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Asia Society Releases Report on International Efforts to Close Opportunity Gap in Education

Asia Society has released a report on the 2014 International Summit on the Teaching Profession, hosted by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, OECD, and Education International. This year's Summit--themed Excellence, Equity, and Inclusiveness--addressed key high-priority questions for participating countries such as how to attract high-quality teachers to schools with the greatest needs and how best to improve equity in increasingly devolved education systems.

The Summit brought together countries that are high achievers or rapid performers as measured by performance on OECD’s 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and included official delegations of ministers of education, union leaders, outstanding teachers, and other education experts from Canada, China- Hong Kong, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom (Scotland), and the United States. In addition, observer delegations attended from Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Malaysia, Mexico, and Vietnam. Special delegations attending as guests of the New Zealand government came from Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

Key findings from the Summit include:
• Most high-performing education systems ensure that resources available to disadvantaged schools are equal to or greater than resources provided to other schools. Many systems use incentives, whether bonuses or career incentives, to attract teachers to the most challenging schools.
• Many countries are now working to ensure that their teacher professional standards and teacher preparation programs prepare prospective teachers more deeply with skills that are needed to identify struggling learners, understand cultural differences, diagnose student problems, and differentiate instruction based on students' needs.
• The development of collaborative cultures among teachers and leaders in schools is one of the most powerful ways to improve the quality of teaching and the commitment of teachers to their schools.
• There is a strong need for countries to expand and raise the quality of early learning opportunities.
• An increasing trend across a number of countries is toward networks, clusters, or partnerships of schools to foster shared opportunities for professional learning and spreading of best practices among schools.

Learn more about the Summit and download the report here.