While all the trends included in this resource are relevant to education, not all relevant trends are in this resource – it is necessarily highly selective. As well as relevance for education, the criterion for selection has been the presence of international through-time evidence. This inevitably biases its coverage towards the economic, social, environmental, demographic and educational fields where measurements have been in place long enough to give a picture of developments over time. Some of the factors importantly shaping education are highly subjective and cultural in content, making them difficult to pin down at any one time, let alone over time, and these are not covered.
The focus is primarily on OECD countries, though where they are available, broader global data are used. The different sources mean that there are no single time frames: in some cases the trends are charted over a short decade or so; in some others, long term trends are available.
What type of trends does the resource cover?
● First, there are major demographic trends. These concern the OECD countries and lead on to global developments not just of population levels and movements but living conditions and the environment.
● Second, there are economic trends relating both to the nature of economies and to the kinds of work and jobs people do.
● Third, we present themes related to the digital (and learning) society in which we live, in which education makes its own important contribution.
● Fourth, there are the political and social factors to do with the role of the state, the social environment and families, and trends concerning sustainability.