Measuring Innovation in Education – AN OECD Report

by Jul 28, 2014

The education sector is a vertical that is being significantly disrupted. The rapid rise in the adoption of the Internet worldwide, coupled with the strong take-up of mobile, means that any student, anywhere can access any course, anytime. From the best teachers and professors in the world. On any course. At any level.

So why bother with the traditional school and university systems? Why is it that children need to "go to school"? We used to talk about "going to my computer to write a document". Now we have computers in our pockets. So what do parents still ask each other "Where will you send your child to school", and teenagers ask "Which university will you go to?".

Why do we need to "go" anywhere? Education can come to us. So why does it take the education system so long to change? Why is it that Universities continue to build, build and build classrooms and buildings? Why is it that children in many countries still wear uniforms and are regimented in classrooms?

The interesting thing to ponder here is that Universities actually teach business transformation. I do at the Australian Graduate School of Management. SO we are teaching executives how to manage transformation, without transforming ourselves.

So it is interesting to read the recent report by the OECD on Innovation in education below. The report, published on 21 July, draws on an OECD survey of university graduates working in 38 countries, and finds that 80 per cent of those employed in higher education believe their employer is at least “sometimes” at the forefront of adopting innovations, compared with 70 and 67 per cent for the primary and secondary school sectors respectively.

Some 46 per cent of the respondents in higher education say their employer was “mostly” at the forefront, the report reveals, compared with 31 per cent in primary, 30 per cent in secondary, and 41 per cent across all sectors of the economy.

In addition, the report finds that higher education employees were far more likely to be in jobs that they felt utilised innovative “knowledge and methods” (59 per cent) than those working in the secondary school sector (42 per cent).

This trend continued in relation to “products and services”, with 29 per cent of tertiary education staff saying their employer was innovative in this area compared with just 20 per cent of those at secondary level.

“Within education, innovation intensity is greatest in higher education, with secondary and primary education approximately equal,” the report concludes.

“Higher education stands out in terms of speed of adopting innovation, above the economy average, and well above the rate in primary and secondary education.”

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