Tuesday 19th June saw the coming together of education policy experts, civil servants, educationalists and academics for the launch of a landmark new book, World Class: How to build a 21st-century school system by Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills.
As an initiator of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and an international authority on education policy Andreas has extensive experience of effective systems and practice in this area. Trained in physics, Schleicher offers a unique perspective on education reform: he convincingly argues throughout the book that reform should not necessarily be less of an art, but more of a science.
Hosted by Education and Employers, the morning saw Andreas interviewed by the BBC’s Education Online editor, Sean Coughlan about the key themes of the book and the future of education policy. Throughout the discussion Andreas drew on his vast experience over the last 20 years accompanying education leaders in 70 countries in their efforts to design and implement forward-looking education policies and practices. He gave examples of the many successes from which we can learn – not by copying and pasting solutions from other schools or countries, but by looking rationally at good practice in the UK and elsewhere to understand what works in which contexts.
Andreas noted that in a world where the kind of things that are easy to teach and test have also become easy to digitise and automate, schools should be encouraged to help students think for themselves and join others, with empathy, in work and citizenship. Arguing that in the 21st century they will need to help students develop a strong sense of right and wrong, and sensitivity to the claims that others make.
Andreas also explored issues of skills mismatch, the limitations of qualifications and the importance of careers education. He described the growing importance of the relationship between education and work. With the global economy rapidly changes demand for skills, Andreas maintained that exposure to the world of work is becoming ever more important in both vocational and academic education. In a twenty-first century economy it is not only technical skills and careers thinking that can be effectively developed with employers, but also character qualities like resilience, curiosity and leadership which are best developed where they can be exercised.
“…a must-read for those who wish to create a future in which economic opportunity can be shared by all.”
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum
“No one knows more about education around the world than Andreas Schleicher. Full stop. For the first time, he’s collected 20 years worth of wisdom in one place. World Class should be required reading for policy makers, education leaders and anyone who wants to know how our schools can adapt for the modern world – and help all kids learn to think for themselves.”
Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World, a New York Times bestseller
World Class is available to viewed freely online here.
To see further clips of Andreas and Sean discussing education policy, please go to our free online video library.