Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education

ISSN :
2220-363X (en ligne)
ISSN :
2220-3621 (imprimé)
DOI :
10.1787/2220363x
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Lessons from PISA for Japan

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Auteur(s):
OCDE
Date de publication :
29 fév 2012
Pages :
208
ISBN :
9789264118539 (PDF) ; 9789264118515 (imprimé)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264118539-en

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For decades Japan has remained at or near the top of international assessments of student learning; and in the past decade, students in Japan have become more engaged in learning. However, the government aspires to improve learning outcomes even further. Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for Japan focuses on how Japan is reforming its education system not only to produce better learning outcomes, but to equip students with the skills they need to navigate through the unpredictable labour market of the future and to participate in society as active citizens.

This is the second in a series of reports examining how education systems are handling the challenge of preparing their students for a world of interconnected populations, rapid technological change, and instantaneous availability of vast amounts of information. Like the first volume, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for the United States, this report presents examples from other countries with consistently high-performing education systems or countries that, by redesigning policies and practices, have been able to improve their education outcomes, as measured by the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the world’s most comprehensive and rigorous survey of students’ skills and attitudes towards learning.

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    Foreword
    The Great East Earthquake in March 2011 brought human tragedies and unparalleled destruction over Japan. But it also revealed the unmatched commitment and capacity of the Japanese people to address the challenges and to build a new future for the country.
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    Introduction
    Rapid globalisation and modernisation are posing new and demanding challenges to individuals and societies alike. Increasingly diverse and interconnected populations, rapid technological change in the workplace and in everyday life, and the instantaneous availability of vast amounts of information are just a few of the factors contributing to these new demands. In a globalised world, people compete for jobs not just locally but internationally. In this integrated worldwide labour market, highly-paid workers in wealthier countries are competing directly with people with much the same skills in lower-wage countries. The same is true for people with low skills. The competition among countries now revolves around the quality of their human capital.
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    How is Technology Changing Demand for Human Skills?
    This chapter examines the concepts of complex communication and expert thinking, and discusses the importance of foundation skills in the workplace and in individuals’ personal and civic lives. It also discusses how the labour market is evolving and raises the question: How well are national populations prepared for today’s – and tomorrow’s – jobs?
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    How is Technology Changing Demand for Human Skills?
    This chapter examines the concepts of complex communication and expert thinking, and discusses the importance of foundation skills in the workplace and in individuals’ personal and civic lives. It also discusses how the labour market is evolving and raises the question: How well are national populations prepared for today’s – and tomorrow’s – jobs?
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    Finland
    Finland has been ranked as one of the top-performing countries in PISA for the past decade. During the same period, it has also been cited as one of the world’s most competitive economies. This chapter looks at some of the factors that contribute to this double success, including an emphasis on co-operation and networking, rather than competition; education policies that favour informality, flexibility and quick decision making; career guidance and work placements that bridge formal education and the world of work; and an emphasis on teaching skills and creativity.
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    Singapore
    Singapore has transformed itself from a developing country into a modern industrial economy in one generation. In the past decade, Singapore’s education system has remained at or near the top of most major world education rankings. This chapter examines how Singapore has achieved so much so quickly, focusing on the government’s ability to match skills supply with demand; the prevailing belief in the centrality of education; the emphasis on building teacher and leadership capacity to deliver reforms at the school level; and a culture of continuous improvement that benchmarks its own education practices against the best in the world.
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    Ontario
    Not only do Canadian students perform well in PISA, they do so despite their socio-economic status, first language or whether they are native Canadians or recent immigrants. Canada has achieved success within a highly federated system that accommodates a diverse student population. This chapter examines Canada’s success through an in-depth look at the education system of the country’s largest province, Ontario. It describes how the province combines a demand for excellence with extensive capacity-building, and fosters a climate of trust and mutual respect among all stakeholders.
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    Shanghai and Hong Kong: Learning to Learn
    Less than three decades after the Cultural Revolution, when educated people, including teachers, were sent to rural areas to work in the field, parts of China, notably Shanghai, now rank among the bestperforming countries and economies in PISA. This chapter looks at how the education systems in both Shanghai and Hong Kong have benefited from the realisation that economic growth depends on individuals who are adaptable, creative and independent thinkers. Education reforms in these two cities have focused on upgrading teaching standards and teacher education, introducing greater curricular choice for students, and giving local authorities more autonomy to decide the content of examinations.
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    Policy Lessons from and for Japan
    This chapter reviews Japan’s history of education reform. It also summaries the key strengths of the country’s education system and suggests what other countries could learn from Japan’s example. Given the fundamental changes occurring in Japan’s demographic and economic profile and the effects of globalisation, the chapter also recommends some policy reforms that could help maintain the country’s excellence in education.
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    Annex A. Key features of PISA 2009
    The main focus of PISA 2009 was reading. The survey also updated performance assessments in mathematics and science. PISA does not consider students’ knowledge in these areas in isolation, but in relation to their ability to reflect on their knowledge and experience and to apply them to real-world issues. The emphasis is on mastering processes, understanding concepts and functioning in various situations within each assessment area.
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