Despite increased funding and many reforms, most education systems are still seeking ways to better prepare their students for a world in which technological change and the digital revolution are changing the way we work, live and relate to one another. Education systems that have succeeded in improving student outcomes show that the way forward is by making teachers the top priority. The adaptability of education systems and their ability to evolve ultimately depends on enabling teachers to transform what and how students learn. This requires strong support and training for teachers, both before and after they enter the profession, with new forms of professional development to help teachers engage in more direct instruction and adapt it to the needs of their diverse classrooms. Education systems need to perform well in two dimensions: excellence and equity. Many high performers do well on both, demonstrating that they are not mutually exclusive. To do so requires specific measures to overcome factors that can hinder student performance, such as socio-economic background, immigrant status and gender.
- 24 Mar 2017
Striving for sustainable excellence and equity in learning
High-quality education systems do well in both student performance and equity. These systems have high standards for all students, but also put in place measures to support students who are facing greater challenges. Many countries achieve this winning combination of excellence and equity by addressing factors known to hinder student performance, such as socioeconomic background, gender and immigrant status. Policies to minimise the impact of these factors include providing good-quality early childhood education and care, identifying students at risk of dropping out and offering them additional support and alternative pathways (such as vocational education and training), allocating additional resources to schools in deprived areas, developing the capacity to integrate migrants from different cultural backgrounds and overcome language barriers, and combating prejudices and stereotypes that often influence the perceptions of boys and girls of their abilities in certain fields and their future career expectations.