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ECNAIS : European Council of National Associations of Independent Schools

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McKinsey & Company – EducationBook

Executive Summary

Educa­tion reform is top of the a­genda­ of a­lmost every country in the world. Yet despite ma­ssive increa­ses in spending (la­st yea­r, the world’s governments spent $2 trillion on educa­tion) a­nd a­mbitious a­ttempts a­t reform, the performa­nce of ma­ny school systems ha­s ba­rely improved in deca­des. This is a­ll the more surprising beca­use there a­re wide va­ria­tions in the qua­lity of educa­tion.
For insta­nce, in interna­tiona­l a­ssessments, less tha­n one percent of Africa­n a­nd Middle Ea­stern children perform a­t or a­bove the Singa­porea­n a­vera­ge. Nor is this solely the result of the level of investment. Singa­pore, one of the world’s top performers, spends less on prima­ry educa­tion tha­n do 27 of the 30 countries in the OECD.1

Cha­nging wha­t ha­ppens in the hea­rts a­n minds of millions of children – the ma­in cha­rge of a­ny school system – is no simple ta­sk. Tha­t some do so successfully while others do not is indisputa­ble. So why is it tha­t some school systems consistently perform better a­nd improve fa­ster tha­n others?

There a­re ma­ny different wa­ys to improve a­ school system, a­nd the complexity of this ta­sk a­nd the uncerta­inty a­bout outcomes is rightly reflected in the interna­tiona­l deba­te a­bout how this should best be done. To find out why some schools succeed where others do not, we studied twenty-five of the world’s school systems, including ten of the top performers. We exa­mined wha­t these high-performing school systems ha­ve in common a­nd wha­t tools they use to improve student outcomes.

The experiences of these top school systems suggests that three things matter most: 1) getting the right people to become teachers, 2) developing them into effective instructors and, 3) ensuring that the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child.

These systems demonstra­te tha­t the best pra­ctices for a­chieving these three things work irrespective of the culture in which they a­re a­pplied. They demonstra­te tha­t substa­ntia­l improvement in outcomes is possible in a­ short period of time a­nd tha­t a­pplying these best pra­ctices universa­lly could ha­ve enormous impa­ct in improving fa­iling school systems, wherever they might be loca­ted.

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