Wednesday, December 5

Educational Challenges in the World!

I have been waiting for this report. And this is not good reading. I remember reading in yesterday's FT something along the lines of the fact that the top performers in Finland and South Korea go into higher education and out of those top performers, you take 5-10% into being teachers. Compared to that, Saudi Arabian teachers come from the bottom 10% of the graduates. So no wonder it sucks. India is still doing well as being a teacher is still respected but in the UK, the situation is dire. I quote:

OECD’s latest PISA survey of the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds shows that some countries have seen significant improvements in student performance since 2000. Korea further increased its strong reading performance between 2000 and 2006 by 31 score points, the equivalent of almost a school year, mainly by raising the proportion of top-performers. Poland increased its reading performance by 29 score points over the same period. Mexico and Greece saw significant improvements in mathematics performance between 2003 and 2006. However, across the OECD area as a whole learning outcomes have generally remained flat, while expenditure on education in OECD countries rose by an average of 39% between 1995 and 2004.

But as I already mentioned, this government is useless and its minister is a moron. When said that UK is 24th in the world for math skills, 17th for reading, do you know what he comes back? "Results were pleasing" adding "numeracy and literacy are the foundations of a good education. Please fire him. Please send him to Finland or South Korea. Please send him to Saudi Arabia, Please do something with him. Please. This Minister is like Robert Mugabe. Mugabe killed his country with stupid economic policies. Jim Knight and his government are killing the population with stupid educational policies. They have presided over the greatest fall in educational standards since testing began. Read above, South Korea presided over an improvement of almost 1 school year. We have dropped 15 odd places. What on earth is he pleased about? I am running out of adjectives to swear at this stupid idiot of a Minister.

I am definitely voting Conservative. Liberal Democrats do not have policies and Labour are pathetic in execution. Not much choice left, is there?

Read and Weep and worry!!

Asia-Pacific teenagers top OECD tests
By David Turner, Education Correspondent

Taiwan has topped a prestigious international league table of 15-year-olds’ mathematical ability, vaulting ahead of far richer countries.
The island state’s performance in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Pisa tests of mathematics and reading carried out in 2006 and released on Tuesday, reinforces its reputation as a high-tech Asian tiger. Taiwan also earns fourth place in the parallel Pisa science rankings, published last week, although in reading it is a mere 16th.

Asia-Pacific’s strong showing is one of the clearest themes of the Pisa survey, which was carried out in 57 countries that account for 90 per cent of the world gross domestic product. The region contributes five of the top 10 in the mathematics and science league tables, and four of the top 10 in reading – thanks to strong contributions from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Macao, Australia and New Zealand. Mainland China did not participate.
But the league tables show Finland is the most consistently high performer – repeating its sterling performance in the last survey in 2003. It comes top in science, and second in maths and in reading – where it is bested only by South Korea.
The US, the world’s largest economy, is below the OECD average in science and maths, and fails even to make the tables in reading because a misprint in the test confused too many students and invalidated the results.
The UK is around the OECD average in reading and maths, but a little above average in science.
Germany, whose poor performance in the first Pisa tests back in 2000 provoked anguished soul-searching among its politicians, performs respectably rather than outstandingly. It is around the OECD average in maths and reading, but a little above in science. France achieves the average in all three categories, but no more.
The OECD is rather shy of making comparisons with previous surveys, despite hundreds of pages of analysis of the tests. But it does conclude with disappointment that performance in reading has remained “broadly similar” between 2000 and 2006. The report concludes: “This, in itself, is noteworthy because most countries have significantly increased their investment in education in recent years.” But South Korea and Poland are shining exceptions: their reading results have improved strongly, both in absolute terms and relative to other countries.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

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