Preface from the OECD

Countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region (EECA) have ambitious aims to improve their economic competitiveness and civic participation. A highly skilled population is critical to creating the productive and modern economies and societies that these countries wish to build, which makes developing high-achieving and equitable education systems central to the future success of the region.

The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) helps countries understand where they stand in terms of their educational outcomes. Results from EECA countries on PISA show that that the quality of education in the region has generally improved over time, though progress can still be made compared to countries across the OECD. Moreover, student outcomes vary greatly between and within countries; some students from the region are among the highest performing in the world while others are being left further behind.

Together with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the OECD is committed to supporting EECA countries and helping them achieve their economic and social goals. This comparative study builds upon the long-standing participation of EECA countries in PISA and the numerous education country reviews conducted by the OECD and UNICEF in the region. We analyse PISA data in detail to identify what the unique features of education in the region are and how they might shape student outcomes. Drawing upon our knowledge of education policy and practice in the region, we make recommendations that policymakers can consider when developing future educational reforms.

We hope that this study will not only be a useful resource for education systems in the EECA region, but will also further strengthen OECD’s ties to the region and its valuable partnership with UNICEF.


Andreas Schleicher

Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General

Director for Education and Skills

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