11 Richard Desjardins OECD Education Insights from Nordic results in IALS and ALL Presentation at Swedish and Norwegian Club in Paris, Paris, October 22, 2012
22 Nordic participation in IALS and ALL • International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) Sweden (1994) Denmark (1998) Finland (1998) Norway (1998) • Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL) Norway (2003) • OECD Survey of Adult Skills (2012) Denmark Estonia Finland Norway Sweden
33 Key information processing skills directly measured • International Adult Literacy Survey (1994-1998) Literacy (prose , document, quantitative as separate domains) • Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (2003-2007) Literacy (prose , document as separate domains) , numeracy, problem solving • OECD Survey of Adult Skills (2012) Literacy (prose , document combined) , numeracy, problem solving in technology-rich environments • Cover only a narrow range of skill but are nevertheless key because their mastery to at least a minimum level of functionality: Influences the potential to develop and maintain other higher order and job specific skills (basic building blocks) Helps people to cope with text-based processing tasks which are relevant to a wide range of jobs and are of increasing importance in a wide variety of contexts: civic, social, political and personal life (widely applicable and transversal across contexts) Serves as a clear policy focus because this can be seen as a human right, has pervasive public benefits in the economic and social realm, and as general skills are subject to market failure.
44 Comparative distribution of key information processing skills of adults (1994-1998) Per cent Adults 16-65 in 1994-1998 Level 2 Level 1 100 Level 3 Level 4/5 80 60 40 20 0 20 20 40 40 60 60 80 80 100 28, 33, 37, 46% at Levels 1 & 2 100 Italy Switzerland Germany Hungary Sweden Ireland Canada International Netherlands Chile Denmark Poland Finland New Zealand Belgium (Flanders) United Kingdom Slovenia United States Portugal Norway (Bokmal) Czech Republic Australia Source: International Adult Literacy Survey,1994-1998
55 Comparative distribution of key information processing skills of adults (2003-2007) Adults 16-65 in 2003-2007 Per cent 100 Level 2 Level 1 Level 3 Level 4/5 80 60 40 20 0 20 20 40 40 60 60 80 80 33% at Levels 1 & 2 – no change from 1998 1% percentage point shift from Level 1 to 2 100 100 Norway Italy Switzerland Hungary Bermuda Canada Netherlands New Zealand International United States Source: Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey, 2003-2007
66 Comparative distribution of key information processing skills of youths (1994-1998) Per cent Youths 16-25 in 1994-1998 100 Level 2 Level 1 80 Level 3 Level 4/5 60 40 20 0 20 20 40 40 60 60 80 80 100 16, 21, 22, 38% at Levels 1 & 2 100 Sweden United States Hungary Switzerland Germany Italy Czech Republic Ireland Netherlands Denmark International Finland Chile Poland New Zealand Canada Belgium (Flanders) United Kingdom Portugal Slovenia Norway (Bokmal) Australia Source: International Adult Literacy Survey,1994-1998
77 Comparative distribution of key information processing skills of youths (2003-2007) Per cent Youths 16-25 in 2003-2007 Level 2 Level 1 100 Level 3 Level 4/5 80 60 40 20 0 20 20 40 40 60 60 80 80 23% at Levels 1 & 2 – 1% percentage point increase in 5 years 100 Small percentage point shift from Level 1 to 2 100 Norway Switzerland Hungary Italy Netherlands International New Zealand Canada Bermuda United States Source: Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey, 2003-2007
88 Low performance at Level 1 and 2 linked to economic disadvantage Odds ratios showing the likelihood of adults with low levels of foundation skills (Levels 1 & 2) in multiple skill domains experiencing poor outcomes compared to those with higher levels of skills 3.5 In lowest two quintiles 3.0 of personal income 2.5 Unemployed 2.0 1.5 Received social assistance in last year 1.0 0.5 Did not receive investment income in last 0.0 year 0 1 2 3 4 Number of information processing skills (prose literacy, document literacy, numeracy, problem solving) in which adults show low performance Adjusted for education, parental education, age, gender and migration status Source: Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey, 2003-2007
99 Low performance at Level 1 and 2 linked to social disadvantage Odds ratios showing the likelihood of adults with low levels of foundation skills (Levels 1 & 2) in multiple skill domains experiencing poor outcomes compared to those with higher levels of skills 2.5 2.0 Has fair to poor health 1.5 Does not participate 1.0 in community groups or organizations 0.5 0.0 0 1 2 3 4 Number of information processing skills (prose literacy, document literacy, numeracy, problem solving) in which adults show low performance Adjusted for education, parental education, age, gender and migration status Source: Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey, 2003-2007
1010 Nordic countries characterized by comparatively high levels of key information processing skills • Also characterized by high levels of participation in Adult Education (AE) • Substantial differences in level of participation in AE between countries at comparable stages in the modernisation process and similar economies: • Group1 (>50%): Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. • Group2 (35-50%): Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. • Group3 (20-35%): Austria, Belgium (Flanders), and Germany. Czech Republic, and Slovenia. France, Italy and Spain. • Group4 (<20%): Greece and Portugal. Hungary and Poland.
1111 And distinctly characterized by high volumes of adult education over lifespan Full time equivalent years of adult education 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 FI DE SE DK BE NO AT UK ES LV LT BG EE PT FR IT NL HR HU GR SI CZ SK PL RO Formal education (job-related reasons) Non-formal education (job-related reasons) Formal education (non-job related reasons) Non-formal education (non-job related reasons) Source: EU Adult Education Survey, 2005-2008
1212 And not least, high levels of equity in access to adult education • Disadvantaged groups are similar among Nordic countries and non-Nordic countries those who are women, older, from low socio-economic backgrounds, low-educated, low-skilled, in low-skill jobs, unemployed, and/or immigrants are the least likely to participate • Distinctiveness of Nordic countries lies in the attenuation of differences among otherwise disadvantaged groups.
Nordic countries feature highest levels of access for1313 least educated Full time equivalent years of adult education 2 At least some tertiary education 1.8 Upper secondary, post-secondary non- 1.6 tertiary education Less than upper secondary education 1.4 1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 DK SE FI NO AT NL DE BE HR EE LV ES PT UK LT FR HU PL IT SI SK GR CY CZ BG RO Source: EU Adult Education Survey, 2005-2008
1414 A key question is why? • Long shared history of supporting and fostering a rich adult learning culture • Various historical, social and cultural factors are behind this, but Nordic countries also share a strong record of public policy that aims to: Promote adult learning Foster favourable structural conditions Target various barriers to participation Ensure that disadvantaged groups have equal access • Nordic “institutional” model of lifelong learning with the state as a major player focus on equity correcting for market failures
Targeted adult education by skill level1515 Changes in per cent of adults aged 16 to 65 in adult education between IALS 1994/1998 and ALL 2003, by literacy levels Per cent 20 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 Switzerland Switzerland Norway Canada United States Switzerland (German) (French) (Italian) Level 4/5 Level 3 Level 2 Level 1 Source: Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, 2003; International Adult Literacy Survey, 1994-1998.
1616 Despite positive scenario in Nordic countries vis-a-vis international peers: The job is not finished • Inequalities in the distribution still exist • Barriers continue to persist among certain groups despite targeted effort
17Adults in Nordic & non-Nordic countries experience similar17 barriers to AE and nearly to same extent Per cent reporting different types of barriers to AE 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 NO FI IS SE DK PT UK ES DE NL AT Job related barriers Family/household related barriers Institutional barriers Dispositional barriers Source: Eurobarometer, 2003.
1818 Nordics more likely to overcome barriers to AE even if face barriers to same extent Percent participating in AE despite perceived barriers 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 FI IS SE DK NO UK NL DE AT ES PT Job related barriers Family/household related barriers Institutional barriers Dispositional barriers Source: Eurobarometer, 2003.
1919 Overcoming barriers to adult learning • Nordic countries comparatively successful at overcoming perceived family and job related barriers • Policy matters to overcome barriers • Family and job-related barriers linked to wider social and welfare state policies focusing on structural relations between state- family, state-work, work-family. • Institutional barriers appear more persistent (~ 50 % participated) More directly related to education and skills policies Many recent reforms relate to targeting of institutional barriers • Dispositional barriers are perhaps the most challenging (~ 40 % participated) Can be related to both wider social policy and specific education/skills policies Incentivising adults who otherwise are not inclined to participate (e.g., vouchers)
2020 Conclusions • Targeted policy measures seem to help in reducing structural constraints and hence boost participation rates Good for maintenance and development of adults skills • Available data suggests that it is (individually based) dispositional constraints that may be most challenging for public policy to address and overcome