Archivo de la categoría: Educación Superior

Ranking mundial de universidades 2009 según su desempeño en la Red

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Se ha dado a conocer el Ranking WEB de universidades en el mundo (6 mil universidades). Más abajo se muestran los resultados para las 100 universidades top de Amèrica Latina.
Metodología
The unit for analysis is the institutional domain, so only universities and research centres with an independent web domain are considered. If an institution has more than one main domain, two or more entries are used with the different addresses.
The first Web indicator, Web Impact Factor (WIF), was based on link analysis that combines the number of external inlinks and the number of pages of the website, a ratio of 1:1 between visibility and size. This ratio is used for the ranking, adding two new indicators to the size component: Number of documents, measured from the number of rich files in a web domain, and number of publications being collected by Google Scholar database.
Four indicators were obtained from the quantitative results provided by the main search engines as follows:
Size (S). Number of pages recovered from four engines: Google, Yahoo, Live Search and Exalead.
Visibility (V). The total number of unique external links received (inlinks) by a site can be only confidently obtained from Yahoo Search.
Rich Files (R). After evaluation of their relevance to academic and publication activities and considering the volume of the different file formats, the following were selected: Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), Adobe PostScript (.ps), Microsoft Word (.doc) and Microsoft Powerpoint (.ppt). These data were extracted using Google, Yahoo Search, Live Search and Exalead.
Scholar (Sc). Google Scholar provides the number of papers and citations for each academic domain. These results from the Scholar database represent papers, reports and other academic items.
The four ranks were combined according to a formula where each one has a different weight but maintaining the ratio 1:1:
The inclusion of the total number of pages is based on the recognition of a new global market for academic information, so the web is the adequate platform for the internationalization of the institutions. A strong and detailed web presence providing exact descriptions of the structure and activities of the university can attract new students and scholars worldwide.
The number of external inlinks received by a domain is a measure that represents visibility and impact of the published material, and although there is a great diversity of motivations for linking, a significant fraction works in a similar way as bibliographic citation.
The success of self-archiving and other repositories related initiatives can be roughly represented from rich file and Scholar data. The huge numbers involved with the pdf and doc formats means that not only administrative reports and bureaucratic forms are involved. PostScript and Powerpoint files are clearly related to academic activities.
Resultados 2009
The 2009 edition of the Ranking Web of World Universities (http://www.webometrics.info) shows important news. Most of them are due to changes done to improve the academic impact of the open web contents and to reduce the geographical bias of search engines. As a result, the US universities still lead the Ranking (MIT with its huge Open Courseware is again the first, followed by Harvard, Stanford and Berkeley), but the digital gap with their European counterparts (Cambridge and Oxford are in the region’s top) has been reduced. Even more important, some of the developing countries institutions reach high ranks, especially in Latin America where the University of Sao Paulo (38th) and UNAM (44th) benefits from the increasingly interconnected Brazilian and Mexican academic webspaces.
Several countries improves their performance including Taiwan and Saudi Arabia with strong web oriented strategies, Czech Republic (Charles), the leader for Eastern Europe, Spain (Complutense) and Portugal (Minho, Porto) with huge repositories and strong Open Access initiatives. Norway (NTNU, Oslo), Egypt could be also mentioned.
On the other side, the underrated countries are headed by France, with a very fragmented system, Korea, whose student-oriented websites are frequently duplicated, New Zealand, India or Argentina.
Africa is still monopolized by South African universities (Cape Town is the first, 405th), as well as Australian Universities are the best ranked for Oceania (Australian National University, 77th)
Other well performing institutions include Cornell or Caltech in the USA, Tokyo (24th) Toronto (28th), Hong Kong (91st), or Peking (104th). On the contrary, in positions below expected we find Yale, Princeton, Saint Petersburg, Seoul and the Indian Institutes of Science or Technology.
Check out also:
Ranking Web of Research Centers http://research.webometrics.info/
Ranking Web of Repositories http://repositories.webometrics.info/
Ranking Web of Hospitals http://hospitals.webometrics.info/
Ranking Web of Business Schools http://business-schools.webometrics.info/

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El proletraiado académico: los profesores “adjuntos” o “meros” docentes

picasso_old_guitarist.jpg El caso de los profesores adjuntos, como se les llama en los Estados Unidos –quienes hace unos días eran caracterizados allá de la siguiente forma y interrogados así: “They don’t make much money, they don’t have health benefits, and they don’t have job security. So why do adjuncts keep showing up to teach in college classrooms semester after semester, year after year?”– representa un fenómeno que acompaña casi inevitablemente a los procesos de masificación de la matrícula y de continua e ilimitada expansión de las funciones docentes.
Surge entonces una capa de docentes o profesores sin posiciones estables, frecuentem ete sin adscripción real ni a una disciplina ni a una institución, que proveen docencia a granel y son remunerados escasamente y tratados, la mayoría de las veces, sin mayor cuidado ni reconocimiento por su labor.
A continuación: el estado del debate sobre estos asuntos en la academia de los EE.UU. visto a través de dos artículos de revistas especializadas.
Seeking Tenure ‘Conversion’ Inside Higher Ed, October 28, 2009
In discussions about the use and abuse of adjunct faculty members, “conversion” is a controversial topic. Typically it refers to a decision by a college or university to convert some number of adjunct positions into a number (typically a smaller number) of tenure-track positions. The idea of conversion has been key to the reform proposals of national faculty groups. Some colleges actually have bucked the trends and converted slots to the tenure track in various ways.
The American Association of University Professors on Tuesday entered the conversion debate in a significant way with a new draft policy on the treatment of adjunct faculty members.
A cursory look at the draft might suggest that it is just another statement from a faculty group calling for better treatment of adjuncts and the creation of more tenure-track lines. But it actually reflects an attempt to shift how conversion might take place — by calling for a switch not of slots, but in the status of those currently working as adjuncts, whom the AAUP wants tenured (or converted).
Specifically, it calls for these faculty members to be considered for tenure based on their teaching contributions (assuming that like most adjuncts they focus on teaching), even if they are at research universities. Further, while the AAUP praises the tactic used by many academic unions and some individual colleges of providing adjuncts with more job security and better benefits and pay, the association goes on record as saying that anything short of tenure can’t be viewed as a substitute.
“As faculty hired into contingent positions seek and obtain greater employment security, often through collective bargaining, it is becoming clear that academic tenure and employment security are not reducible to each other,” the draft statement says. “A potentially crippling development in these arrangements is that many, while improving on the entirely insecure positions they replace, offer limited conceptions of academic citizenship and service, few protections for academic freedom, little opportunity for professional growth, and no professional peer scrutiny in hiring, evaluation, and promotion.”
Many parts of the AAUP policy are likely to find favor with adjuncts and other faculty members, many of whom fear the impact of the shift at many colleges to reliance on adjuncts as opposed to those on the tenure track.
But parts of the draft could be controversial. For instance, the theory behind the draft is that anyone who has been teaching year after year at a college should be qualified for a tenure track job. At the vast majority of colleges that are teaching oriented, the AAUP can argue that the adjuncts are in fact performing the duties of faculty members just as those down the hall (with tenure) do.
But the issue is more complicated at research universities — which led to some disagreements on the AAUP panel that drafted the report. Most research universities look for evidence of research potential when hiring for the tenure track, and most adjuncts — by virtue of spending all of their time teaching, and much of it rushing from campus to campus, with little if any support for attending conferences and other research activities — don’t tend to have the same publication records as others.
So universities that in fact employ the same adjuncts year after year to teach freshman composition might never seriously consider those individuals for a tenure-track line in English. How would conversion take place there?
The AAUP draft isn’t specific on the issue, because of the disagreements about what to do. One vision — outlined by Marc Bousquet, co-chair of the committee that wrote the draft and a professor of English at Santa Clara University — is to push for the creation of dual tenure track lines at research universities. Bousquet said that there is “a mistaken idea that tenure should be reserved for research-intensive” careers. “The foundation for academic freedom” that tenure provides is just as important for those teaching, so they should be offered tenure as teaching professors at research universities, he said. The bottom line, he said, is that anyone teaching at a college or university needs academic freedom that only comes with tenure.
While Bousquet acknowledged that there are concerns associated with having multiple tenure tracks at the same universities, he said that the most important thing was to provide full academic freedom protections to everyone, not just those who can get jobs based on their research. It would be problematic if research universities in such a system treated those on the research-oriented track better than those on the teaching-oriented track, he said, “but there are hierarchies now. They already exist.” The difference is that those on the bottom of today’s hierarchies don’t have any tenure rights.
While many on the committee endorsed Bousquet’s vision of dual tenure tracks to allow for the conversion of slots, one member who did not is Cary Nelson, national president of the AAUP. Nelson said that a “two-tiered class structure” would be “incredibly destructive” to morale among research university faculty, and that he can’t support such a measure. Nelson said that a majority of members of the committee that drafted the policy probably agree with Bousquet and that the issue would probably be addressed as the policy is refined.
At the same time, Nelson said that it is disingenuous for research universities to say that they can’t hire adjuncts to the tenure track because of standards. “How can they say that about adjuncts they employ for 25 years?” he asked. So Nelson said that he would propose that research universities hire their adjuncts into tenure-track lines “as a stopgap measure, to get justice for the contingent faculty members,” but then stop using contingent faculty members. So future hires would be on a common tenure track, with research and teaching obligations expected of all hires.
To permanently create separate tracks for teaching- and research-oriented faculty, he said, “would undermine the very nature of the research university.”
While the AAUP draft doesn’t explicitly endorse the two track system, it comes awfully close.
It says: “The best practice for institutions of all types is to convert the status of faculty serving contingently to eligible for tenure with only minor changes in job description. This means that faculty hired contingently with teaching as the major component of their workload will become tenure-eligible primarily on the basis of successful teaching. (Similarly, contingent faculty with research as the major component of their workload may become eligible for tenure primarily on the basis of successful research.) In the long run, however, a balance is desirable for most faculty. A tenure bid by a person in a teaching-intensive position is unlikely to be successful in the absence of campus citizenship and professional development, so even teaching-intensive tenure-eligible workloads should include service and appropriate forms of engagement in research or the scholarship of teaching.”
Beyond recommending this course of action as a means to “stabilize” the faculty, the draft statement outlines various college policies that it endorses. And it offers reasons why the current system of increased use of non-tenure-track faculty members hurts the academic freedom of all professors.
“In short, tenure was framed to unite the faculty within a system of common professional values, standards, and mutual responsibilities,” the draft says. “By 2007, however, almost 70 percent of faculty members were employed off the tenure track. Many institutions use contingent faculty appointments throughout their programs; some retain a tenurable faculty in their traditional or flagship programs while staffing others — such as branch campuses, online offerings, and overseas campuses — almost entirely with contingent faculty. Faculty serving contingently generally work at significantly lower wages, often without health coverage and other benefits, and in positions that do not incorporate all aspects of university life or the full range of faculty rights and responsibilities. The tenure track has not vanished, but it has ceased to be the norm for faculty.”
While experts on the academic workforce have only started to look at the document, many offered praise and others were critical (for varying reasons). The American Federation of Teachers offered support, calling the draft “a welcome contribution to the cause shared by the two organizations.” The AFT’s Faculty and College Excellence project has as its twin goals the improvement of adjunct working conditions and the creation of more tenure-track positions. While the AFT has said that adjuncts deserve fair consideration for those positions, it has not suggested that the the individuals should be moved to the tenure track in the same way being suggested by the AAUP.
Maria Maisto, president of the Board of Directors of New Faculty Majority: The National Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Equity, praised the AAUP draft, and she drew particular attention to the way the AAUP proposes to get adjuncts into the tenure track. “It’s not just a question of creating more positions, but you have to take advantage and reinvest in the resources you already have,” she said. “We’re really pleased with that.”
Maisto said that when colleges simply add tenure-track positions, adjuncts frequently lose jobs, unfairly. She noted, for example, that many colleges routinely hire those without Ph.D.’s to teach certain courses, but then — after adding a tenure-track slot for the courses — say that a doctorate is a requirement. “That’s the kind of scenario that the report recognizes,” she said. “We think the conversion of persons rather than positions is the way to go.”
But for others, that’s reason to question the AAUP draft. KC Johnson, a historian at Brooklyn College, spoke out against a conversion plan similar to what the AAUP is suggesting when the City University of New York faculty union sought one. (While the union didn’t win the conversion plan as it proposed, CUNY did create numerous new tenure-track positions.)
Johnson said he opposed the AAUP draft for the same reasons he opposed the idea proposed by the CUNY union. “The AAUP statement is deeply troubling,” he said. “Adjuncts are not hired through competitive, national searches, nor (with very, very rare exceptions) does an adjunct position contain any expectation of scholarly production. Converting them en masse to tenure-track faculty status would send a message to graduate students entering the field — much less to state legislators, donors, and alumni — that institutions no longer have any interest in ensuring that tenure-track positions result in the hire of the best candidate, drawn from a national pool to include consideration of the candidate’s scholarly publications.”
Keith Hoeller, co-founder of the Washington State Part-Time Faculty Association, said that he thinks the AAUP draft is based on a presumption that tenure is the only way to protect faculty rights. Since Hoeller — a long-term adjunct, who teaches at several colleges in the Seattle area — believes that he and many others will work without tenure, he thinks that’s the wrong approach. “I think the AAUP is trying to put their fingers in the holes of the dike, but they don’t have enough fingers,” he said.
Specifically, Hoeller said that the conversions envisioned by the AAUP draft will not take place at any kind of level to employ most adjuncts. “This would end up pitting adjunct against adjunct to compete for these new slots, and will leave the tenured faculty in control,” he said. If research universities created the new track that Bousquet suggested for teaching-oriented faculty members, “they would be a little above the other adjuncts, but not at the same level of the tenured faculty,” Hoeller said. “Adding more tracks is not going to solve the problem.”
If the AAUP and other faculty groups cannot bring tenure-track options to everyone, Hoeller said, they should look for new ways to protect academic freedom. “There has to be a whole new look at the system,” he said. “They need to think outside the box, but they can’t. I’m not surprised that an association that’s 90 percent tenured faculty would decide that the solution is more tenured faculty.”
— Scott Jaschik
© Copyright 2009 Inside Higher Ed

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¿Por qué se incrementa el costo de formar abogados? El caso de los EE.UU.

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Artículo –también de interés local– publicado en The Chronicle of Higher Education, 26 octubre 2009.
Law-School Cost Is Pushed Up by Quest for Prestige, Not Accreditation, GAO Survey Finds
By Eric Kelderman
Critics have sometimes blamed the accreditation standards of the American Bar Association for driving up the cost of law school and making it more difficult for students of color to be admitted to those programs.
But a report released on Monday by the Government Accountability Office says that most law schools surveyed instead blamed competition for better rankings and a more hands-on approach to educating students for the increased price of a law degree. In addition, the federal watchdog agency reported that, over all, minorities are making up a larger share of law-school enrollments than in the past, although the percentage of African-American students in those programs is shrinking. The GAO attributed that decrease to lower undergraduate grade-point averages and scores on law-school admissions tests.
Law-school accreditation is technically voluntary but practically important: 19 states now require candidates to have a degree from an institution approved by the bar association to be eligible to take the bar examination. And a degree from an ABA-accredited institution makes a student eligible to take the bar exam in any state.
The costs of getting a law degree, however, have increased at a faster rate than the costs of comparable professional programs, says the report, “Higher Education: Issues Related to Law School Cost and Access.” In-state tuition and fees at public law schools averaged $14,461 in the 2007-8 academic year, 7.2 percent higher than the cost 12 years earlier. In comparison, the cost of a medical degree from a public institution increased 5.3 percent over the same period, to $22,048 annually.
Law-school costs for nonresidents and at private institutions also increased at a slower rate over that period, but now total about twice as much or more in dollars compared with residents’ costs at public institutions.
The reasons for the fast-rising costs are that law schools are providing courses and student-support programs that require more staff and faculty, the federal survey found. In addition, law schools spent more on faculty salaries and library resources, among other things, to boost their standing in the U.S. News & World Report annual rankings, law-school officials told the GAO.
Those findings stand in contrast to some criticisms that the accreditation standards for faculty and facilities are a major factor in the cost of law schools. “Officials from more than half of the ABA-accredited schools we spoke with stated they would meet or exceed some ABA accreditation standards even if they were not required,” the report says.
Law-school officials also cited recent declines in state appropriations as a reason for rising tuition, federal researchers reported.
Accreditation standards also were not widely blamed for the declining share of African-American law students, most of those surveyed said. Between the 1994-95 and 2006-7 academic years, the percentage of black students has shrunk from 7.5 percent of law school students to 6.5 percent, even as the number of blacks earning bachelor’s degrees has grown by two percentage points.
“Most law-school officials, students, and minority-student-group representatives we interviewed focused on issues such as differences in LSAT scores, academic preparation, and professional contacts, rather than accreditation standards, to explain minority access issues,” the report says.
But the report also noted that some officials blamed not only accreditation, but also rankings by U.S. News & World Report for lower or static enrollment rates of minorities: “Schools are reluctant to admit applicants with lower LSAT scores because the median LSAT score is a key factor in the U.S. News & World Report rankings.”
The study was a requirement of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, passed in 2008, and was meant to compare the costs and level of minority enrollment at law schools to similar professional-degree programs, including medical, dental, and veterinary colleges. Federal researchers surveyed officials at 22 institutions, including three that are not accredited by the ABA, and students in two law programs, one of which did not have the ABA’s stamp of approval.
Copyright 2009. All Rights reserved
The Chronicle of Higher Education


Nuevo Ranking Chileno de Universidades: Revista América Economía

portada_flash.jpg Circulan los resultados del Ranking de Universidades de la revista América Economía (Nº 42, octubre 2009), el primero de esta revista y con algunas interesantes inniovaciones respecto de rankings anteriores producidos en Chile, como se desprende la metodología que sirvió para su elaboración (ver más abajo).
Ver resultados del ranking de instituciones universitarias de América Economía 2009 y los rankings para diversas carreras universitarias aquí19,1 MB pdfIcon_24.png
Las 10 primeras universidades de ac uerdo a su índice dalidad en este Ranking son:
U de Chile
PUC
U de Concepción
U Santiago de Chile
U Técnica Federico Santa María
PUC-V
U Austral de Chile
U Diego Portales
U Adolfo Ibáñez

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¿Es cara la educación superior?

tele13.jpg Reportaje televisivo (Tele 13) sobre el costo de los estudios de educación superior en Chile.
Ver el reportaje aquí.
Recursos asociados
Política universitaria: una encrucijada estratégica, 18 octubre 2009
Costo de la educación superior: ¿quién paga?, 27 septiembre 2009


Resultados del Primer Congreso de Investigadores en Educación Superior

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Presentaciones y textos de las ponencias hechas durante el Primer Congreso de Investigación en Educación Superior, realizado en Santiago el día 20 de octubre de 2009.
Ver aquí.
Educación Superior y Políticas Públicas
Giselle González, Políticas públicas en educación superior: estructura de los sistemas, financiamiento público, regulaciones estatales, aseguramiento de la calidad. Ponencia completa // Presentación
Daniel López, Patrones funcionales en las organizaciones internacionales de cooperación universitaria de América Latina y el Caribe Ponencia completa // Presentación
Carlos Romero, Relación entre la evaluación / acreditación de programas e instituciones Ponencia completa // Presentación
Sebastián Donoso, Economía Política del Financiamiento de los Estudios Universitarios: Análisis del caso chileno Ponencia completa // Presentación
Soledad Álvarez, La acreditación de carreras de Medicina en Argentina sometida a estudio Ponencia completa // Presentación
Educación Superior: Gestión y desarrollo
Julieta Claverie, La carrera docente en Universidades Nacionales de la Argentina: Posibilidades de acceso, permanencia y promoción en la profesión académica Ponencia completa // Presentación
María Rosa Lissi, Creencias y actitudes de docentes y estudiantes sin discapacidad respecto a la inclusión de estudiantes con discapacidad en la educación superior Ponencia completa // Presentación
Rodrigo Fernández-Donoso, Criterios para la Evaluación de Planes Estratégicos de Unidades Académicas en una Universidad Compleja Ponencia completa // Presentación
María Luisa Díaz, Empleabilidad de los Trabajadores Sociales y los nuevos desafíos para la formación profesional: El caso de la carrera de Trabajo Social de la Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez Ponencia completa // Presentación
Gonzalo Zapata, Mercado, Accountability e Información Pública en Educación Superior Ponencia completa // Presentación


Educación para el futuro: Políticas y prácticas – una visión desde la OCDE

oecd0709.gif Palabras del Secretario General de la OCDE, Angel Gurría, con ocasión de la mesa redonda de Ministros de Educación que tuvo lugar en la UNESCO, 10 octubre 2009.
Education for the future – Promoting changes in policies and practices: the way forward
Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at the Education Ministerial Round Table, UNESCO
10 October 2009 – UNESCO, Paris, France
Director General, Madame Chair, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning:
I am pleased to be part of this session on “How to promote changes in policies and practices”, as this is one of the greatest challenges to improve education and the very essence of OECD work in this field. Thank you very much for the invitation. We have brought with us the ”highlights” of our yearly publication, “Education at a Glance”, as well as some very specific publications on, for example, “Education for students at risk and those with disabilities in the Baltics and South East Europe”, or “Green at Fifteen”.
The current financial and economic crisis is one of the biggest transformations of our lifetime. It is defining a tough new world. Thus, we need to revise our educational policies, to adapt them to such new reality where factors like high unemployment, growing inequalities, stronger competition, fewer jobs, enhanced interdependence, new business ethics, constant innovation and, if we get it right, “green growth” are becoming the new pointers for our societies of the future.
We therefore need to prepare for such a challenging future. This is where education comes in and becomes critical.
1. Rising skills: a first crucial target
We are currently facing the greatest job crisis of our lives. The average unemployment rate in the OECD area could approach 10% by 2010. Youth unemployment has soared to 20-30% in some countries. This figure translates into 57 million people out of a job in the OECD zone. The number of unemployed is even larger in developing countries, and is sometimes hard to track because of the phenomenon of informality.
Education and training are key elements to our response to this crisis. If we want to provide jobseekers with the re-employment assistance they require, and minimise long-term unemployment, we need to emphasize training.
As we documented in the most recent edition (the 29th) of our “Employment OutlooEmployment Outlook”, the job prospects for those with few qualifications are deteriorating rapidly in this crisis environment. Across OECD countries, over 40% of young people who have not completed secondary school are not employed. This is more than the double of the youth unemployment rate. Many of those who become unemployed stay unemployed for a long time. New graduates face serious difficulties in finding jobs and enterprises cut training opportunities in the vocational area. All because of the crisis.
And yet, we have powerful evidence that education is the key to addressing the economic and social challenges of our times, including a way to get out of the crisis faster. We continue to see rising economic and social benefits for those who are skilled, as well as deteriorating opportunities for those without adequate education.
We have made calculation on how worth it is for one to get higher education. It is enormously positive. Actually, there is a considerable earnings premium for people with degrees over their working lives, which averages now $186,000 across OECD countries. Even when you hold such benefits against what governments and individuals spend on education, the net public return from an investment in tertiary education is highly positive. For individuals, it pays to invest in education. You clearly have a very positive costs / benefits ratio.
You can look at the other side of the coin too: the economic loss imposed by poor educational performance might be even greater than the output shortfall in the current economic crisis. For example, if the United States had closed the gap regarding performing education systems such as Finland and Korea, GDP in 2008 could have been $1.3 trillion to $2.3 trillion higher (equivalent to 9 – 16% of GDP).
There is no doubt that education systems have responded to the rising demand for better skilled people. Indeed, the volume of educational activity has expanded at an unprecedented pace. University graduation rates doubling from 20% in 1995 to almost 40% in 2007, in the OECD area. In China and other emerging markets, the rate of expansion has been even faster.
Producing more of the same qualifications cannot be the answer when the nature of the skills that matter is changing too.
2. Education systems have to put greater emphasis on 21st Century skills
Our economic growth is increasingly driven by innovation, making skills obsolete at a much faster pace than before. This is why Ministers called upon the OECD to develop an Innovation Strategy that looks, among other things, at how education and training can develop the skills that matter for the world to come. They also more recently gave us a mandate to develop a Green Growth Strategy. Innovation and Green Growth clearly go hand in hand.
How can schools and universities prepare people for a world where work can be digitized, automated, outsourced and green?
The response lies in education. The key to success is no longer simply whether you can reproduce something you have learned, but whether you can extrapolate from what you know and apply your knowledge in a novel and changing setting. This shows that if students learn merely to memorise and reproduce knowledge and skills, they risk being prepared for jobs that are in fact disappearing. The problem is that this is precisely what many schools have focussed on for so many decades.
Of course, state-of-the-art skills in a field will always be important. Innovative and productive people generally have specialised skills. But there are other important competencies that education needs to focus on. Let me mention three:
First of all, in our schools, students typically learn individually and thus, at the end of the school year, we certify their individual achievements. But the more globalised and inter dependent the world becomes, the more we need great collaborators and orchestrators, not isolated individuals, no matter how well they do. We need to form people for a more inclusive world: people who can appreciate and build on different values, beliefs, cultures. Inter-personal competencies to produce inclusive solutions will be of growing importance.
Second, the conventional approach in school is often to break problems down into manageable bits and pieces and then teach students how to solve each one of these bits and pieces individually. But in modern economies, we create value by synthesising different fields of knowledge, making connections between ideas that previously seemed unrelated. That requires being familiar with and open and receptive to knowledge in other fields rather than our own field. But apart from Japan and perhaps the Nordic countries in Europe, there are few incentives for teachers to collaborate across disciplines.
Third, if we log on to the Internet today, we can find everything we are looking for. But the more content we can search and access, the more important it is to teach our students to sort and filter information. The search for relevance is very critical in the presence of abundance of information. We also need the capacity to explain content in one area to people working in other areas.
The 21st century schools therefore need to help young individuals to constantly adapt and grow, to develop their capacity and motivation, to expand their horizons and transfer and apply knowledge in novel settings.
This crisis is exposing the gaps in our education system. For example, nowadays people need a much better financial literacy. They need to be able to think in terms of scenarios, weigh risks and probabilities, and assess the short-term and long-term economic impact of today’s decisions.
Our relation to climate change is another example. Technological innovation and well-targeted policy instruments are essential. But ultimately, green growth will rely on people’s behaviour and on their own individual understanding of its social and environmental impact.
We can extend the list further but the point is that, whatever competencies are considered relevant for success in modern societies, our educational policies and our schools need to adapt to them but mostly, to provide them.
One important issue for example is that children nowadays don’t want to become scientists, they prefer to become football players or rock stars. We are running out of vocation, out of the future.
3. The importance of education reform: learning form each other
And thus, we must ask how efficiently are our educational policies adapting to the new global circumstances? Not very well, I should say. This is a key question for the future of our nations.
In OECD countries, political leaders have demonstrated a commitment to reforming education systems. But if we are to keep public policy credible, it is important to make sure that reforms actually do change policies and practices. And here is where we have some worries.
A growing body of evidence and statistics on education systems and outcomes ─ from sources like the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) ─ show that the goals of education reforms are not always materialising. There is a broad consensus on the goals but the degree of execution is not the same. But there are surprising gaps in our knowledge of how to make that happen. The political economy of reforms in the field of education is enormously difficult. Breaking the status quo is not easy.
Overcoming active resistance to change in educational policy is one of our central challenges. We have much to learn from each other to address this challenge.
At the OECD, we have been comparing the effectiveness of our educational policies and reforms for many years. These international comparisons have helped us identify our common challenges and best practices.
We have learned, for example, that teachers and school leaders are still not being systematically prepared to use performance measurement and diagnostic tools to identify students in difficulty and constructively address their learning needs. And they spend too much time in administration issues or in addressing discipline problems of individual students.
But we have also learned that change is possible: by shifting public concern away from the mere control over the resources and content of education toward a focus on outcomes; by moving from “hit and miss” policies to establishing universal high standards; by moving from uniformity to embracing diversity and individualising learning. And we have identified the best practices to produce these changes.
We have seen, for example, good success stories: like the Scottish government’s major reforms, earlier this decade, which started with an overhaul of the teachers training and salaries. Teachers then became advocates and agents of further reform.
We have seen countries like Mexico where the government recently embarked on a series of far-reaching reforms to curriculum, examinations, and teacher training, evaluation and certification, based on OECD benchmarks and exchange of best practices.
We have seen countries like Finland whose reforms focused on teachers’ selection, remuneration and standing in society, with the results that Finland always comes out at the top. There is usually a trade-off between teachers’ pay and the size of the classes, which requires a careful balancing act.
It is no longer enough for national education policy makers to gauge education improvement against their own past outcomes. They have to keep an eye on how much other countries are improving as well. This is the value of multilateral cooperation. This is why these international conferences are so important. This is why we will continue our fruitful collaboration with UNESCO to provide the cross-cutting policy expertise needed to support governments in addressing these challenges.
Dear Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen:
We need to empower the future generations with new tools to produce a better world; to adapt our educational policies to a new, more competitive and globalized reality; to identify our leads and lags, compare our know-how and prepare to learn from each other through enhanced multilateral cooperation. Remember: “In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” May these words by Eric Hoffer stay in our minds as we try to prepare for the future. This is probably an exaggeration, as being learned is of great importance to become a learner.
I will close my speech by thanking Mr Matsura, with whom I had the privilege and satisfaction to work. I am proud of the work we shared with you. Together we have made a difference. I wish you good luck and present you my congratulations.
Thank you very much for your attention.