Recently the OECD published their OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) results. A key product of the PIACC was the Survey of Adult Skills and it was designed to provide insights into the availability of some of the key skills in society and how they are used at work and at home. Though this survey was aimed at adults it has a relevance for all in society particularly teachers in primary and post-primary schools.
We in Ireland didn’t do particularly well on the PIACC and it was our league table performance that made the headlines. For more on the Irish results please visit the Central Statistics Office press release. Yet the results have much wider implications for our entire education system.
The Survey highlighted the need for citizens today to develop their 21st century skills along with acquiring diplomas and qualifications. This is an important finding as the development of skills is a key component of the NCCA reforms, particularly at Junior Cycle level and at senior cycle. The following OECD video highlights the need for all involved in education to develop these key skills.
Boost skills for jobs and well-being
Interestingly the video highlights the importance of developing these skills both from a well-being and employment perspective. The findings add weight to the argument that we need to develop these skills both in formal and non-formal education settings.
Sometimes there is a tendency to down play the importance of developing such skills and to place a much greater emphasis on teaching content knowledge. Yet this report highlights that “skills are learnable” and that “learning should not stop when school finishes.” Therefore there is an onus on all of us to consider how we can develop the NCCA Key Skills, both in and out of school. No doubt this report will lead to further changes in our education systems and in particular how we teach these skills to all learners, young and old. Central to all of this will be the role of digital technologies but that is for another day.