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OECD Economic Surveys: Luxembourg 2008

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Luxembourg 2008

This 2008 edition of OECD's periodic survey of Luxembourg's economy focuses on key challenges being faced including whether the financial sector can continue being the main growth engine, adapting fiscal policies to slower tax revenues, enhancing efficiency in health care, and increasing student abilities by giving schools more autonomy.

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Educated and successful: increasing student abilities by giving schools more autonomy

A heterogeneous student population with more than a third of all pupils having foreign citizenship presents a major challenge to the education system. The resulting difficulties in allocating resources according to local school conditions continue to weigh on educational performance in international comparison. Relative to the OECD average, Luxembourg students have accumulated a lag of almost half a year of schooling at the end of lower secondary education, partly due to the strong focus on German and French language education. As indicated in the previous Survey, curricula focus strongly on language competencies, but even in this core area of the education system students do not perform satisfactorily. The failure to achieve a better educational performance imposes a substantial cost on young people. First, school leavers have increasingly difficulties in finding a job. Second, the rate of early school leavers remains high, reflecting the low expectations of students themselves of integrating into the labour market. Also, disparities across students are large with those with an immigration or a low socio-economic background performing particularly poorly. The authorities have started to address some of these problems. School curricula are currently being reworked and early tracking is being eased. However, in order to allow schools to adapt to local conditions of their student population, they need to be held accountable for their results and have sufficient autonomy to select their own instruments to achieve these results. Moreover, incentives for high-quality teaching need to be strengthened, linking part of the wage progression to regular performance evaluations.

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