Education International
Education International

OECD report rings alarm bells about quality education

published 24 November 2015 updated 25 November 2015

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched its annual study Education at a Glance today, presenting strong evidence of the critical role that well-funded, quality education plays in fostering social progress.

The report highlights that although “the education sector [only] felt a delayed reaction to the global economic crisis of 2008, […] between 2010-2012 public expenditure on educational institutions fell in more than one in three countries”, resulting in salary freezes for the teaching profession that further exacerbated the pay gap between educators and other similarly educated members of the workforce.

John Bangs, Education International Senior Consultant stressed how this year’s report emphasizes the high correlation between highly performing education systems and high levels of teachers’ pay and compensation. “The OECD is ringing alarm bells that declining teachers’ pay is going to undermine educational quality and is not similar in many OECD countries with other comparable professions. Potential teachers are going elsewhere,” he regretted.

Bangs also explained that previous OECD studies such as the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), referenced by Education at a Glance, have made it clear how vital quality professional development is to high quality teaching. “Notwithstanding these findings, many governments are severely cutting teachers’ professional development funding. This years’ report points to the evidence that this position is immensely damaging to educational quality.”

Another point highlighted by the OECD is the ageing teaching force across OECD countries. “This is an indicator of the poisonous effects of underinvestment in education combined with the evidence that education is not attractive to many highly qualified and committed young people,” Bangs said. Unless OECD countries reinvest in public education provision, a major decline in the quality of their education systems in the long term could follow, he warned.

Also commenting on the report, Fred van Leeuwen, Education International General Secretary, said: “Quality education is at the heart if EI’s advocacy efforts. EI and its affiliates in OECD countries welcome this year’s Education at a Glance. This is valuable background evidence to affiliates in their national campaigns to enhance education funding, and will certainly inform the discussions at the upcoming International Summit of the Teaching Profession in Berlin, Germany, in March 2016.”

The full report is available here

To read the EI analysis of Education at a Glance 2015 in its entirety, click here