OECD urges government to spent education funds ‘effectively’

20 Jan 15
Public spending on education is increasingly being matched by reforms, but once new policies are adopted they are not followed up, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has said.

By Judith Ugwumadu | 20 January 2015

Public spending on education is increasingly being matched by reforms, but once new policies are adopted they are not followed up, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has said. 

The think-tank analysed education reforms in member countries focused on: supporting disadvantaged children and early childhood care; vocational education and building links with employers; improving teacher training and professional development; and strengthening school evaluation and assessment.

However, it concluded that a widespread lack of evaluation of the impact of these reforms could hinder their effectiveness and hurt educational outcomes.

It found that only around one in 10 of the 450 different reforms put in place between 2008 and 2014 were evaluated for their impact by governments.

In the first edition of its Education policy outlook 2015: making reforms happen the OECD called on governments to measure policy impact ‘more rigorously and consistently’, which would prove more cost-effective in the long run.

Currently, governments are investing 12% of public spending on education, with total spending across the OECD exceeding $2.5 trillion a year.

Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s director for education and skills, said public spending on education must be ‘deployed in the most effective way’.

‘Reforms on paper need to translate into better education in our schools and classrooms.

‘Too many education reforms are failing to measure success or failure in the classroom. While it is encouraging to see a greater focus on outcomes, rather than simply increasing spending, it’s crucial that reforms are given the time to work and their impact is analysed.’

Meanwhile, a second OECD report underlined the need for improving education. Its Education at a glance interim report found that almost one in six 25-34 year-olds across OECD countries did not have the skills considered essential to function in today’s society, a situation that has changed little since 2003.

There are 13 OECD countries with 15% or more unqualified youth. These include France, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand and Italy. 

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