Tonga PEARL Music Video produced for public awareness.  Titled “Read with Your Child for At Least 10 Minutes a Day” it will air on national television starting Monday. This is one of the various ways we are working with the Ministry of Education in Tonga to promote school readiness and early childhood development under the PEARL program financed by the GPE.pearl

Tonga: 10 Minutes Reading a Book with a Child Makes a Lifetime of Difference Family is central to life in Tonga. And celebrating family, and time spent together is the focus of a new World Bank-supported campaign encouraging Tongan parents and family members to dedicate 10 minutes each day to reading with their child. The campaign, Laukonga Mo e Fanau (Read with your child in Tongan) aims to tackle an issue identified in a recent World Bank-led study as one of the key barriers to children’s development and success at school: that many children have not had enough nurturing, early childhood experiences —such as reading together with their loved ones—and as a result, arrive at school unprepared to take on the challenges of a new environment. “Our study showed that a large number of children between three and five didn’t know how to hold a book,” said Siosi Tapueluelu, the World Bank’s Senior Operations Officer in Tonga. “Many couldn’t draw a recognizable figure or shape, and the majority lacked perseverance; the push to finish what they started. These skills are critical for early childhood development, and being ready for school on Day 1.”…

Advancing 21st Century Competencies In East Asian Education Systems: East Asia is undergoing rapid transformation of its primary and secondary education systems as countries reform education to respond to the fundamental changes taking place in societies and economies in the 21st century. Such reforms are not an addition of new “21st century competencies” to an established set of expectations, but rather, a comprehensive reconceptualization of education and its role in society. This report, written by Professor Kai-ming Cheng of the University of Hong Kong and a team of researchers across East Asia, studies the education reform efforts of Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan to provide students with skills for the future. Read the report ».  These five systems largely share similar cultural heritages and share similar philosophies of education, despite differences in polity and ideology. All five societies are among the more advanced economies and hence are among the first to feel the challenges of the 21st century. With no exception, all five systems have experienced significant, substantial, and comprehensive education reforms, which are ongoing. The following case studies focus on the five education systems: Advancing 21st Century Competencies in Hong Kong, by Kai-ming Cheng and Liz Jackson, University of Hong Kong; and Wing-on Lee, The Open University of Hong Kong; Advancing 21st Century Competencies in Japan, by Daisuke Kimura and Madoka Tatsuno, Global Incubation x Fostering Talents (GiFT); Advancing 21st Century Competencies in Singapore, by Jennifer Pei-Ling Tan, Elizabeth Koh, Melvin Chan, Pamela Costes-Onishi, and David Hung, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University; Advancing 21st Century Competencies in South Korea, by Hyo-Jeong Kim and Jeongmin Eom, Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) under the auspices of UNESCO; Advancing 21st Century Competencies in Taiwan, by Hsiao-Lan Sharon Chen and Hsuan-Yi Huang, National Taiwan Normal University

Netherlands and Finland at the Top of the World in Life Satisfaction for Students The OECD released the third volume of its analysis of PISA data this week, focusing on the life satisfaction of students, their relationships with teachers, use of their time outside of school, and prevalence of bullying. Students’ Well Being surveys 72 countries and jurisdictions, and finds that although in general correlations between students’ life satisfaction and achievement in school are relatively weak, top performers Netherlands and Finland are near the top of the lists in the life satisfaction of their students. Top-performing Asian systems like South Korea performed below the OECD average on these measures of well-being, highlighting the importance of reforms they have recently undertaken to de-emphasize high-stakes testing and promote more holistic curricula. The OECD recommended that policymakers consider policies to promote teacher collaboration, so that teachers can share information about students’ stress and challenges, as well as parent involvement to encourage parents to be more engaged with students’ learning and development in the home.

U.S. students satisfied with life, but some foreigners happier …American students scored close to the average of 7.3 among OECD’s 35 member countries. But students in some member countries are doing markedly better: an average Mexican high schooler rated life satisfaction at 8.2 out of 10. The Netherlands and Iceland had a level of 7.8 and Finland had 7.9. American students also reported higher levels of anxiety over tests, bullying or a feeling of not belonging at schools, compared with many of their peers…But the authors highlight the cases of Netherlands, Finland and Switzerland, where good grades and high spirits exist side by side…

Dutch Teens Rank Near Top of Global Survey on Life Satisfaction

UK in skills crisis as young workers struggle with reading and maths 

Parents make a big difference just by talking

PISA 2015 Results (Volume III): Students’ Well-Being

Do children spend too much time in schools? Evidence from a longer school year in Indonesia  …the longer school year decreases the probability of grade repetition and increases educational attainment; it also increases the probability of working in formal sectors and wages later in life…

New podcast Between 2 Geeks Getting an Education on Education with Husein Abdul Hamid

Bold funding plan can get every child in the world into school says UN envoy Gordon Brown

Governments are struggling to keep pace with the fast growth of students

Investing in parents for a more productive and inclusive Brazil

Japan’s private schools fill a niche but at a cost