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2009 Vol.2
Lessons from the Educational Reforms of European Countries


The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization engaging in unique activities in the field of education. Through complex international relations, OECD launched the “International Indicators of Education Systems (INES) Project” in 1988, and began publishing “Education at a Glance” from 1992. During the process of formulating INES, the “Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)” was born. As OECD puts its focus on “social capital” for the purpose of seeking sustainable economic growth, PISA is to place emphasis on problem solving processes and the non-cognitive aspects of education.
In addition, compulsory education, which was previously considered a domestic topic, is now recognized as an international issue. In the aim to define the term “competency” as being the level of accomplishment of compulsory education, a project to from the consensus dubbed as “Definition and Selection of Competencies (DeSeCo) project” was launched. The Committee on Culture and Education of the European Commission is also looking into the definition of competency. Identified key competency includes the ability to communicate with others on the premise of diversification and heterogeneity, and the ability to continue learning in order to act autonomously.
If we Japanese were to learn from the educational reform in Europe, our lesson would be the definition of quality in INES and how it was derived. We tend to be occupied with the notion that education is a process to learn the one and only right answer and then memorize that answer. On the other hand, European leaders of government, industry, and education have already realized that the core of educational ability lies in the effort to recognize that under globalism, the framework of education is being rebuilt beyond nationalism, and to respect multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and multi-ethnic societies and the heterogeneous groups existing there, and to communicate and relate each other. The question now is how the grand design of scholastic abilities will be described