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OECD—Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental organization whose member countries are committed to pluralistic democracy and market economics. The 34 member countries include the leading industrialized countries in Europe, North and South America and the Asia-Pacific region, collectively producing two-thirds of the world's goods and services.

Origins. The roots of OECD are in the post-war recovery efforts to rebuild and rationalize the economies of Europe with Marshall Plan aid. From these beginnings OECD continues to monitor economic policies of member countries with the aim of promoting economic growth and prosperity. The work of OECD gradually expanded from economic growth to encompass many issues related to economic growth, including education and labor force issues.

Organization and Activities. The OECD works through specialized committees where officials of member governments discuss common issues and share information. Internationally comparable statistics on economic activity and other government programs are collected and published by OECD. These statistics include some of the world's best comparative data on education, training, and employment. OECD tracks international economic developments and serves as the forum for trade negotiations in a variety of areas such as agricultural subsidies and industrial subsidies for the manufacture of goods such as commercial aircraft. OECD also serves as a forum for coordinating donor policies for aid to developing countries and policies for distributing petroleum supplies in times of short supply.

OECD and Education. The education activities of OECD are conducted under either the Education Committee, a policy-oriented body, or the Center for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), a research-oriented body. Participating in OECD allows the United States to compare its education system with the educational systems of other industrial countries, especially its commercial competitors. OECD's Indicators of Educational Systems (INES) is the largest education activity and of high interest to the U.S. The results of the INES project are presented in the annual publication Education at a Glance. OECD comparative data provide a mechanism to learn how other education systems are approaching problems of concern to U.S. education such as mathematics and reading instruction, student assessment, the use of computers in schools, early childhood education policies, and school-to-work transitions. The Department of Education, and especially the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), has been very active in the educational research work of OECD.

Meetings of OECD Ministers of Education are held at least once every five years to review current issues in education and to give direction to OECD education projects for the next five years. The CERI Governing Board and the OECD Education Committee meet annually to oversee current activities, budgets, and proposals. U.S. Department of Education senior officials represent the United States at these meetings.

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Last Modified: 03/12/2013