Center on International Education Benchmarking

1. South Korea Concerned by Rising Private Education Costs

Both the percent of Korean parents enrolling elementary and secondary students in private education and the amount they are spending continues to increase. Total private spending reached 19.5 trillion won (US$17 billion) in 2018, a record high and up by 4.4 percent from the previous year. At the middle and high school levels, the average monthly spending was over 310,000 won a month per child, which is approximately US$275. As students compete for highly coveted university slots, families often feel that they have no choice but to invest in private tutoring. One official commented that “quality public education is the key to reducing private education, so we’ll seek to improve school education in which students can learn about their abilities and find a career path.” Read more in The Korea Times here.


2. Ontario to Unveil New Math Curriculum

Ontario Minister of Education Lisa Thompson
Ontario Minister of Education Lisa Thompson

Education Minister Lisa Thompson will unveil a new math curriculum for Ontario that will be “back to the basics.” Provincial math scores have fallen over the past decade, during a time when the Discovery Math program was used. In 2010, 60 percent of sixth grade students met provincial standards; that number is 49 percent today. The province plans to implement the new math curriculum over four years, and couple its introduction with teacher education and the appointment of new positions for math leads and math facilitators at the 1,000 lowest performing elementary schools in the province. There will also be a minimum competency math test that all new teachers must pass by 2020. For more, see The Toronto Sun.

3. Groups Push for Pre-K for 3-Year-Olds in Australia

Groups in Australia are increasing pressure on the Federal Government to boost funding so that more 3-year-olds have access to preschool. The Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign, a national collaboration of 27 early childhood research, service, and community organizations has led the charge to extend universal access to high-quality early education to include 3-year olds.  Four year olds are already have universal access to preschool. Statistics show 58.5 percent of 3-year-olds in Australia are enrolled in preschool programs, compared with the OECD average of 73 percent. “Every year we wait is a cohort of children that misses out. We can’t afford to wait longer. We have some children already having access to high-quality learning, but many are missing out,” Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia said. Read more in The Courier Mail.

Samantha Page
Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia

4. OECD to Study Social and Emotional Skills

OECD Skills Image

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which has conducted international assessments of students’ cognitive abilities and adults’ competencies, will this year for the first time study students’ social and emotional skills. The study, which will be conducted later this year in 11 cities and countries, will survey 10- and 15-year-olds on five dimensions of social and emotional skills: task performance, emotional regulation, collaboration, open-mindedness, and engaging with others. The researchers will also gather contextual information from students, parents, teachers, and principals. Results from the study are expected to be released in September 2020. More information about the study is available here.

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