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New study shows how education policies impact students, teachers and principals

A new study published today by the OECD, the Education Policy Outlook: Working Together to Help Students Achieve their Potential, reports on the progress of over 200 school improvement policies implemented over the last 10 years.

The new publication by the OECD will help shed light on the impact of education policies on students, teachers and principals. It focuses on “building trust, addressing inequality, strengthening coherence and looking forward and outward.”


According to the OECD, this new study looks first and foremost at policy implementation – what works and why it works.

In a video that explains the key findings of the study, Andreas Schleicher states that there is a need to shift towards inspiring and enabling innovation and towards sharing best practice. According to Schleicher, this shift calls for a foundation of trust among all the parties involved, including parents and teachers.

A second major point is equity. The study shows that the best education systems deliver good results across the entire social spectrum, with every student benefitting from excellent learning.

Policy coherence encompasses the third pillar of findings. Schleicher explains how perceptions diverge in that reform is too slow or too fast. This derives from a lack of alignment between policies and from the fact that teachers and school leaders are rarely involved in the design of policies. “They only hear about them when they see them announced in the media,” he points out.

The Outlook also considers the professional status of teachers. “Recruiting high quality professionals will not be sufficient if those who are recruited are so frustrated by an inadequate system of initial teacher education that they leave the profession entirely, ” Schleicher highlighted, concluding that in order to work, education reform has to be built on collective ownership of change.

Unions call for greater coherence

Chapter 7 of the Outlook was crafted with input from TUAC, the Trade Union Advisory Council to the OECD, with Education International (EI) providing key data from surveys of its members. Entitled Success in hard times: Learning from effective union partnerships in education policy reform it puts the spotlight on both the successes and gaps in consultation and involvement of unions in the development of education policy.

It concludes that there is perceived progress among survey respondents in their collaboration with governments in the area of teachers’ pay and conditions, and less perceived progress on teacher policies. Given the centrality of teacher policy to the profession, the chapter calls for greater coherence in these areas of policy. It also discusses achievements and possible new milestones in the collaboration between governments and unions via the example of the International Summit of the Teaching Profession.

The full report can be accessed here.


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