EAEA News 2004-04-01
OECD Education Ministerial 2004
Education ministers from OECD countries met in Dublin on 18-19 March 2004 to debate ways in which they could improve the quality and equity of their education systems. Rapid economic and social change makes this vital to the maintenance of a flourishing economy and society and, at the same time, more difficult than ever to achieve.
Theme 1: Raising Performance Levels for All
Formulating and monitoring adherence to educational goals and standards are considered prerequisites for raising performance levels. The inherent challenges include: feeding data on performance back to those who deliver educational services, most notably teachers and school principals; establishing rewards, support systems and consequences that flow from them; and combining governance structures that devolve responsibility to the front line with an equitable distribution of learning opportunities.
Theme 2: Improving Teacher Supply and Effectiveness
Teachers directly influence what students learn, their attitudes to learning, and their skills and motivation for lifelong learning. Their role is also evolving, for society now expects schools to deal effectively with local community needs and a more diverse student population, to be sensitive to culture and gender issues, to promote tolerance and social cohesion, to respond effectively to disadvantaged students, to use new technologies, and to keep pace with rapidly developing fields of knowledge and approaches to classroom management and student assessment.
In most countries, teaching is an ageing profession, and OECD countries are experiencing problems in recruiting and retaining effective teachers. Large numbers of retirements will occur in the next 5-10 years. In countries more severely affected by shortages, students in disadvantaged areas find themselves in classes with many of the least experienced and least qualified teachers.
Forum: Education can Contribute to Social Cohesion
Education and training policies have the potential to contribute to achieving an equitable distribution of opportunities in both the economy and society, and the promotion of mutual respect and tolerance.
The social and cultural backgrounds of those who receive education are more varied than ever. Increasing diversity is a strength in terms of cultural richness and the range of skills available. The meeting will consider how education policies can enhance the capacity of teachers and students to benefit from this.
Web cast: Forum "Education and Social Cohesion"
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