Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Today's OECD report on education internationally, though reported with the usual negative spin in some of the media, is actually a welcome corrective to the education debate in Britain. First, far from having too many graduates, we are in danger of having too few, as our graduate numbers are growing too slowly to keep up with our competitors. Second, there is still a substantial earnings premium from having a degree. And third, we spend more on schools, particularly pre-school, than most other countries, and pay teachers better. Yes, we still underperform on staying on rates at 16 (though not as badly as before) and our young people's aspirations don't match their potential (perhaps because they and their families spend too much time reading newspapers telling them they are useless). But ministers are right to say that this is a story of real improvement.