“The most striking observation when you compare the PISA report to PIAAC is that there are a lot of similarities,” says former Belgian prime minister and Vice-Secretary of the OECD, Yves Leterme. “When students are getting behind in their curriculum, for example in math, they won’t be able to repair this in his or her future career.”
“There is still a strong correlation between parents with low job skills and the scores of their 15-year old children. The social environment of a child is one of the strongest factors that determine the success of a child in school,” Leterme says.
“In order to give all children equal chances, not only in school but also in the rest of their lives, we need to make sure that all children can pursue an ambitious curriculum. When the home situation of a child leads to lesser chances, the school needs to observe this and take proper action to repair this.”
Poland as an example
Education in Poland has changed for the best in the last decade. Strong policy reforms are the foundation of this country’s recent success. “Poland revised its vocational education completely in recent years and took effective action to help pupils with remedial teaching,” explains Leterme.
“The PISA report shows that improving the quality of education is possible. Policy can make a difference. Poland and Estonia show that results can be observed within 7 years. This should be an example for many other countries that reforming does pay of.
Invest in migrants
Currently Asian countries score very well on the quality of education. The assumption we had thirty years ago that the West would do ‘complicated things’ while Asia would produce for the masses is completely wrong.
“Children of migrants still score below average, which is very concerning. Especially in the case of Belgium, that scores below the OECD average. Migrant policy among OECD Member States should be adapted in order to give all young newcomers higher language skills. This early investment in young new citizens will both benefit the individual and society. Good school performance is the money, and wealth of the future.”
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