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Education Systems Continue Exchange at Education World Forum in London

My first blog entry from the Education World Forum (EWF) reported how the powerful opening presentations challenged this high powered conference. By the half-way mark we have been given a fascinating snapshot of the issues and opportunities facing education systems all around the world.

Two founding presentations have set the tone for much of the event: from Russell Quaglia, the US’s foremost authority on student aspirations,  on the importance of valuing student voice not only to encourage and motivate the individual learner, but also to help drive education systems; and from Andreas Schleicher of OECD on the importance of developing 21st century skills to meet the challenges of a radically changing employment market where the need for routine manual skills is rapidly disappearing, and individuals will need to change jobs much more frequently.

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Education in Brazil

I flew into a gloomy Sao Paulo last weekend. People were mourning the death of former Corinthians footballer Socrates -- and scanning figures just released showing flat GDP growth.

Brazilians have got used to living in one of the healthiest economies in the world, so what’s going on? In one sense the problem may be transitory. Yes, the crisis in the Eurozone is damaging export markets, and yes, Brazil has raised domestic interest rates to choke off the inflation caused by an over-heating economy. But most observers expect growth this year to settle at around 3% -- a figure most national treasuries would willingly accept.

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ATC21S Consortium at London Education World Forum

How we live, work, play and learnhas been dramatically transformed by technology over the past 20 years. We need different skills today than we did in the 20th century, and educational institutions have a critical role to play in developing those skills. But by and large, primary and secondary schools have not kept pace with the changing skill sets that students need to succeed. In fact, there’s nothing broad-based in place right now to determine whether our schools are doing well at teaching these skills. Governments as well as schools need to know what works and what doesn’t.

Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corporation and Microsoft Corp. unveiled plans in January 2008 to sponsor a project to research and develop new approaches, methods and technologies for measuring the success of 21st-century teaching and learning in classrooms around the world. The Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ATC21S) project is focused on defining those skills and developing ways to measure them. Transforming education requires a multi-stakeholder partnership to make a scalable and sustainable difference in classrooms around the world.

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