Is real progress being made in the equitable provision of education? What do the 2015 PISA results tell us?
Addressing inequities in education is a global imperative. The 2016 Education Commission Report highlights the inequities of educational access and learning outcomes, while the SDG 4 targets require progress in reducing inequities across geographic units, gender, ability groups, and within crisis-affected settings.
Beyond diagnosis and monitoring, what does research tell us about effective strategies to enhance equity and equality of opportunity in education? IIEP’s 2017 Strategic Debate series will explore this question from several perspectives, pushing us to go beyond understanding the nature of the problem to explore what can be, and is being, done, particularly through education policy and planning.
Everywhere, education systems are striving to improve both learning outcomes and equity in learning opportunities. Yet, over the past decade, as the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) reveals, only a few education systems have been making real and significant progress. This Strategic Debate will offer a brief review of
the educational outcomes in the 72 countries which took part in the last PISA assessment, with an analysis of the policies and practices – as well as contextual factors – which contributed to the quality of learning outcomes and the degree of equity in the distribution of educational opportunities.
The data show that the world is no longer divided between rich and well-educated nations and poor and badly educated ones. For instance, the 10% most disadvantaged students in Viet Nam compare favourably to the average student in the OECD area. Clearly, all countries and economies have their excellent students, but few have provided all students the opportunity to excel. Achieving greater equity in education is not only a social justice imperative, it is also a way to use resources more effectively, increase the supply of skills that fuel economic growth, and promote social cohesion.