China out­classes West in ed­u­ca­tion sur­vey

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Paris, France - Teenagers from four big Chi­nese re­gions out­shone their con­tem­po­raries in West­ern na­tions in a keenly watched sur­vey of ed­u­ca­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties pub­lished on Tues­day, which also showed no im­prove­ment trend in de­vel­oped coun­tries over the past two decades.

The PISA sur­vey is car­ried out ev­ery three years by the Paris-based Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment (OECD), this time among its 37 mem­ber states and 42 part­ner coun­tries and economies.

The lat­est study, based on two-hour tests taken by 600,000 15 year olds last year, showed that students in the four Chi­nese re­gions of Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Jiangsu and Zhe­jiang - as well as Sin­ga­pore - topped the rank­ings, ahead of their West­ern coun­ter­parts in read­ing, math­e­mat­ics and sci­ence.

“In many Asian coun­tries, the ed­u­ca­tion of chil­dren is pri­or­ity num­ber one,” said Eric Char­bon­nier, an ed­u­ca­tion an­a­lyst at the OECD. “Teach­ers have high­qual­ity training and there have been in­vest­ments in schools that had dif­fi­cul­ties,” he added.

In read­ing, which the OECD con­sid­ers its head­line in­di­ca­tor of ed­u­ca­tion po­ten­tial, the best per­form­ing OECD state was the tiny Baltic na­tion of Es­to­nia, fol­lowed by Canada, Fin­land and Ire­land. Big­ger Euro­pean na­tions lan­guished well behind in the rank­ings, with Bri­tain in 14th place, Ger­many 20th and France 23rd. The United States placed 13th in read­ing.

OECD sec­re­tary-gen­eral An­gel Gur­ria said the students from the four Chi­nese prov­inces had ‘ out­per­formed by a large mar­gin their peers from all of the other 78 par­tic­i­pat­ing ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems’.

More­over, the 10 per cent most so­cio-eco­nom­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged students in these four ar­eas ‘also showed bet­ter read­ing skills than those of the average stu­dent in OECD coun­tries, as well as skills sim­i­lar to the ten per­cent most ad­van­taged students in some of these coun­tries,” he said.

He cau­tioned that these four prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in eastern China ‘are far from rep­re­sent­ing China as a whole’.

Yet their com­bined pop­u­la­tions amount to over 180mn, and the size of each re­gion is equiv­a­lent to a typ­i­cal OECD coun­try even if their in­come is well be­low the OECD average.


Univer­sity students at a li­brary in Shenyang in China’s north­east­ern Liaon­ing prov­ince on Novem­ber 26

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