13/11/2002 - Reading skills are more important than ever for economic and social interaction in the modern world, and the availability of qualified and motivated teachers is a key factor in running a successful education system, according to two new publications from the OECD.
Drawing on recent research, including the findings of the OECD's ongoing PISA surveys of skills and knowledge among 15-year-olds, the OECD's annual Education Policy Analysis and a separate publication called Reading for change - performance and engagement across OECD countries analyse what helps students to acquire essential skills. They focus in particular on what education systems are learning from the PISA survey, whose first results came out last year, and for which more detailed analysis is now being published.
The publications will be released at 11.00 a.m. on Tuesday 19 November 2002. They will be available to journalists under embargo on the OECD's password-protected website as of Monday 18 November, and they will be presented at an embargoed news conference at the DBB-Forum Berlin, Friedrichstrasse 169-170, 10117 Berlin Mitte at 6.30 p.m. on Monday 18 November.
One of their main conclusions is to stress the importance of an adequate supply of good quality teachers, under threat in some countries due to teacher shortages and a lack of incentives for new entrants to the profession. They also emphasise the importance of reading proficiency for job prospects, despite the development of other new forms of oral and visual communication.
Building on the PISA analyses, Reading for change identifies some of the factors that are behind differences in students' reading literacy performances. Among other things, it shows that:
Education Policy Analysis, meanwhile, looks at the challenges facing education authorities in maintaining quality of teachers, as well as numbers. Education authorities need to design incentives that can attract strong graduates and former teachers to the pool of those who want to teach, while excluding those who lack the right skills and further developing the skills of existing teachers. Reviewing the outlook for the teaching profession, Education Policy Analysis notes that:
To obtain a password for the protected website, journalists should contact the Media Relations Division . For further comment on Education Policy Analysis, journalists are invited to contact Phil McKenzie in the OECD's Education Directorate (tel.  1 45 24 92 27). For further comment on Reading for Change, journalists are invited to contact Andreas Schleicher in the Education Directorate (Tel:  1 45 24 93 66).
(Other contact details for Education Policy Analysis are: Chapter 1: Strengthening early childhood programmes: a policy framework John Bennett (Tel:  1 45 24 91 65) ; Chapter 2: Improving both quality and equity: insights from PISA 2000 Andreas Schleicher( Tel:  1 45 24 93 66); Chapter 3: The teaching workforce: concerns and policy challenges Paulo Santiago (Tel:  145 24 84 19); Chapter 4: The growth of cross-border education Kurt Larsen (Tel:  1 45 24 92 02); Chapter 5: Rethinking human capital Simon Field (Tel:  1 45 24 18 71).