OECD: Access to Education Growing

    25 September, 2014

    From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

    More people are able to receive higher education worldwide than in the past, but the amount of higher education is causing social and economic divisions in many countries. A recent study by the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) also finds that some developing countries are making surprising progress.

    Five years ago, the world financial crisis hurt many nations, but it did not slow growth in education. A recent OECD report notes the quality and amount of education is increasing the division between what it calls the haves and the have-nots.

    OECD: Access to Education Growing
    Students play next to a portrait of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin at the Democracy Elementary and Middle School in Sitong town, Henan province, China, Dec. 3, 2013.

    In some areas, rising unemployment has affected people with lower education levels more than others. They earn considerably less than those with higher degrees. There are 34 economically developed countries in the OECD. Among those countries, the unemployment rate for people with a university education is about five percent. However, the rate is almost twenty percent for 25-34-year olds who do not have a university degree. This situation also exists in developing economies. 

    Andreas Schleicher is the Education and Skills Director for the OECD. He says the finding is a surprise.

    "You can see that in Brazil, you can see that in east Asia. For the countries where we do have the data, it is a pretty common trend. And the recent financial crisis has amplified that trend. Education makes more of a difference in terms of your life chances than it used to," Schleicher said.

    The report finds that education makes a greater difference for individuals within countries. But it also notes that education is reducing divisions between developed and developing countries. Andreas Schleicher says countries like China, Vietnam and Brazil are making education an important goal. He says they are investing their limited resources to get good teachers and school leaders.

    "What is really interesting when you look at this data: the world is no longer divided between rich and well educated nations, and poor and badly educated ones. Some of these middle-income countries see enormous progress," said Schleicher.

    The report says education rates are expending faster in many developing countries than in rich ones.

    The Education at a Glance 2014 report provides detailed information about education in the OECD member states. It also reports on non-member countries including China, India, Colombia, Brazil and Russia.

    And that's the Economics Report form VOA Learning English. For more of our programs, go to our website 21voa.com. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter. I'm Mario Ritter.