Robots may not be taking all our jobs, but they are changing profoundly the way we work. Take the European Union (EU), where jobs are increasingly about “non-routine cognitive” and “interpersonal” tasks which require workers to think creatively, solve problems and collaborate with others. Labor market transformation in the EU can be summed up by the number 15: the intensity of non-routine cognitive tasks in EU jobs has increased by 15 percent over the last 15 years, while the prevalence of manual tasks has declined by 15 percent. This is producing a growing divide in employment and earnings across the EU: While high-skill workers are thriving, low-skill workers are losing out. It has never been more important to invest in people and provide every worker with sound foundational skills.
In Europe, the year 2015 will be remembered as the year of the “refugee crisis.” Hundreds of thousands of refugees have crossed treacherous waters and borders to flee war and persecution in Syria and the wider Middle East and Africa in search of protection in the European Union. Transit and destination countries have been struggling to manage the refugee flow and to register and shelter the new arrivals. At the same time, the EU is debating how best to tackle the sources of forced displacement and is stepping up support to Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, who host the lion’s share of Syrian refugees. But largely missing from the frenetic activity so far, except in Germany, has been a thorough discussion of the next step: how to manage the integration of refugees in host countries beyond the initial humanitarian response of shelter and food.
A recent OECD note on PISA results, School autonomy and accountability: Are they related to student performance?, suggests that greater school autonomy in decisions relating to curricula, assessments and resource allocation tend to be associated with better student performance, particularly when schools operate within a culture of accountability.
The following piece appeared as a guest blog in the UK's Guardian this past week.
A good public education system means public spending – but not necessarily public provision.
In OECD countries, more than 20% of public education expenditure goes to private institutions – communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith-based organisations, trade unions, private companies, small informal providers and individual practitioners – and about 12% is spent on privately-managed institutions.
But does private participation mean higher quality education? Does it bring better exam results? Can it encourage greater equality?