Improving equity, overcoming school failure, and decreasing the number of dropouts from upper secondary are key policy priorities across OECD countries. The OECD international workshop “Taking stock of progress in overcoming school failure”, organized and hosted by the OECD, held in Paris 11 and 12 February 2010, provided an opportunity for countries, representatives of international organisations and experts to exchange experiences and learn from each other on the policies they have implemented, their successes and continuing challenges. The workshop was organized to take stock of policies and practices effective in overcoming school failure and to encourage discussions among participants and to introduce phase II of No More Failures,” Overcoming school failure: policies that work.” Sixty-three participants attended the workshop, with representatives from twenty-three countries, international organizations, academic experts and representatives from the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) and the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC).
The OECD team reviewed the Ten Steps to Equity in Education, presented data on the high economic and social costs of education failure and PISA evidence on how children from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds develop resilience and succeed at school. After experts’ interventions and delegates from Norway, France, the United Kingdom and Netherlands presented successful steps these countries had taken to address the problem, there was wide discussion among participants. They agreed that there are no “quick fixes” and that we need more evidence on policies that work, and especially on policy implementation as it affects school practices.
Participants agreed that the OECD can help in the task of identifying good policies and shedding light on effective implementation. The workshop confirmed the importance and urgency of the project “Overcoming school failure: policies that work”, and a number of countries have already confirmed their active participation to it.