Center on International Education Benchmarking

1. OECD Video Study Offers Unique Lens into Teaching Across Countries

A study of mathematics teaching in eight countries and economies found examples of high-quality teaching in all countries, but considerable variation from country to country. Global Teaching InSights: A video study of teaching was conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and examined videos of 700 teachers and 17,500 students in Biobio, Metropoltana, and Valparaiso (Chile); Colombia; England (UK); Germany (seven of 16 lander); Kumagaya, Shizuoka, and Toda (Japan); Madrid (Spain); Mexico; and Shanghai (China). The videos focused on two lessons on a single topic: quadratic equations in secondary school mathematics. The study found that, overall, teachers managed classrooms well; they gave students moderate social and emotional support, and provided them with reasonable instructional quality. However, there were variations from country to country which allowed for learning across the jurisdictions. For example, while Japanese and Shanghai teachers provided opportunities for students to engage in deep explanations, in the other countries these opportunities were relatively rare.


2. England May Face School Leader Shortage After Pandemic


A poll by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) found that almost half of responding school leaders in England said they are considering leaving the profession after the coronavirus pandemic. Exhausted by the current pressures of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and worried about tight school budgets which have been further stretched by additional costs related to the pandemic, some 47 percent of head teachers say they are likely to leave their jobs prematurely once they have steered their schools through the crisis. More than 70 percent said they are less satisfied with their role than this time last year, and more than 90 percent are opposed to proposals to resume school inspections starting in January. Nick Brook, NAHT’s deputy general secretary, warned that there will be no easy return to normal after the pandemic, saying: “A post-Covid revolution is needed to prevent a post-Covid exodus of school leaders.” In response, the Department for Education says that it is improving support and professional development, particularly for new head teachers who are at their least experienced and at most risk of leaving the profession, via the National Professional Qualification for Headship. Read more at The Guardian.

3. Apprenticeships on the Rise in New Zealand

The number of apprentices in New Zealand has increased by nearly 50 percent and the number of females enrolled in apprenticeship programs has more than doubled since last year according to the government. The increase in enrollment comes after New Zealand launched the NZ$320 million (US$222 million) Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) which made all apprenticeships, certificates, diplomas and programs in targeted industries free for New Zealanders of all ages as of July 1, 2020. The government also launched a NZ$380 million (US$263.7 million) Apprenticeship Boost fund to support employers to retain and take on new apprentices earlier in the year. According to a statement from Education Minister Chris Hipkins, since apprenticeship fees were waived in July, nearly 14,000 new apprentices have started an apprenticeship in New Zealand, up from around 7,500 during the same period in 2019, and the number of female apprentices who started an apprenticeship increased from 1,785 from 845 in the same period last year. Additionally more than 17,000 apprentices have begun TTAF programs, compared with 12,800 during the same period in 2019. Read more here.

Chris Hipkins, New Zealand's Education Minister
Chris Hipkins, New Zealand's Education Minister

4. Alberta Reports Shortage of Substitute Teachers

Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers Association
Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers Association

As coronavirus cases rise in schools throughout the province, the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) reports that there is a rising demand for substitute teachers. Jason Schilling, president of ATA said: “As COVID cases are presenting, it’s not just one teacher who is being asked to self-isolate, it can be several teachers.” There is rising concern that there are not enough substitutes to compensate and teachers and principals are being asked to cover for absent teachers, adding to the stress of the job and causing them to lose prep time for their classes. Schilling also noted that substitute teachers do not have health benefits like other teachers, so they are less inclined to want to take temporary positions in schools where there has been an outbreak of the virus. For more, see City News

Read more about how education systems around the world have responded the challenges of school closures and distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic in our archives for October-November, August-September, June–July or April–May.