Skilling me softly: Comparative research of the OECD-PIAAC “Survey of Adult Skills” influence on Lifelong Learning policymaking in Australia, Chile and Singapore

Thu 24 Oct 2019 10:00am

Venue

Social Sciences Annexe (31A)
Room: 
Room 103

Skilling me softly: Comparative research of the OECD-PIAAC “Survey of Adult Skills” influence on Lifelong Learning policymaking in Australia, Chile and Singapore

Abstract:

Since the late 1990s, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has gained presence as a policy actor in the global governance of education, through a complex set of “soft power” mechanisms deployed mainly through a broad portfolio of International Large-Scale Assessments (ILSAs) (Lingard & Sellar, 2016; Martens & Jakobi, 2010; Morgan & Shahjahan, 2014).

As an expression of the OECD expansion, in 2008 this organisation started the implementation of one of their most ambitious projects: the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) “Survey of Adult Skills”; an ILSA that defines, measures and compares key skills that the OECD considers all adults should master to be prepared for the challenges of the 21st century (OECD, 2016b).

After a decade, PIAAC has convinced 43 countries and jurisdictions to join the project. It is present in the 4th Sustainable Development Goal through the progress reports of all indicators referring to Adult Lifelong Learning and has increased its scope with several new sub-products. However, this ILSA has had limited media and research attention. Thus, PIAAC has been overshadowed by PISA magnetism that has attracted almost all the attention regarding OECD’s influence on school-level education policymaking, leaving in opacity other less traditional, less prestigious and less institutionalised policy settings such as Lifelong Learning. This inattention appears to be particularly critical in this policy field, given the increasing prioritising of economic goals over democracy and personal fulfilment, and the associated influence the OECD may have in this (Biesta, 2006; Rubenson, 2015).

Given that background, the proposed research aims to explore the influence of the OECD in the Lifelong Learning field through the examination of the policy ecology around PIAAC in different socio-cultural settings.

Comparative research will be implemented in Australia, Chile and Singapore, based on a critical approach and applying document analysis and interviews with actors involved and influenced by PIAAC, adding voices which have not been heard enough to date.

It is expected that the research expands the available knowledge regarding the OECD influence on education policymaking, considering scopes that have been scarcely explored such as the PIAAC project influence, and perspectives from and about a "Global South" context such as Chile. In turn, this research aims to promote pluralistic views in Lifelong Learning policies and the evidence that informs it.

Advisors: Dr Vicente Reyes (Principal), Dr Sue Creagh

Panel: Prof Brian Head, Em Prof Bob Lingard

All HDR candidates and advisors are welcome.