Introduction to Demand


Across the spectrum of publicly provided goods and services, a new policy trend is emerging. Governments throughout the OECD coterie are realising the importance of providing services that are better suited to the needs and demands of their citizens. From healthcare to pensions, governments are providing citizens with more choices, and improved channels for voicing their demands and shaping new initiatives and solutions.


Education is no exception to this trend. Within the sphere of schooling in particular as well as education more broadly, policy makers are seeking to encourage improved institutional senstivity to the demands of parents and pupils. Consequently, the twin agenda of demand-sensitivity and personalisation is growing in importance.


In the context of education, demand-sensitivity can be roughly understood as improving the responsiveness of the supplier of education (schools, educational policy makers) to the requirements and preferences of its consumers (parents and pupils). The terminology and fundamental idea are drawn from economics, although this is not meant to imply that education and the schooling system should be left to market forces - far from it. Rather, the idea is that public services, including education, should be purposely directed in such a way that they better fit the needs of those they are intended to benefit. Demand-sensitivity requires that schools should be reorganised so as to better fit the needs of learners. Thus, while market forces might conceivably push towards a ‘one size fits all’ educational ‘product’, demand-sensitivity necessitates an increased focus on each learner and thus a more personalised educational experience.


In brief:

  • OECD governments are providing public services that are better suited to the needs of their citizens.
  • Demand-sensitivity in directing education may include provision of alternative options (choice).


  • It may include the creation of platforms for parents and pupils to have their voices heard (voice).
  • Ideally, it will combine both choice and voice to facilitate co-creation of the education process.



Exploring the Concept of Demand

Public and Parental Perceptions of Schooling

Parental Choice and Diversity of Provision

Parent and Community “Voice” in Schools

What do the Students Say?

The Demand Dimension: Concluding Issues and Directions


Related topics:

Introduction to Personalisation


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