Business leaders are raising concerns about shortages of skilled technical workers in Poland. They blame the dramatic shift away from vocational education and towards university education for these shortages. According to Eurostat, the percentage of Poles aged 30-34 with higher education qualifications almost tripled between 2002 and the end of 2013, from 14.4 percent to 40.5 percent. Piotr Ambrozowicz, CEO of OTTO, a multinational firm with a presence in Poland, said “The situation has resulted in many people working in positions that do not correspond to their education or aspirations.” Poland is making efforts to address this issue, declaring 2014-15 the “year of vocational education” and developing new policies to increase financial aid for vocational education. For more, see Radio Poland.
Image: Polish workers
Source: Radio Poland
On the OECD’s Education Today blog, Dirk Van Damme looks at the latest projections of how the share of 25-34 year olds with tertiary degrees across OECD and G20 countries will change by 2030. These projections, which come from the latest Education Indicators in Focus brief, suggest that by 2030, 27 percent of the OECD and G20’s young people with tertiary degrees will come from China. 23 percent will come from India, and only 8 percent will come from the United States. With 60 percent of the global “talent pool” concentrated in two countries, the implications for the global workforce are huge, but no one can predict exactly what they mean, Van Damme argues. Read more of his analysis here.
Image Source: OECD Education Today
The National Center on Education Statistics (NCES) recently released a new report tracking the educational experiences of a sample of United States high school students. Findings include that 84 percent of 2002 high school sophomores had at least some post-secondary enrollment as of the 2012-13 academic year. The data show that the credits earned the first year of postsecondary enrollment is critical. Only 37 percent of those who earned less than 6 credits in their first year had earned a post-secondary credential by 2012-13. By comparison, among those who earned 12 credits or more in their first year of enrollment, 69 percent had earned a postsecondary credential. Previous academic success also played a role in student persistence in attaining a degree. Of the students scoring in the lowest quartile on the 2002 reading assessment in high school, only 13 percent had earned a bachelor’s degree by 2012-13, compared to 47.5 percent of those who scored in the highest quartile on the same reading assessment. More detail can be found at NCES.
Image Source: NCES
There has been much talk about how Singapore’s SkillsFuture plans will give every citizen the opportunity to reskill and maximize their ability to succeed in the labor market. But what has not gotten as much attention is the fact that SkillsFuture has the potential to create new jobs and develop new growth sectors. The Business Times is writing a series on how Skills Future will impact different professions and industries. The introductory article notes that the government has developed comprehensive Sectoral Manpower Plans (SMPs) to chart future skills needed in each industry, including health care, social services, and retail. In addition, the SkillsFuture Council is also looking to build up local expertise in newer industries, such as biopharmaceuticals, to ensure Singapore’s long-term economic growth and success. The chair of the SkillsFuture Council, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, notes, “This is a long journey to develop expertise and mastery in every skill and job, and to become a truly advanced society.”
Image Source: Business Times
Civic groups in Taiwan recently announced their intention to form an alliance of 21 organizations focused on boycotting new textbooks which incorporate recent changes the Ministry of Education made to curriculum frameworks. The changes, announced last year, are the subject of an ongoing court battle between the government and opponents of the new curriculum framework who say the changes reflect what they call a “conservative ideology of committee members.” Opponents also point to what they call an “opaque design process” in the formulation of the curriculum changes. Schools will begin deciding whether to use the new text books or older textbooks that do not reflect the ministry changes for next school year in just a few weeks. Read more at Taipei Times.
Image Source: Taipei Times
As of next academic year, Alberta students will be able to stay in high school until age 21, a two-year increase in age, and the compulsory attendance age will be increased from 16 to 17. These are provisions of the Education Act passed in 2012. Concerns are being raised about what impact these provisions will have on the size of the student population in high school, as funding shortages are already an issue and high school class sizes are already 30 students on average. For more, see Metronews.
Alberta Education Minister Gordon Dirks
Source: Ministry of Education
Some Japanese academics warn that the intellectual integrity of Japanese universities is threatened by Prime Minister Abe’s recent reforms. New government reforms that went into effect on April 1st require state-run colleges to raise the country’s flag and sing the national anthem, and decision-making power at universities, which had previously been in the hands of governing boards of 15-20 people, is being centralized in the hands of university presidents. “There is a crisis in academia,” Makoto Watanabe, a lecturer in communications and media at Hokkaido Bunkyo University, told reporters. “Universities should be places that encourage and respect diversity of opinions, but it seems to me that we are increasingly being told what to do,” Watanabe said, adding that he feels both “…direct and indirect pressure from the government.” Another professor said that the college has been warned that if it does not obey the ministry, its budget will be cut. These critics of the reforms worry that whereas previously the Ministry of Education would have to convince a whole governing board to accept changes, and only then after long debate and consideration, now the ministry would need to convince only one man, the university president, to accept whatever changes the ministry suggests. Read more at Deutsche Welle.
Image Source: Deutsche Welle