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O.E.C.D. Says Adult Schooling Should Not Be Limited to Highly Skilled


I’m Bob Doughty with the VOA Special English Education Report.

Many countries need to do more to offer education and training for people of all ages. So says a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Paris. "Education at a Glance Two Thousand Five" looks at the thirty member countries of the O.E.C.D.

The report says the number of people being educated continues to increase. But it says there is still a shortage of training for adults who need it the most. These include people in low-skilled jobs or no job at all. And the difference in earnings continues to grow between those who are better educated and those who are not.

The O.E.C.D. report notes great improvement in school performance in some countries. For example, ninety-seven percent of South Koreans born in the nineteen seventies have completed upper secondary education. This compares to thirty-two percent of those born in the nineteen forties.

In O.E.C.D. countries, fifty-seven percent of the university graduates now are women. But the report says the share of women among mathematicians, computer scientists or engineers is thirty percent or less. And university-educated women in many countries earn less than similarly qualified men.

The report says O.E.C.D. countries spend an average of seven thousand dollars per student per year. Switzerland and the United States spend the most on education, more than eleven thousand dollars. They also are among the countries that pay their teachers the most. But higher spending is no guarantee of a higher quality education.

The report says Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands and New Zealand spend moderately. Yet their fifteen-year-olds are among the top students of any of the countries compared in the report.

The Bush administration says its federal education law, called No Child Left Behind, is improving student performance. The O.E.C.D. says the test results used in the report are not recent enough to show any possible effects. But it praises the attempt to deal with problems in schools.

It also says the strength of the American education system may be in its higher education system, which is highly competitive. The report says almost thirty percent of foreign students choose to study in the United States.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. Our reports are online at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Bob Doughty.

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