Education Policy Analysis

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

Frequency :
1999-1517 (online)
1995-4107 (print)
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OECD’s annual companion report to Education at a Glance. It normally analyzes several of the key issues emerging from the EAG data for the year.

Also available in: French, German
Education Policy Analysis 2004

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Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

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17 June 2005
Pages :
9789264018679 (PDF) ; 9789264018655 (print)

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The 2004 edition of Education Policy Analysis contains state-of-the-art reviews of policy issues and international developments in the role of non-university institutions in widening access to tertiary education and in making it more diverse and relevant; how countries can gain educational returns from their investments in educational ICT; the challenges that lifelong learning poses for schools; and how tax policies can help to foster lifelong learning. The 2004 edition also includes a summary of recent major education policy changes across a wide range of fields in OECD countries.

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  • Executive Summary
    Revisiting a theme that was first examined by the OECD some 30 years ago, Chapter 1 takes a fresh look at the place of alternatives to the traditional university within national tertiary education systems. Chapter 2 reviews a range of OECD work on the educational uses of ICT, draws some cautionary lessons, and suggests a number of conditions needed to get better returns from national investments in educational ICT. Chapter 3 discusses a topic that has hitherto not been systematically treated in the OECD’s educational work: the important role that schools should play in laying the foundations for national lifelong learning frameworks. Finally, Chapter 4 breaks new ground by looking at some of the policy issues that need to be considered in using tax policy as an instrument to advance lifelong learning. The volume contains an Annex that summarises recent educational policy developments in OECD countries...
  • Alternatives to Universities Revisited
    A substantial portion of tertiary education is now provided outside universities, in institutions with a wide variety of characteristics. These institutions provide an alternative mechanism for expanding enrolments, and often offer better access and greater diversity than the traditional university. Many are vocational in orientation, but some offer leisure courses and some alternative routes into university study. While many focus on advanced study, others have courses at many levels. Non-university institutions sometimes emulate universities, but can also be distinctive in aims and methods. They are often less generously funded than universities, and this cannot always be justified by differences in programmes, raising important equity issues. While non-university institutions will have a clear role in future provision, their position and purpose within tertiary education systems are sometimes ambiguous. In these cases, countries need to resolve the distinctive purposes of such institutions, adapting structures and funding accordingly.
  • Getting Returns from Investing in Educational ICT
    All OECD countries have invested heavily in ICT in schools. The equipment is being deployed for a range of purposes including improving school information systems and teaching ICT skills. But is it also being used to improve teaching and learning? Country differences in the quantity of hardware and software remain important. Just as important is the amount that students use computers. Many students still do not use computers very much at school. Students more often use computers to send emails and access the Internet than to use educational software. One of the most important contributions to learning can be in helping low achieving students become more confident. The biggest barriers preventing computers from transforming learning concern the capacity of teachers to integrate them into their practices, limited by organisational or time constraints or their own knowledge. Change will only be possible when improvements in the capacity to use computers are combined effectively with other forms of educational innovation.
  • How Well Do Schools Contribute to Lifelong Learning?
    Lifelong learning means not just prolonging learning throughout life, but also ensuring that schooling prepares young people well for a life of learning. While most are now receiving the solid foundation of an upper secondary education, many have not acquired sufficient competences when they leave school. Education systems need to pay greater attention to improving broad cognitive and motivational outcomes of schooling. In doing so, schools will have to transform, ensuring that their staff are themselves lifelong learners, and that they become innovative as organisations to create more effective learning cultures centred around the perspective of the student. At the same time, education systems need to start asking themselves whether constant expansion focusing on the prolongation of initial education is the best route to lifelong learning, or whether it is making learning too "front-loaded" over the life course.
  • Taxation and Lifelong Learning
    Tax policy is one way that governments can support adult investment in learning, reflecting the social as well as individual benefits that such investment brings. Although tax policy is in practice used in many ways to support lifelong learning, this is often done accidentally and unevenly, rather than as part of a consistent strategy. Tax concessions may apply to revenues earned from selling learning services, or to expenditure on learning by individuals or companies. In both cases they can potentially distort investment in human capital. People and organisations may benefit unevenly according to their income level and their marginal rate of tax. The actual effect of current policies is unknown. Educational and financial authorities need to collaborate more closely to take stock of current policy and its impact, and to consider the need for more consistent approaches.
  • Annex
    This annex contains summaries of recent education policy developments. Countries were invited to submit the summaries organised around the six strategic priorities that now structure the OECD’s work in education. A number of countries chose to do so. The maximum length was 400 words per country. Due to space constraints, the entries have not been able to cover all significant policy developments. The emphasis was on outlining major education policy developments that have occurred recently or which are being implemented, and which are likely to be of most interest to an international audience. The entries have been edited to provide a consistent format and to observe space constraints.
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