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Universal Basic Skills

What Countries Stand to Gain

image of Universal Basic Skills

While access to schooling has expanded around the world, many countries have not realised the hoped-for improvements in economic and social well-being. Access to education by itself is an incomplete goal for development; many students leave the education system without basic proficiency in literacy and numeracy. As the world coalesces around new sustainable development targets towards 2030, the focus in education is shifting towards access and quality. Using projections based on data from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international student assessments, this report offers a glimpse of the stunning economic and social benefits that all countries, regardless of their national wealth, stand to gain if they ensure that every child not only has access to education but, through that education, acquires at least the baseline level of skills needed to participate fully in society.

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Sample of PISA questions requiring Level 1 skills

The following sample questions from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test illustrate the skills required for 15-year-olds to perform at Level 1 proficiency. A variety of additional sample questions at different levels for the PISA assessments can be found in PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do (Volume I, Revised edition, February 2014): Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (2014, OECD Publishing, Paris).

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