New OECD PISA report reveals challenge of online learning for many students and schools

PISA, via a kind email:

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to school closures across the world and forced teachers and students in many countries to adapt quickly to teaching and learning online. But a new OECD PISA report reveals wide disparities both between and within countries in the availability of technology in schools and of teachers’ capacities to use ICT effectively.

Effective Policies, Successful Schools analyses findings from the most recent OECD PISA 2018 test, involving around 600,000 15-year-old students in 79 countries and economies.

On average across OECD countries in 2018, there was almost one computer available at school for educational purposes for every 15-year-old student. Yet in many countries school principals reported that the computers were not powerful enough in terms of computing capacity, affecting one in three students globally.

“This crisis has exposed the many inadequacies and inequities in education systems across the world,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills. “Disadvantaged young people have been particularly affected and every country should do more to ensure that all schools have the resources they need so that every student has an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.” 

Differences between advantaged and disadvantaged schools were significant. In Brazil 68% of students in advantaged schools had access to sufficiently powerful digital devices, according to principals, compared to just 10% of students in disadvantaged schools. In Spain, there was a 40 percentage-point difference (70% vs. 30%) in the availability of sufficiently powerful digital devices between advantaged and disadvantaged schools.