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Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills at the OECD. He initiated and oversees the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international instruments that have created a global platform for policy-makers, researchers and educators across nations and cultures to innovate and transform educational policies and practices.

He has worked for over 20 years with ministers and education leaders to improve education. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that Schleicher “understands the global issues and challenges as well as or better than anyone I’ve met, and he tells me the truth”. Former UK Secretary of State Michael Gove called Schleicher “the most important man in English education” – even though he is German and lives in France.

He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the “Theodor Heuss” prize, awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for “exemplary democratic engagement”. He holds an honorary Professorship at the University of Heidelberg.

Keynote Session

Learning for an Interconnected World – Lessons from

PISA’s Assessment of Global Competence

Globalisation and digitalisation have connected people, cities, countries, and continents in ways that vastly increase our individual and collective potential. But the same forces have also made the world more volatile, more complex, and more uncertain. In this world, education is no longer just about teaching students something, but about helping them develop a reliable compass and the tools to navigate with confidence through the world. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has shown how advancements in literacy skills have fallen sharply behind the evolution of the nature of information. This has profound consequences in a world where virality is sometimes privileged over quality in the distribution of information. In the “post-truth” climate in which we now find ourselves, assertions that “feel right” but have no basis in fact become accepted as fact.

However, poor levels of 21st century literacy are not the only challenge. These days, algorithms sort us into groups of like-minded individuals and create social media echo chambers that amplify our views and leave us insulated from opposing arguments that may alter our beliefs. These virtual bubbles homogenise opinions and polarise our societies; and they can have a significant – and adverse – impact on democratic processes. We have also seen during the pandemic how the well-being of countries depends increasingly on people’s capacity to take collective action. Schools need to help students learn to be autonomous in their thinking and develop an identity that is aware of the pluralism of modern living. At work, at home and in the community, people will need a broad understanding of how others live, in different cultures and traditions, and how others think, whether as scientists or as artists.

These considerations led PISA to include ‘global competence’ in its latest evaluation of school systems. To do well on this assessment, students had to demonstrate that they can combine knowledge about the world with critical reasoning, and that they were able to adapt their behaviour and communication to interact with individuals from different traditions and cultures.

The presentation will analyse how education systems fare on this assessment, and highlight some of the individual, institutional, and systemic factors that relate to success.

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