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MENAFN Press - 09/01/2014
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jonerona 2014_01_06 057 Andreas @ WIS
(MENAFN Press) One of the world's foremost education policy makers has encouraged teachers and education officials to focus on building students skills and the ability to solve problems, rather than just focusing on basic knowledge to boost education in the region.

"Skills have become the single most important driver of the success of individuals and nations," said Andreas Schleicher, the deputy director for education and skills and special adviser on education policy to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). "The single most important finding from our analysis is in fact that the knowledge economy no longer pays you for what you know. Google knows everything these days. The knowledge economy pays you for what you can do with what you know."

Mr Schleicher oversees the administration of the test and is widely regarded as the foremost authority on improving education around the world. The PISA test results are widely seen as a measure of how a nation is likely to fare in the knowledge economy. As a result they have huge political significance and policy implications

Mr Schleicher, who is also on the Global Advisory Board of the Varkey GEMS foundation, was speaking to over 200 teachers, and leaders of GEMS Education, as well as media and local officials. In a keynote speech in which he discussed the latest results for PISA ( Programme for International Student Assessment), Mr Schleicher offered concrete advice on the importance of quality learning and integrated teaching.

He highlighted significant opportunies for countries in the Middle East to raise education standards and prepare students for the knowledge economy. Dubai, which was the sole emirate in the UAE to take part in the test, showed marked improvement again this year, while highlighting that that much more still needs to be done to boost children's readiness.

"Students are quite good at reproducing what they have been taught, but as soon as we ask them to extrapolate from what they know, use and apply their knowledge creatively in novel situations - things they haven't seen before - they struggle," Mr Schleicher said about Middle East educational systems. In the UAE, he said, "Overall there is a huge potential for growth, for improvement given current investments in education.

"We need to put greater value on student's creative skills, the capacity to extrapolate. You can see it can be very easy to implement those kinds of policies in a very short time, according to our data from the PISA assessment," he said.

"Andreas Schleicher's inspiring talk emphasizes the challenges and opportunities schools face in preparing children for the future," said Margaret Atack, Group Director, Education at GEMS education. "What he highlights most is that interaction, partnership and sharing have a tremendous impact on improving educational outcomes

Today, more than ever, lifelong learning is not an option but a necessity of the times in which we live and it is this culture of expectation and aspiration that we strive to embed in our classrooms, in our schools and across our organisation.

About GEMS Education
Founded in 1959 GEMS Education is an international K “ 12 education company. Its vision is to be the world's leading provider of quality education, enriching the lives of millions of children and the communities in which they live. GEMS Education works across both the Private and Public sectors. In the Private sector the company is the largest kindergarten to grade 12 education provider in the world. It educates 130,000 students from over 150 nationalities across four continents. GEMS employs over 11,000 education professionals, specialists and staff from over 80 countries. In the Public sector GEMS Education works with governments to lift school performance and improve the standards and expertise of government schools across the globe. The Varkey GEMS Foundation was established in 2010 as an independent, not-for-profit charity. Its aim is to impact 100 underprivileged children for every child enrolled in a GEMS school. The Honorary Chair of the Foundation is former US President, Bill Clinton. GEMS has offices in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the United States of America, Singapore, India, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kenya, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.



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