Center on International Education Benchmarking

1. The Impact of Technology and AI on Education

Technology can be harnessed to enhance our humanity, improve our decision making, and augment our intelligence. So argue Yuhyun Park, founder of the Digital Intelligent Quotient Institute, and Ruben Kaukkonen, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam, in an OECD TopClass Podcast. The two experts share their thoughts on how schools can help students prepare for an uncertain future where they will need to be adaptable and continuously learning. Students need more than digital literacy; they need the ability to harness technology to maximize its potential while minimizing risk. Key skills include higher order thinking, social-emotional proficiency, and morality to have a healthy and productive relationship with technology. The podcast can be found here.

Computer Brain

2. Estonia Recognized as International Innovation Leader

Technology, Innovation

Estonia is the world leader in innovation, according to the International Innovation Scoreboard Index produced by the American Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The index, which ranks countries on 25 different indicators ranging from public policy to high speed internet access, pointed to Estonia’s highly qualified workforce, employment of new technologies, and entrepreneurship as key elements of its leading edge economy. Making the ranking all the more impressive, this is the first year Estonia was included in the rankings. CIEB top performers also receiving recognition for their performance on the index at the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual tech mega-gathering hosted by CTA, include Germany, Finland, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, and The Netherlands. Read more at Estonian World.

3. Finnish Asylum Seekers Need More Hours in Pre-K

Young asylum seekers in Finland should participate in at least 20 hours per week of early childhood education. That is the primary finding of a working group commissioned to study why educational performance and attainment among asylum seekers are so much worse than their Finnish-born peers. Although the group’s 40 recommendations focused primarily on early childhood education for asylum seekers, they did address a range of other issues. These include offering more Finnish language teaching centers in communities of asylum seekers, hiring more teachers of immigrant backgrounds, and extending the age of compulsory education past 17 when necessary. Read more at YLE.


4. Ontario to Cut College Tuition Fees by 10 Percent

Linda Franklin, president of Colleges Ontario
Linda Franklin, president of Colleges Ontario

The Ford government has indicated it plans to cut tuition fees at Ontario universities and colleges, starting in September 2019 and freezing these levels for the 2020-21 school year as well. Their goal is to “…keep more money in the pockets of Ontario’s students.” The drop in tuition levels would not be made up by government, however, and would remove about CAN$300 million (US$226 million) from the college and university system, according to Linda Franklin, president of Colleges Ontario. Concerns have also been raised about what this would mean for the Ontario Student Assistance Program which was just put in place by the previous Liberal government to subsidize tuition for low-income students. For more, see The Globe and Mail.

5. Employment Rate for University Grads in Australia Rises Slightly

The proportion of Australian graduates in full-time employment four months after receiving a degree rose slightly from 71.8 percent in 2017 to 72.9 percent in 2018, according to a new national report. While still well below the graduate employment rate a decade ago (85.2 percent in 2008), the findings show a continued positive trend in full-time employment for recent graduates since hitting a low of 68 percent in 2014. The report found the highest full-time employment rates for undergraduates in pharmacy (97.2 percent) and medicine (94.9 percent). The degrees with the lowest rates of full-time employment after graduation were creative arts (52.2 percent), psychology (60.3 percent) and communications (60.6 percent). Along with the slight improvement in employment rates, the proportion of undergraduate students who were underemployed also fell slightly from 20.5 percent in 2016 to 19.2 percent in 2018. Read more from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Graduation Caps

6. Spending on Teacher Professional Learning Falls in England

School budgets for teacher professional learning fell in a majority of public schools in England from 2016 to 2017, according to an analysis conducted by London-based charity Teacher Development Trust and education data site SchoolDash. The median reduction in spending levels was 7 percent in primary schools and 12 percent in secondary schools. Because this was the first drop in spending on teacher professional learning since the analysis began in 2012, Teacher Development Trust attributes it to recent budget pressures facing England’s schools. Spending also varies significantly across England – for example, teacher professional learning budgets in secondary schools range from only about £160 (US$210) per teacher per year to upwards of £1,000 (US$1,300) per teacher per year, depending on location. Notably, the analysis finds that schools serving more students eligible for free school meals tend to spend more on teacher professional learning, which may reflect greater overall school funding or the additional efforts needed to prepare a younger, less experienced teacher workforce. Read more from The Independent.

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