The world is slowly moving out of the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. With productivity, innovation, investment and trade not yet at full steam, the recovery still bears risks. It is also becoming clear that economic growth is not enough to foster social progress, particularly if the growth dividend is not shared equitably. Indeed, the social cost of the crisis continues to weigh heavily, with more than 46 million people out of work in OECD countries and relative poverty affecting millions more. In many countries the gap between the richest and the poorest is widening, youth unemployment remains high, and access to social services remains elusive for many. The world is looking for ways to spur economic growth in a more inclusive manner. The OECD contributes to this effort by developing the evidence and tools that policy makers can use to formulate new policies to achieve this goal.
This edition of Education at a Glance provides ample evidence of the critical role that education and skills play in fostering social progress. In addition to the usual data sources used for generating the OECD Education Indicators, this edition also draws on the rich database on skills provided by the 2012 Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), published in October 2013 (OECD, 2013a). Together with the 2012 data on the learning outcomes of 15-year-olds from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA 2012), published in 2013 and 2014 (OECD, 2013b and 2014a), and 2013 data on lower secondary teachers from the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS 2013), published in June 2014 (OECD, 2014b), we now have the richest international evidence base on education and skills ever produced. And with our newly developed, web-based research tool, Education GPS, all this evidence is easily accessible at the click of a mouse.