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Education and Innovation Trends – a comprehensive outlook by OECD

This month, OECD came out with two complementary and comprehensive reports that cover the latest trends in education, science and technology worldwide, namely Education at a Glance 2011: OECD Indicators and OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2011: Innovation and Growth in Knowledge Economies. Both reports have received prominent coverage in the media and provide vast amounts of interesting facts and analytical data. Their contributions include a broad array of comparable indicators on education systems, as well as 180 indicators for science, technology, innovation and industrial performance in OECD and major non-OECD countries.

Approaching modern knowledge economies from the different perspectives of education and innovation, both reports enable countries to see themselves in light of other countries’ performance, and independently come up with several messages. In particular, strong new players are emerging in both science and higher education, breaking the monopoly of traditional leaders as a result of making huge efforts to improve their profiles in these areas.

For example, with regard to international student mobility, China (the second largest R&D performer in 2009, incidentally), India and Korea generate the largest numbers of international students worldwide. Also notable, while six countries – Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States – hosted more than half of the world’s students who studied abroad in 2009, the market shares of some receiver countries are changing. The United States’ share of the global student market dropped from about 23% to 18% between 2000 and 2009. Meanwhile, the shares of foreign students who chose Australia and New Zealand as their destination grew by almost 2%. Similar growth was also seen in Russia, which has become an important new player on the international education market.

All the countries featured in the reports face the same challenge of improving results while public resources are, in many cases, being cut. Both public and private investment in education and research yield high economic and social returns at the individual and institutional levels in a variety of ways that benefit societies. Notably, on average across OECD countries, a person with a university-level education can expect to earn over 50% more than a person with only an upper secondary education.

Education at a Glance 2011: OECD Indicators OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2011: Innovation and Growth in Knowledge Economies