Center on International Education Benchmarking

The Study Guide

1. Aspiring Teachers to Pay Half Tuition for First Two Years of Training in the Netherlands

Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven has announced that all teachers-in-training in the Netherlands will pay half tuition for their first two years of teacher education beginning in the next academic year. Teacher training is typically four years in the Netherlands.   Primary school teachers-in-training were already set to receive this benefit but the recent announcement expanded this benefit to all teachers-in-training. According to NOS, the Dutch Broadcasting Foundation, the reduction in tuition is intended to attract more aspiring teachers to the profession and address teacher shortages. Read more from NLTimes.

Teacher in Classroom

2. Four Reasons for Australia’s Falling PISA Marks, Experts Say

According to the latest OECD PISA results, the performance of Australian 15-year olds is in a gradual decline. Australia was once a top performer on PISA but has falled behind both in terms of scores and relative to their international peers.  Recently, experts including academics from the University of New South Wales, Stanford University and the National Research University Higher School of Economics investigated Australia’s falling PISA marks. They focused specifically on the decline in mathematics scores, which dropped more than reading or science between the years 2000 and 2015. The research highlighted possible reasons for the PISA decline: a shift in student population from public to Catholic schools – which have shown the greatest decline in maths scores – an influx of new immigrants to Australia, a decreasing number of high-quality math teachers and less time spent teaching math in classrooms. Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald.

3. New Zealand Primary Schools to Change Student Achievement Reporting

Starting in the New Year, primary schools will change how they report on student progress to parents and the Ministry of Education. Education Minister Chris Hipkins said reports will now shift from reporting on how children do with respect to the country’s national standards to reporting on children’s progress. “Parents will still receive reports at least twice a year on their child’s progress and achievements in math, reading and writing as well as across the curriculum areas,” he said, “but this reporting will focus on children’s progress, rather than measuring them against arbitrary National Standards.” The change has been welcomed by many including the largest education union in New Zealand, the NZ Educational Institute, the New Zealand Principals Federation and the School Trustees Association. Hipkins intends to take the next few months to develop this new reporting system. Read more at the NZ Herald.

New Zealand Teacher and Student

4. Is Low Pre-primary Spending Behind Ireland’s Education Decline?

Ireland’s education system “continues to pose among the greatest policy challenges,” a report by the German philanthropic group Bertelsmann Siftung concludes. The report found that Ireland spends only 0.10 percent of GDP on pre-primary education, less than all other European Union countries, and that only 80.1 percent of the Irish working-age population has completed upper secondary school, less than many other EU countries, such as Lithuania. The report also notes that Ireland has a “two-tiered” education system in which about 10 percent of students attend fee-paying schools that achieve higher academic results than non-fee-paying schools. Despite these challenges, the report notes, Ireland scored near the top of all EU countries on the 2015 PISA, and the dropout rate has been halved since 2008. Ireland’s Department of Education disputed the findings, noting that the data were from 2014. Read more from the Irish Times.


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