26-27 August, Singapore

Keynote Address


Dirk Van Damme

Senior Counsellor, Directorate for Education and Skills



About Dirk Van Damme

Dirk Van Damme is Senior Counsellor in the Directorate for Education and Skills at the OECD in Paris. He holds a PhD in educational sciences from Ghent University and is also professor of educational sciences in the same university (since 1995). In his academic career he was also part-time professor in comparative education at the Free University of Brussels (1997-2000) and visiting professor of comparative education at Seton Hall University, NJ, USA (2001-2008). His main academic work focused on the history of education, comparative education, lifelong learning and international higher education. He also served in various positions in the field of education policy in the Flemish part of Belgium, among others as general director of the Flemish Rectors’ Conference, as deputy and chief of staff of various Flemish education ministers. He was responsible for developing and implementing policies focusing on equality of opportunity in education and the implementation of the Bologna Declaration in his country. In 2008 he moved to the OECD, where he became Head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), and since 2012 he also led the Indicators of Educational Systems (INES) and its flagship 'Education at a Glance'. In 2017 he became the Head of the Skills Beyond School (SBS) division, covering work on skills, adult learning, vocational education and higher education. And since 1 January 2019 he became the Education and Skills Directorate's Senior Counsellor. His current interests are evidence-based innovation in education, comparative analyses of educational systems, open education and quality issues in higher education. At the OECD he is also the Directorate’s focal point for the OECD’s Inclusive Growth Initiative.