Center on International Education Benchmarking

The Study Guide

1. Asian Countries Top World Bank’s ‘Human Capital’ Ranking

Singapore has topped a new World Bank list ranking success in developing human capital. Asian countries dominated the list, with South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong ranking second, third, and forth respectively. Several other countries from CIEB’s list of top-performing education systems also ranked in the top 10, including Finland, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada. The United States ranked 24th, beside Israel and Macau. The rankings, based on health and education measures, assess the future productivity and earnings potential for citizens of 157 of the World Bank’s member nations, how well governments are investing in education and health, and ultimately those countries’ potential economic growth. Read more at U.S. News.

World Bank Human Capitol Index

2. Head of PISA in Estonia Discusses Country’s Success

A culture of adaptation, a strong national curriculum, a willingness to learn from other high-performing systems including nearby Finland, and a strong preschool tradition are all key elements of the education success story in Estonia, according to Gunda Tire, Estonia’s National Project manager for PISA. In an interview with Australia’s Teacher Magazine, Tire explains the range of ways in which Estonian students are supported by high-quality practice within schools. Estonia boasts the third lowest share among PISA jurisdictions of low-performing students across all three subjects assessed by PISA—reading, mathematics, and science—and Tire credits the school systems’ foundational principles of equity and inclusiveness as well as student “support centers” that assist students with academic and social-emotional supports. Tire also discussed efforts to make teaching a more attractive profession explores in this in-depth interview.

Gunda Tire
Gunda Tire, Estonia's National Project manager for PISA

3. Alberta Releases Draft of New K-4 Curriculum

Alberta posted its draft version of a new kindergarten to 4th grade curriculum online for comment. After this review, the curriculum will be revised and piloted in select districts in the spring of 2019. The Education Minister will hold two town hall discussions for the public and the Ministry will also collect comments online. Alberta Education Minister David Eggen said “We’re working hard to ensure that this curriculum focuses on the priorities of Albertans so it can set our students up for success in a fast-changing world.” The new curriculum aims to focus on both fundamental skills and broad social development. The plan is to implement province wide in the fall of 2019. The revision of the kindergarten to 4th grade curriculum is the first phase of a comprehensive review of the full school curriculum that is scheduled through 2022.

David Eggen, Alberta Education Minister

4. New Zealand Moves Closer to Ending Charter Schools and National Standards

National standards and charter schools are one step closer to being dropped after the Education Amendment Bill passed its final reading in the New Zealand legislature today. The bill will remove the charter school model and national standards. Education Minister Chris Hipkins said it was a watershed moment. “This bill strengthens the quality of school education by removing national standards which did not work and which prevented teachers from doing the job of teaching young New Zealanders” he said, adding that “It removes the charter school model from New Zealand law and brings an end to the privatisation and deregulation of our public school system.” Critics say the government is not taking into account the success of charter schools in lifting Māori educational achievement. Hipkins says that current charter schools will not be immediately closed, rather the government would work to transition them into the public education system. The bill will become law when it is signed by the Governor-General. Read more at RadioNZ.

New Zealand Education Minister Chris Hipkins


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