OECD: International Migration Outlook 2014

This flagship publication on migration analyses recent developments in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and selected non-OECD countries. This edition also contains two special chapters on “The labour market integration of immigrants and their children: developing, activating and using skills” and “Managing labour migration: Smart policies to support economic growth”. It also includes Country notes and a Statistical Annex. This special edition is launched at the occasion of the High-level Policy Forum on Migration (Paris, 1-2 December 2014).

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Highlights from the Executive Summary

Investing in the labour market integration of immigrants
First- and second-generation immigrants are playing a growing role in the workforce. In countries settled through immigration, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, as well as inWestern Europe, immigrants are well established. Elsewhere, in Southern Europe for example, they are a relatively recent but growing presence in the education system and the labour market.
The integration of immigrants and their families has been a prime policy objective in many OECD countries for at least the past 15 years. Perhaps the most important challenge is unleashing immigrants’ full skills potential. A number of policy approaches can help make this happen:
● Make information on foreign qualifications more widely available and improve their recognition.
● Ensure immigrants have access to active labour market programmes and that they benefit from them.
● Put immigrants more directly in contact with employers.
● Provide immigrants’ children with high-quality early childhood education and care.
● Provide language training adapted to immigrants’ skills.

Key figures
● Preliminary data suggests permanent migration flows to the OECD rose by about 1% in 2013 compared to 2012, following a 0.8% drop in 2012 compared to the previous year.
● Labour migration has declined continuously since the economic downturn and fell by about 12% in 2012. By contrast, free-movement migration rose 10%.
● Asylum seeking increased by 20% in 2013 compared to 2012.
● Worldwide, the number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship more than doubled since 2000 to reach 4.5 million in 2012, with 75% enrolled in OECD countries.
● With a little over half a million emigrants, China accounted for almost 10% of all flows to OECD countries in 2012, followed by Romania (5.6%) and Poland (5.4%).
● There are more than 115 million immigrants in the OECD, about 10% of the total population.
● In 2012, about 12.5% of all 15 year-olds had two foreign-born parents – 50% more than a decade earlier. Their integration, particularly those with parents with low levels of education, is a growing concern.
● The crisis hit immigrants disproportionately hard: of the additional 15 million unemployed in the OECD since 2007, about 1 in 5 is foreign-born.
● Despite the crisis most immigrants are in work. On average, a higher proportion of low-educated immigrants (54.1%) are in work than their native-born peers (52.6%).
● By contrast, tertiary educated immigrants are less likely to be in work than their native-born counterparts (77% versus 84%). And when employed, they are 50% more likely to be over-qualified for their jobs.

Via OECD Library 

OECD publishes outcomes of largest international survey on teachers’ professional development and job satisfaction

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The OECD has recently published the 2013 results of the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), which asked more than 100,000 teachers and school leaders in lower secondary education in 34 countries about their job satisfaction, working conditions and learning environment in their schools. The study also assesses to what extent pre and in-service training provides teachers with the necessary pedagogical and didactic skills and looks at teachers’ self-reported confidence and attitudes towards teaching.

Key recommendations and observations of the report include:

  • Governments should develop policies to attract more teachers to disadvantaged schools.
  • Schools should be given more autonomy, yet there also need to be accountability and support mechanisms in place.
  • School leaders have a crucial role to play and need many different skill sets. Therefore, formal initial training should be provided to prepare future school leaders. Additionally, in-service training and exchange with other school leaders needs to be more accessible.
  • New teachers often feel unprepared for certain challenges in the classroom and are uncertain about their capabilities. Induction programs that offer structural support for new teachers, for instance through mentoring schemes or supervision and feedback sessions, can help to support young teachers and increase their teaching capacities.
  • Continuous mentoring and support programs between colleagues have shown to improve student outcomes and teachers’ job satisfaction, yet very few teachers have access to or use such schemes.
  • In-service training should be more accessible and needs to be supported by the school management.
  • Teachers need to be better equipped to handle behavioral problems of students.
  • Teaching still largely takes place in isolation. Teachers should receive more feedback on their teaching from colleagues or the school management and should then be supported to use this feedback for positive change in their teaching styles.
  • Distributed leadership that includes teachers in decision-making processes at a school level should be promoted as it increases job satisfaction and the feeling of self-efficacy among teachers.

The SIRIUS Focus

Although the report does not discuss if and how teachers are specifically prepared for multilingual classrooms, many of the recommendations resonate with the outcomes of the SIRIUS stakeholder meeting on teacher training and professional capacity and the meeting of teachers with migrant backgrounds. In June 2014, a group of educational practitioners, researchers and civil society representatives came together to look at the question of teacher training from the perspective of inclusive education and discussed how teachers can be provided with the skills needed in diverse classrooms, such as knowledge about second language learning, intercultural education and social psychology.

Similarly to the OECD report, they stated that such skills should be fostered by

  • rendering in-service training more accessible.
  • school leaders who encourage or offer professional development.
  • promoting collaborative and open-minded school leadership to enhance professional capacity of teachers and inclusive education.
  • giving teachers more opportunities to exchange experiences among each other.

Additionally, however, it was noted that teacher training curricula need to adapt to prepare teachers for the needs of a multilingual and multicultural student body. During the meeting the large majority of teachers noted that they often felt left alone with these challenges. Currently, universities do not or only sporadically offer courses on second language learning or intercultural education. Furthermore, they are mostly voluntary and do not form an integral part of the curriculum.

Interestingly, only 12 percent of teachers state in the OECD survey to have a strong need to develop their skills for teaching in a multicultural or multilingual setting (p.109). Similarly, around 16 percent report to have participated in in-service training on how to teach in diverse classrooms in the last 12 months (p.106). The OECD notes that these skills seem to be less important to teachers in Europe, except for Italy where 27 percent of teachers would like to receive additional training in this field. Furthermore, teachers in Latin American countries also wish for more in-service training (46 percent in Brazil and 33 percent in Mexico).

The OECD survey therefore suggests not only a lack of pre- or in-service training in this field, but also little awareness among many teachers, who do not consider additional training in second language learning and intercultural education as necessary skills to develop.

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Lessons from PISA 2012 outcomes


In a global economy, the benchmark for educational success is no longer improvement by national standards alone, but the best performing school systems internationally. Latest results from the PISA assessment the world’s metric for evaluating learning outcomes at school, issued 3 December, show striking changes in the world’s talent.

Shanghai, already the top-performing education system in 2009, has extended its lead in students’ math performance over the next highest performer, Singapore, to the equivalent of a full school year. And that was at a time when Singapore, too, saw rapid progress. Other East Asian systems, including Chinese Taipei and Japan, also saw improved results, as did Europe, in Germany and Poland for instance, and Latin America, such as Brazil and Mexico. PISA was conducted in 2012, a year when many of the 65 participating countries were still grappling with the economic crisis that has brought home the urgency of equipping more people with better skills to collaborate, compete and connect in ways that drive economies forward.

Some contend that Shanghai’s success in PISA just reflects rote learning and immense drilling for tests. But the most impressive performance of Shanghai’s students is actually not on the tasks that ask them to simply reproduce what they have learned, but on tasks where they need to extrapolate from what they know and apply their knowledge creatively in novel situations. Consider this: only 2% of American students can conceptualise, generalise and use advanced math in creative ways, which is what the highest performance level in PISA requires. In Shanghai it is over 30%. Shanghai has understood that the world economy will pay an ever-rising premium on excellence, and that today’s economy no longer rewards people simply for what they know –Google knows everything– but for what they can do with what they know.

Obviously, one can’t copy and paste school systems wholesale. But PISA has revealed a surprising number of features which the world’s most successful school systems share and from which others can learn.

For example, students in high-performing countries consistently say that achievement is mainly a product of hard work, rather than inherited intelligence, which suggests that education and its social context can make a difference in instilling values that foster success in education. High-performers embrace diversity among students with differentiated instructional practices, their teachers have high expectations for every student and realise that ordinary students have extraordinary talents. Nowhere does the quality of a school system exceed the quality of its teachers. High performers pay great attention to how they select and train their staff. And when deciding where to invest, they prioritise the quality of teachers over the size of classes.

Not least, they provide intelligent pathways for teachers to grow in their careers and have moved on from bureaucratic control and accountability to professional forms of work organisation. They support their teachers to make innovations in pedagogy, to improve their own performance and that of their colleagues, and to pursue professional development that leads to stronger educational practice. Often in education, the policy focus is still on the provision of education, in top school systems it’s on outcomes, which means shifting from looking upwards in the bureaucracy towards looking outwards to the next teacher, the next school, about creating networks of innovation. And the most impressive outcome of world class school systems is perhaps that they deliver high quality across the entire school system so that every student benefits from excellent learning. They align policies and practices effectively across all aspects of the system, they maintain coherencee over sustained periods of time, and they see that they are consistently implemented.

By: Andreas Schleicher, Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General and Deputy Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills. Via OECD Observer 

The PISA 2012 Results in Focus (p.12) highlights that excellence is achieved through equity:

  • Australia, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong-China, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein and Macao-China combine high levels of performance with equity in education opportunities as assessed in PISA 2012.
  • Of the 39 countries and economies that participated in both PISA 2003 and 2012, Mexico, Turkey and Germany improved both their mathematics performance and their levels of equity in education during the period.
  • Across OECD countries, a more socio-economically advantaged student scores 39 points higher in mathematics – the equivalent of nearly one year of schooling – than a less-advantaged student.
  • Some 6% of students across OECD countries – nearly one million students – are “resilient”, meaning that they beat the socio-economic odds against them and exceed expectations, when compared with students in other countries. In Korea, Hong Kong-China, Macao-China, Shanghai-China, Singapore and Viet Nam,13% of students or more are resilient and perform among the top 25% of students across all participating countries and economies.
  • The share of immigrant students in OECD countries increased from 9% in 2003 to 12% in 2012 while the performance disadvantage of immigrant students as compared to students without an immigrant background but with similar socio-economic status shrank by 11 score points during the same period.
  • The concentration of immigrant students in a school is not, in itself, associated with poor performance.
  • Across OECD countries, students who reported that they had attended pre-primary school for more than one year score 53 points higher in mathematics – the equivalent of more than one year of schooling – than students who had not attended pre-primary education.
  • OECD countries allocate at least an equal, if not a larger, number of teachers per student to socio-economically disadvantaged schools as to advantaged schools; but disadvantaged schools tend to have great difficulty in attracting qualified teachers.

Read more

  • The main findings from PISA 2012, country-related content and video streams available here.
  • Explore the performance of individual countries and the impact of factors like gender and social background with this data visualisation tool.


Immigrants’ education varies by country according to OECD study

How well immigrant children do educationally varies widely depending on the countries they go to, a new study suggests.

The research, from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), was based on reading test scores for 15-year-olds.

Children from similar backgrounds were found to have achieved different standards.

In some cases this was equivalent to a school year, researchers said.

Children whose families had travelled from Russia did better if they went to Israel, Finland or Germany and least well if they went to Greece or the Czech Republic, according to the OECD.

And pupils from the former Yugoslavia did better in the tests if they had gone to Denmark or Switzerland rather than Luxembourg or Austria.

The researchers looked at how close students were to the average reading ability for countries in the OECD – a body whose 34 members include many of the world’s most developed nations.


They say between 2000 and 2009, across the OECD, the proportion of 15-year-olds with an immigrant background increased from 8% to 10%.

And they conclude that immigrant children tend to do better in school systems where there are relatively large immigrant groups and where the newcomers are from as broad a range of socio-economic backgrounds as the group they are joining.

The study says in Australia, Canada, Israel and the United States, as many as one in four or one in five students has an immigrant background.

And in those countries “all students with similar socio-economic status perform equally well, regardless of whether or not they are immigrants”, the report says.

“The wide performance differences between students with similar socio-economic status and a common origin suggest that schools and education policy in the host countries influence these students’ performance”, it concludes.

The researchers added: “Some education systems appear to be able to facilitate the integration of immigrant students better than others.”

Among families emigrating from the UK, reading levels among 15-year-olds were highest for those who had gone to New Zealand.

Via BBC News