viernes, 11 de octubre de 2013

Spain and the #OECDSkills report : Beyond numeracy and literacy


A lot of fuss has been created in my country (Spain) around the "OECD Skills Outlook" report. The main focus of all the comments has been our position in the literacy and numeracy rankings. In both of them, Spain is among the five countries with a lower score. Nothing to be proud of, certainly. A huge debate has been developed around our education system, about its past and its future, around which political party is to blame for the situation.

Unfortunately, this debate has hidden other issues also included in this report, Isome of them as important as our literacy and numeracy skills. The report has a lot of data that deserves an analysis, I recommend at least take a look to the annex with all the tables with figures included in the report. For instance, it is a shocking surprise that no data has been collected about the proficiency level of Spanish workers  in problem solving in technology-rich environment (because Spain didn´t  take part in this part of the survey as France, Italy and Cyprus). I consider this a big gap of the knowledge needed for policy-makers in the area skills-development for a digital world.

However, there are more data in the report, some of them quite worrying for a country as Spain with more than 25% of unemployment. To be more specific. for me is highly significative the Tables A.1.7.a and A.1.7b in the pages 254 and 255 of the annex. The first table provides the percentage of workers who reported structural changes in their workplace in the last three years. The second table provides the percentage of workers who reported new ways of working in their workplace in the last three years. In both cases, Spain is below the average of the OECD countries. Taking into consideration that this data was collected in 2010, it explains partially why the employment destruction in Spain has been so quick and so acute: We are a country that needs reforms in the workplace beyond the changes in the labour laws. Our companies and organisations failed in the integration of the digital technologies and new organisational models.

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