Education and Social Progress


Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social and Emotional Skills

Today’s children will need a balanced set of cognitive, social and emotional skills in order to succeed in modern life. Their capacity to achieve goals, work effectively with others and manage emotions will be essential to meet the challenges of the 21st century. This report presents a synthesis of the OECD’s analytical work on the role of socio-emotional skills and proposes strategies to raise them. It analyses the effects of skills on a variety of measures of individual well-being and social progress, which covers aspects of our lives that are as diverse as education, labour market outcomes, health, family life, civic engagement and life satisfaction. The report discusses how policy makers, schools and families facilitate the development of socio-emotional skills through intervention programmes, teaching and parenting practices. Not only does it identify promising avenues to foster socio-emotional skills, it also shows that these skills can be measured meaningfully within cultural and linguistic boundaries.

You can find more information on the launching event website.

The OECD Education and Social Progress (‌‌ESP) project aims at better understanding how education and skills drive individual well-being and societal progress. The main project objectives are:

  • To shed light on the power of social and emotional skills such as perseverance, self-esteem and respect for others in driving children’s life success in education, labour market, health, relationships and civic engagement;
  • To better understand how school-aged children’s skills progressively develop overtime through investments from families, schools and communities; and,
  • To develop recommendations and measurement tools, using the evidence collected, for policy-makers, school administrators, practitioners and parents to help children achieve their full potential, improve their life prospects and contribute to societal progress.


‌Phase 1 of the project developed a conceptual framework based on an extensive literature review conducted in collaboration with a number of leading researchers in the fields of psychology, education and economics, as well as elaborate longitudinal data analyses of 11 OECD countries and synthesise existing policies and practices on social and emotional learning. The outcome of this work is summarised in the report titled “Skills for Social Progress: the Power of Social and Emotional Skills” which will be published on 10 March 2015.

At the High Level Policy Forum on Skills for Social Progress held on 24-25 March 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil, Ministers of Education and other education leaders from around the world acknowledged an important role of social and emotional skills in driving societal progress and the need to develop and better measure them.

Phase 2 will build on evidence from Phase 1 and develop an international longitudinal study of skills development in cities. This international survey is scheduled to be launched in 2019.


ESP contact (

Koji Miyamoto (tel. +33 1 4524 8554


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