place but not a single OECD country has agreed to back it as a special project. PISA 2021 will include a teacher questionnaire which will also include questions for teachers on their well-being and it will then be possible to correlate evidence with student well-being. However, it is a matter of real concern that countries have not prioritised teacher well-being as worthy of research.


OECD has improved its policy advice significantly over the last decade.  They have recognised that collective bargaining is critical to effective working relationships, have included a positive focus on teachers in their reports and are adding teacher wellbeing questions to the survey.  They have recognised the importance of professional autonomy and underline the need for governments to work with teacher unions if they are going to affect positive educational change.  While we will continue to challenge OECD when they apply the wrong angle, there is much to encourage in their developing approach to student knowledge.

[1] A .pdf file of Volume III can be found at For ease of reading, specific sources have been omitted in this article, but are available in the text and at the end of each chapter.

[2] In terms of definition, the OECD refers to what it believes to be a consensus: “Teacher enthusiasm has traditionally been defined as a lively and motivating teaching style that includes a range of behaviours, such as varied gestures, body movements, facial expressions and voice intonations, and the frequent use of humour, that reflects a strong interest in the subject. More recently, the emphasis has shifted to the pleasure that teachers take in a subject or in teaching more generally – a definition closer to the ideas of enjoyment, passion and experience.”


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OECD: upward educational mobility ‘possible in Switzerland’

By Isobel Leybold-Johnson/

People from disadvantaged groups are more likely to participate in Swiss higher education and have better outcomes than in many other countries, says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). But there is still room for improvement.

Switzerland does perform better in terms of equity in education (equal opportunities) – the key theme of the 2018 global OECD reportexternal link –  than average in most areas, the OECD confirmed to on Tuesday.

Indeed, students in Switzerland have more opportunities for upward educational mobility than on average across other OECD countries, it said in its country report for Switzerlandexternal link.

For example, the country was above average when it came to the likelihood of students advancing to tertiary education (higher education institutions) when they do not have a tertiary-educated parent.

But this group was one that was “still less likely to perform well or attain higher levels of education than those from an advantaged background,” said the OECD’s Marie-Helene Doumet in an email.

There were also other areas needing improvement. Foreign-born adults in Switzerland are more likely to have gone to university or higher education than the OECD average. But comparative to other countries, they have a harder time finding jobs than locally-born degree holders, the OECD said.

Vocational training

Overall, as in other OECD countries, most people have upper secondary levelexternal link (education that prepares for higher education or entry into the workplace) as their highest qualification level in Switzerland (45%).

The country is however above average in terms of bachelor and masters level attainment and has a higher proportion of doctorate holders than any other OECD country at 3% of its adult population.

Vocational training remains a key field in the Swiss educational landscape, with 65% of upper secondary students enrolled in vocational programmes, the report said. This compares to a 44% OECD average. In all, 58% are enrolled in combined school- and work based programmes, “the highest share across all OECD countries,” the report noted.

Tradition, model

Switzerland’s dual vocational and education training (VET) system is often held up as a model for others, with interest from countries such as Singapore and the United States.


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Book: The Future of Education and Skills 2030 (PDF)

OECD / April 29, 2018 / Author: OECD

OECD Education 2030

The Future of Education and Skills 2030 project aims to help countries find answers to what knowledge, skills, attitudes and values are needed for today’s students to thrive and shape their world, as well as how instructional systems can effectively develop them.

Link for download:

Source of the Review:

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Polska: Średnia pensja nauczyciela to 5 tys. zł? Rzeczywistość wygląda zupełnie inaczej

Polska / 15 kwietnia 2018 r. / Autor: Karolina Nowakowska / Źródło: Gazeta Prawna

Od 1 kwietnia nauczyciele otrzymali podwyżki. Jednak średnie wynagrodzenie pedagogów, jakie podaje MEN, ma niewiele wspólnego z rzeczywistością.

1 kwietnia 2018 roku zasadnicze pensje nauczycieli z tytułem magistra i wykształceniem pedagogicznym wzrosną odpowiednio:

nauczyciela stażysty – o 123 zł;
nauczyciela kontraktowego – o 126 zł;
nauczyciela mianowanego – o 143 zł;
nauczyciela dyplomowanego – o 168 zł.

Tym samym minimalne wynagrodzenie nauczycieli z tytułem magistra i z przygotowaniem pedagogicznym wyniesie odpowiednio:

2417 zł
2487 zł
2681 zł
3317 zł

Nauczyciele z tytułem magistra i bez przygotowania pedagogicznego oraz nauczyciele z tytułem inżyniera (licencjata) z przygotowaniem pedagogicznym zarobią:

2127 zł
2180 zł
2461 zł
2889 zł

Nauczyciele z tytułem inżyniera (licencjata) bez przygotowania pedagogicznego oraz absolwenci kolegium nauczycielskiego zarobią:

1877 zł
1923 zł
2160 zł
2525 zł

MEN podkreśla, że nauczyciele otrzymali podwyżki w wysokości 5 proc. Jak wylicza ZNP, podwyżki w 2018 roku wcale nie będą tak duże jak zapowiada MEN >>> . W liście do Anny Zalewskiej czytamy: „W projekcie rozporządzenia określono nowe stawki wynagrodzenia zasadniczego nauczycieli, uwzględniając 5 proc. podwyżkę wynagrodzeń od dnia 1 kwietnia 2018 r. W związku z tym, że w roku bieżącym nie przewidziano wyrównania podwyżki wynagrodzeń od 1 stycznia 2018 r., faktyczna podwyżka wynagrodzeń w skali roku wynosić będzie 3,75 proc. Odliczając inflację szacowaną w roku 2018 na 2,3 proc, uzyskujemy podwyżkę wynagrodzeń nauczycielskich na poziomie 1,45 proc.”.

Poza wynagrodzeniem zasadniczym nauczyciele mogą liczyć na kilka dodatków: motywacyjny, dodatek za warunki pracy, dodatek wiejski dla nauczycieli, dodatek funkcyjny, dodatek stażowy.

Dodatki: motywacyjny, funkcyjny, za warunki pracy oraz mieszkaniowy i wiejski są przyznawane fakultatywnie. Obligatoryjny charakter ma dodatek stażowy i przyznawany jest każdemu nauczycielowi w czwartym roku pracy. W kolejnych latach pracy nauczyciela dodatek za wysługę lat ulega zwiększeniu. Co istotne, nauczycielowi pracującemu w więcej niż jednej szkole okresy uprawniające do dodatku za wysługę lat ustala się odrębnie dla każdego stosunku pracy.

MEN policzył, że w 2017 roku średnie zarobki nauczycieli wynosiły:

nauczyciela stażysty – 2 753 zł,
kontraktowego – 3 056 zł,
mianowanego – 3 963 zł i
dyplomowanego – 5 065 zł.

Średnia uwzględnia jednak wszystkie składniki wynagrodzenia. Jak podkreśla ZNP nauczyciele zarabiają tyle wyłącznie teoretycznie, ponieważ nie jest możliwe, aby jakikolwiek nauczyciel w Polsce miał prawo do wszystkich składników wynagrodzenia naraz (tzn. miał prawo jednocześnie do zasiłku na zagospodarowanie i odprawy emerytalnej).

Średnia płaca zasadnicza wynosiła w 2017 roku zaledwie 2314 zł brutto.

Średnie wynagrodzenie nauczycieli w Polsce jest też niższe od średniego wynagrodzenia osób z wyższym wykształceniem.

Z raportu OECD «Education at Glance 2017» wynika, że ta relacja wynosi

72 proc. w przypadku nauczycieli pracujących w przedszkolach
84 proc. w przypadku nauczycieli pracujących w podstawówkach i liceach;
85 proc. w przypadku nauczycieli pracujących w gimnazjach

Źródło artykułu:,ile-zarabiaja-nauczyciele-tak-naprawde.html?google_editors_picks=true

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OECD: Preparing Our Yuth for an Inclusive and Sustainable World

Introduction: The importance of an international global competence assessment

Twenty-first century students live in an interconnected, diverse and rapidly changing world. Emerging economic, digital,  cultural, demographic and environmental forces are shaping young people’s lives around the planet, and increasing their intercultural encounters on a daily basis. This complex environment presents an opportunity and a challenge. Young people today must not only learn to participate in a more interconnected world but also appreciate and benefit from cultural differences. Developing a global and intercultural outlook is a process – a lifelong process – that education can shape (Barrett et al., 2014; Boix Mansilla and Jackson, 2011; Deardorff, 2009; UNESCO, 2013, 2014a, 2016).

What is global competence?

Global competence is a multidimensional capacity. Globally competent individuals can examine local, global and intercultural issues, understand and appreciate different perspectives and world views, interact successfully and respectfully with others, and take responsible action toward sustainability and collective well-being.

Can schools promote global competence?

Schools play a crucial role in helping young people to develop global competence. They can provide opportunities for young people t ocritically examine global developments that are significant to both the world at large and to their own lives. They can teach students how
to critically, effectively and responsibly use digital information and social media platforms. Schools can encourage intercultural sensitivity and respect by allowing students to engage in experiences that foster an appreciation for diverse peoples, languages and cultures (Bennett, 1993; Sinicrope, Norris and Watanabe, 2007). Schools are also uniquely positioned to enhance young people’s ability to understand their place in the community and the world, and improve their ability to make judgements and take action (Hanvey, 1975).

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Japan: Education: Best investment for our future

Japan/November 28, 2017/By:  IKUKO TSUBOYA-NEWELL/ Source:

Among the 34 nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Japan has always been among the bottom three when it comes to public spending on education as a percentage of GDP. In 2011, Japan was the worst at 3.8 percent, followed by Slovakia and Italy — against the OECD average of 5.6 percent. Countries that come on top in this category are Denmark, Norway and New Zealand.

Of course, to be fair, the ratio of student numbers to the total population needs to be considered with respect to this data. Japan, in fact, has the second-lowest ratio at 15.5 percent, sitting between Chile, the lowest, and Italy. The OECD average is 22.2 percent.

Looking at the ratio of spending on education to total general government spending, the OECD average is 12.9 percent. Again Japan ranks low, coming in second to last at 9.1 percent, just above Italy at 8.6 percent. At the top is New Zealand with 21.6 percent.

In summary, Japan does not invest heavily in education. This creates financial pressure on households as they try to provide fundamental education to their children, particularly in the underfunded areas of preschool and higher education. Data show that when it comes to household expenditures for pre-elementary school education, the top five spenders are Japan, Australia, South Korea, the United States and Spain. For higher education they are Chile, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Japan and the U.S.

In all of these countries, a large number of households bear heavy financial burden for these two important stages of education.

In the case of Japan, we see that annual government spending per head is quite unevenly distributed — people in their 70s and 80s receive far more, for example, than newborns to 16-year-olds because of the heavy cost of welfare programs such as pensions, medical services and nursing care.

While this lopsided distribution has long been the case, the government is now seeking to shift resources more toward the younger generation. It plans to provide more public funding for preschool education, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party is considering the introduction of a scheme to ease household costs for higher education similar to the HECS-HELP system in Australia, in which the government issues an interest-free loan on behalf of students to pay tuition fees directly to higher education providers. This loan is subject to indexation but charges no real interest. Students begin to repay the debt once their income is above a minimum threshold.

These are good initiatives, but are they enough? There are other factors that should be considered as well, and one very important issue is class size and diversity of students per class. As far as elementary schools are concerned, countries with the largest class sizes are Chile, with an average of 30.4 students, followed by Japan with 27.9 and Israel with 27.3. The OECD average is 21.2. For junior high schools, the average in South Korea is 34.0, while in Japan it is 32.7 and for Israel it is 28.7. The OECD average is 23.3 students per class.

It must be noted that the numbers for Japan include schools in severely depopulated areas. There can actually be up to 40 students per class in any public school (except for the first grade, where the maximum is set at 35). This means populated areas generally have classes with far more students than the average. This is particularly problematic because these are the areas in Japan where students are more likely to be socio-economically and academically at risk.

In Japan, there are 631,000 students identified as having developmental disabilities in the public elementary and junior high schools. This translates to 2.5 students out of the maximum class size of 40. One out of seven students comes from a household of relative poverty, or 5.7 out of every 40. Among public elementary school students, 13.4 percent, or 5.3 out of every 40, say classes are too easy and boring. Another 15 percent, or six out of every 40, say classes are too difficult and that they have difficulty understanding the content. There are 80,119 non-Japanese students in public or state schools, from elementary to high school, who need intensive Japanese lessons. This is a distribution of 0.3 students per class.

Overall, there is likely to be a considerable range of students in any one large class. Surely this must impact the likelihood of effective teaching.

Reducing class size to increase student achievement has been debated and analyzed for several decades. Smaller class sizes are generally welcomed for allowing teachers more time to spend with each student and less time on classroom management. This means the teacher can provide better teaching, tailored to each student’s individual needs, to ensure maximum success. In this respect, smaller class sizes may be viewed as an indicator of the quality of a school system.

An influential and credible study of the effects of reduced class size is the Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) study carried out in the U.S. state of Tennessee in the late 1980s. In this study, students and teachers were randomly assigned either to a small class, with an average of 15 students, or a regular class, with an average of 22 students. It was found that a smaller class size increased student achievement by an amount equivalent to about three additional months of schooling over four years. A long-term follow-up survey of participants into adulthood showed that they were about 2 percent more likely to be enrolled in college at the age of 20.

International studies also provide evidence of the positive effect of class-size reduction. Israel, just like Japan, has a limit of 40 students. Researchers there found positive effects from smaller fourth- and fifth-grade classes.

Why then, do we in Japan, continue to maintain a class size limit of 40 when in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany the limit is around 30? Of course, to some extent the answer is related to decisions about the careful use of taxpayer money and considerations that it be used most productively without undue waste. Perhaps, because of historical and cultural factors, it has been easier to have larger classes in Japan. For instance, a Confucian heritage means that teachers are highly respected and easily obeyed, and thus less affected by larger class sizes.

The OECD points out that data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) suggests that high-performing education systems, such as those in Japan and South Korea, prioritize the quality of teachers rather than class size. Catherine Rampell, writing in the The New York Times, also points out that South Korea and Japan, which have some of the highest-achieving students in the world, also have the biggest class sizes. Both of these reports are right and we should be proud of our achievement and the high quality of our teachers. However, even with our Confucian roots, it is growing ever more difficult for a single teacher to meet students’ individual needs in today’s educational contexts.

As far as I am concerned, I would support having my tax contributions spent on providing better educational environments suited to student needs. Why not start by aiming to achieve the OECD’s average number of students per class by limiting class size to 30 students? I do not think I am alone in thinking that one of the best investments for the future is to invest in our children’s education.

Ikuko Tsuboya-Newell is the founder and chair of Tokyo International School. She serves as the International Baccalaureate Japan ambassador and as adviser on revitalization of education commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.


Education: Best investment for our future

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Ghana: World Bank warns of ‘learning crisis’ in global education

Ghana/October 31, 2017/By Iddi Yire/Source:

Millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.

Warning of ‘a learning crisis’ in global education, a new Bank report said schooling without learning was not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.

The World Development Report 2018: ‘Learning to Realise Education’s Promise’, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency, argues that without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all.

It said even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math and the learning crisis was widening social gaps instead of narrowing them.

It said young students who were already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills. “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.

“When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health, and a life without poverty. For communities, education spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. But these benefits depend on learning, and schooling without learning is a wasted opportunity. More than that, it’s a great injustice: the children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life.”

The report recommended concrete policy steps to help developing countries resolve this dire learning crisis in the areas of stronger learning assessments, using evidence of what works and what doesn’t to guide education decision-making; and mobilise a strong social movement to push for education changes that champion ‘learning for all.’

According to the report, when third grade students in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda were asked recently to read a sentence such as “The name of the dog is Puppy” in English or Kiswahili, three-quarters did not understand what it said.

It said in rural India, nearly three-quarters of students in grade three could not solve a two-digit subtraction such as “46 – 17”—and by grade five, half still could not do so.

It said although the skills of Brazilian 15-year-olds had improved, at their current rate of improvement they would not reach the rich-country average score in maths for 75 years; adding that in reading, it would take 263 years.

It said these statistics do not account for 260 million children who, for reasons of conflict, discrimination, disability, and other obstacles, were not enrolled in primary or secondary school.

It said while not all developing countries suffer from such extreme learning gaps, many fall far short of levels they aspire to.

It noted that leading international assessments on literacy and numeracy show that the average student in poor countries performs worse than 95 per cent of the students in high-income countries—meaning such a student would be singled out for remedial attention in a class in those countries.

It said many high-performing students in middle-income countries, young men and women who achieve in the top quarter of their group would rank in the bottom quarter in a wealthier country.

The report, written by a team directed by World Bank Lead Economists, Deon Filmer and Halsey Rogers, identifies what drives these learning shortfalls, not only the ways in which teaching and learning breaks down in too many schools, but also the deeper political forces that cause these problems to persist.

The report noted that when countries and their leaders make “learning for all” a national priority, education standards can improve dramatically.

It cited that, from a war-torn country with very low literacy rates in the 1950s, South Korea achieved universal enrollment by 1995 in high-quality education through secondary school, its young people performed at the highest levels on international learning assessments.

It said Vietnam’s 2012 results from an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) test for high school students in maths, science, and reading called the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), showed that its 15-year-olds performed at the same level as those in Germany—even though Vietnam is a much poorer country.

“The only way to make progress is to ‘find truth from facts.’ If we let them, the facts about education reveal a painful truth. For too many children, schooling does not mean learning,” said World Bank Chief Economist, Paul Romer.

Relying on evidence and advice gathered during extensive consultations in 20 countries, with governments, development and research organisations, CSOs, and the private sector.

The report offers three policy recommendations: firstly, it calls for assess learning, so it could become a measurable goal; secondly, it recommends making schools work for all children and thirdly mobilising everyone who had a stake in learning.

“Developing countries are far from where they should be on learning. Many do not invest enough financial resources and most need to invest more efficiently. But it is not only a matter of money; countries need to also invest in the capacity of the people and institutions tasked with educating our children,” said Jaime Saavedra, World Bank’s Senior Director for Education.


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