Tuesday, June 25, 2013

OECD Reports on Canadian and U.S. Higher Education

According to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Canada ranks first in percentage of educated citizens followed by the United States. Fifty percent of Canadians, forty-two percent Americans, and twenty-nine percent of the British have degrees. The Canadian population is one of the most educated among the 34 OECD and the nation s but at a higher cost.  

Canada’s post-graduate degrees such as master’s degree or doctoral degrees lag behind Korea and Japan. Younger Korean and Japanese citizens are earning higher grades which mark a fundamental shift in where higher education is being centered. With young Asians pushing hard to achieve their goals they will become new sources of discovery and revenue. There is little doubt as to the association of education with economic activity. 

The system found that those with higher degrees had about a 5% unemployment rate while those who didn’t had an 11.7%. This helps highlight the idea that education may reduce unemployment due to the variability of skills. It is these skills and general understandings that afford people the opportunity to find meaningful work. 

It may also be an indication that manufacturing and other physical labor positions are on the decline in first world nations. Cost competitiveness of manual labor is lower in developing countries such as China and India where North American companies would need to automate their operations to achieve parity. 

The report further indicated that 6.6 percent of Canadian GNP went into education from kindergarten to college while 7.3% of U.S. GNP went into education. The difference being that the majority of educational monies went to higher income student populations than in Canada. Even with higher U.S. monies American students ranked lower on international tests. 

American primary education was less developed than other nations. The key years in a child’s education, which determines in many ways their chosen paths in life, was lacking. It is possible that the declining amount of students choosing higher education and overall competitiveness upon graduation may be part of a general decline in national educational achievement. 

Fewer foreigners were coming to the U.S . for education than in the past. They were opting to stay within their countries or other places where the educational system more matches their needs. Europe was the most popular place to get a higher education. The U.S. received only 21% of the total foreign population when compared to Europe receiving 48%. 

The report should act as food for thought for higher education decision makers. The traditional educational system needs reform in order to make it more effective. From early childhood development to graduate school the system should be focused more on teaching methods that actually enhance learning. It could consider the advantages of using virtual higher educational platforms to reach out and recruit international students who can study without having to leave their home countries. 

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