Despite the expansion in university places and the increase in graduates and post-graduates we still are pretty poor when it comes to literacy. Only 25% of graduates in England and Northern Ireland performed well at higher levels of reading and writing.
So much for the high number of students getting A* at A-level and the increasing number of graduates getting 1sts. But we know that’s down to grade inflation and universities lowering grade boundaries so more students get top classifications and the university can attract more bums on seats.
The latest results come for the OECD’s annual comparison of school and university outcomes.
Britain has passed a milestone with more people going on to university-level education than not going beyond school qualifications for the first time. So that’s more students in debt as they seek elusive graduate-level jobs.
Other graduate-led economies have seen a rise in higher-level adult literacy but this didn’t happen in the UK. Despite 41% of adults having a tertiary level qualification in 2012 compared to only 26% in 2000. And the proportion was higher still among people aged 25-34.
The OECD doesn’t say why but it says class sizes in English schools are among the largest in the developed world with an average of 18.8 children with a ratio of 14,2 pupils per teacher. The OECD average is 17.8 children so I’m not clear why having slightly above average numbers puts us in the largest class size category.
So which countries did better and worse than us?
37% Japan & Finland
24% USA & Czech Republic
19% France & Denmark