University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan The Equitable Education Fund (EEF) joined the OECD to present the 3-year research results at the World Education Research Association (WERA 2019) and found the Thai white elephant children with creative skills and they were not inferior to any nation in the world.
When learners and teachers understood and believed in their potential and the goal of the joint individual development, the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) was preparing to expand the 400 schools in the academic year 2019.
Last week, the representatives of the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented the research results that had been conducted together at the World Education Research Association (WERA 2019) at the University of Tokyo, Japan. This was the 10th year of the joint conference between the network of educational research associations from over 60 countries around the world.
In this year, the conference selected the top research that presented the results of education on social equity and democracy (Realizing Equity and Social Justice and Democracy).
The research project was to develop and assess the creative and analytical skills that the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had conducted together for more than 3 years, selected as the only research from Thailand. This research was presented in the forum on the 10th anniversary of the World Education Research Association (WERA).
Dr. Stephan Vincent-Lancrin as the research project director of Fostering Creative and Critical Thinking Skills in Education from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented the source of this research project that the board of OECD who consisted of the representatives of the OECD member countries needed the research that could make policy statements for OECD member countries and associate parties to reform the education system to be able to respond to disruption in the global labor market. Due to the advancement of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), they created problems of unemployment both in the current labor force and new graduates from the education system. It has implications for economic problems and global inequality. The OECD provided a special focus on the education system, which would be able to develop the skills that could not be replaced by technology (Non-routine skills). For example, creativity and critical thinking skills were needed, which ranked top 3 in the global labor market now and in 2025.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) survey over the past 3 years, the OECD had received great cooperation from research participants from 11 countries, including Thailand, in support of this important research, which covered tens of thousands of primary and secondary students from 5 continents. There were also experts in the development and evaluation of creativity and critical thinking skills from leading institutions around the world to contribute these.
The OECD would hold an official seminar and announce complete research findings in London, United Kingdom at the end of September 2019. There would be a Minister of Education, Nobel Prize winning scientist, top educators and global private sector executives who would join more than 100 people from dozens of countries and come together to discuss the research findings and policy implications for the educational system and human resource development in the future. Dr.Stephan had highlighted important research results in the project overview, found that creative and analytical thinking skills could be developed and evaluated with appropriate processes and conditions in the classroom teaching process.
The important and interesting factors that could clearly explain the development of creative and analytical thinking of the students in the sample were the attitude, confidence, and trust between teachers and learners in the potential of teaching (of teachers) and learning (Student) in creative and analytical thinking skills, which was a factor that affected even the underprivileged sample groups. For example, the research results from Thailand were the country with the highest proportion of students from the poorest families among the 11 participating countries in this study.
Dr. Kraiyos Patthrawat as the Deputy Manager for the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) and the director of the Equitable Education Research Institute (EEFI) presented the research findings from Thailand according to the analysis of the PISA results of Thai students for the past 10 years of the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) and found that
although the overall average score in Thailand would tend to decrease, there was a group of “Chang Phueak” students (students with the lowest economic status, 25 percent of the country but PISA scores in the top 25 percent of the world), approximately 3 percent of the sample of Thailand. This showed that in fact, the Thai education system could produce some groups of students who had high learning achievement like other countries in the world both students from general families or students from poor families. Therefore, the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) was interested in what was the important Game Changer that helped these Thai children. Whether it came from households of different socioeconomic status, there was an equal opportunity to develop extremely important skills for building stability both for oneself and for national development in this 21st century.
Including guidelines for expanding operating results and making policy proposals in the future, it was a collaboration among the Equitable Education Fund (EEF), the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) and OECD. The study was conducted with Stratified Random Sampling (SRS) and Propensity Score Matching (PSM) with a sample of more than 5,000 Thai students and more than 200 teachers from 200 opportunity expansion schools affiliated with OBEC, the local administrative organizations (LOAs), and the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC) during the academic year 2016-2017.
According to the analysis of data among the Equitable Education Fund (EEF), the experts from the Organization of OECD, and the University of Paris, there were interesting and significant policy implications and 3 issues as follows.
(1) Thai students were in the experimental group (Experimental Group), where teachers were trained by the OECD experts and used tools to promote and assess creative and analytical thinking skills from OECD for 1 semester. There was a significant improvement in creativity when compared to the control group. When other factors are fixed, the skills that Thai students developed the most were Divergent Thinking skills in mathematics and science. Some of the classes at the lower secondary school level in the Opportunity Expansion Schools under the OBEC had the highest level of development of those skills among the 11 countries participating in the OECD program.
(2) Important factors that could explain differences in the developmental level of students participating in the experimental group with statistical significance were relationship factors and attitudes among teachers, students and school administrators towards the development of creative and analytical thinking skills. In other words, when the other factors were fixed, the students in the experimental group would develop creative skills when:
2.1) Teachers had knowledge and understanding of the potential and limitations of learners in each class individually.
2.2) Teachers had taken the OECD’s High Functioning Classroom and Formative Assessment to seriously change their teaching and learning in their classrooms and continuously throughout the semester including the intention to continue to use in the next academic year.
2.3) Students were confident in their teachers’ ability to teach creative skills and teachers’ attitudes that learners could develop those skills.
2.4) School administrators provided support for teachers’ work in the project and were determined to continue using this tool in the next academic year.
In addition, The OECD analysis found that students with higher creative development after the experiment tended to have better educational interaction with parents through discussions about schooling and more reading books after school. The success in the development of creative skills between teachers and learners above happened to both primary school students from normal income families and low-income families. However, the result was lower in the lower secondary school students in the opportunity school.
It might be concluded from these preliminary findings that Thai teachers and students participating in the OECD and 11 countries had indicated that the creative skills of Thai students in the opportunity schools which were the average PISA score. The lowest, almost every time there was an examination, could really be developed with a statistically significant level, not inferior to other countries from around the world including the white elephant students from poor families. When students, teachers and school administrators had an understanding, they believed in each other’s potential and dared to change the teaching process. They had joined development goals individually through the use of formative assessment tools. This finding had significant policy implications for both the educational system reform in the quality and the equality dimension for all learners in the education system.
Currently, the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) and the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) are planning to expand the results of this joint research with OECD to 400 other schools nationwide including in the area of educational innovation in 6 provinces in order to be a mechanism to expand the operations in the country.
In the end, Dr.Stephan concluded the presentation that the success of the research in this project gave OECD and member countries greater confidence that creative skills could be developed under the diversity of education systems and cultures of each country. The PISA Project Management Committee has resolved to add the PISA exam for creativity in the next PISA exam in 2021. The OECD will disseminate the knowledge and tools from this research to all countries that are interested to support the educational system reform in response to national development and education equality after the release of the complete research report in September.