Agency Warns About Decline in Access to Education

By Patrick Blum

LONDON — Social mobility through education is waning around the world, despite increased access to education, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned in a report this month.

The 560-page annual publication, Education at a Glance, urged governments to do more to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity for a good education early in life. It warned that many young people are attaining lower qualifications than their parents, even in the richest countries of the industrial world.

Among people from 25 to 35 years old, 16 percent now have lower qualifications than their parents, compared with 9 percent among those 55 to 64 years old, it said, based on data from the 34 member countries of the O.E.C.D., which advises governments on economic and social policy, as well as Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

More access to education has not translated into a more inclusive society, Ángel Gurría, the secretary general of the agency, based in Paris, said in a foreword to the report.

“The benefits of the expansion in education were shared by the middle class, but did not trickle down to less-advantaged families. In relative terms, the children of low-educated families became increasingly excluded from the potential benefits that the expansion in education provided to most of the population,” he said.

More>>