Shanghai is Number One in World Education Rankings
A global educational study called PISA (Program for International Assessment ) tests over 500,000 pupils in over 70 countries every three years. The 2010 results showed that pupils in Shanghai are the world’s best in reading mathematics and science . PISA studies 15 year olds and their abilities in the three fields. The study did not rank China as a whole but Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macao as separate countries.
South Korea, Singapore Taiwan and Japan were other Asian nations that ranked well. In many western countries the reading score was down. In Europe, Finland still stays in the number one spot although it is ranking third overall. Americans are, at best, average , ranking 17th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in mathematics.
Why have Asian countries overtaken Europe and America in the tests? First, they put more focus on education. Children, parents and teachers know that a good education is the key to being successful. They are not tolerant when pupils fail . Asians believe that if you do hard and succeed in school you will be successful in your job as well.
Starting at a very early age China teaches its children that you can only succeed if you are better than the others. They are tested as soon as they come to school. Only the best can go to college and then get a good job. Examinations are held very often and lists of students rankings are posted on the walls of a school. Shanghai students study much harder than western pupils do and they spend less time on extracurricular activities or sport. Teachers are also respected , paid well and highly motivated .
Critics of the Chinese school system say that it isn’t good if Chinese teachers drill children for a test all the time. It does not prepare you for your future life. A study found out that almost half of Chinese businessmen say that students who come to them are not well prepared for the job they about to take on .
Although there may be some disadvantages in the Chinese school system, Chinese pupils get an overall better education at a very young age. Subject teachers teach children from the start whereas in other countries one teacher teachers all subjects in the early grades .
China’s one child policy makes it easier for families to concentrate on their only child and give it the best education possible. Children spend a lot of time in school and learning with their parents a home. But there are also some negative side effects . More and more students commit suicide because they fear they cannot live with failure .
The OECD report also found out that countries in which students had to repeat years ranked badly. There is also a difference between boys and girls. Girls are better at reading while boys generally perform better in maths.
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- ability = skill, talent
- although = while
- assessment = you try to find out how good someone is by testing them
- average = not better or worse than the others
- commit suicide = to kill yourself
- critic = someone who is against an idea or plan
- disadvantage = bad side
- drill = to teach children by making them do the same exercises all the time
- extracurricular activity = something that students do outside of school, in their free time
- fail = to do badly, not to succeed
- failure = not a success
- fear = to be afraid
- focus = to concentrate more on
- global = worldwide
- grade = school year
- highly motivated = to really like to do something because you find it interesting or you like it a lot
- key = answer, solution
- OECD = Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development = a group of rich countries that work together to make their economy grow
- one child policy = every family is allowed to have only one child; if they have more they must pay taxes and have other disadvantages
- only = single
- overall = general
- perform = to do work
- post = put
- rank = position of something or someone in a list
- repeat = to do again
- respect = to have a high opinion of
- science = knowledge about the world and nature
- score = points
- separate = different
- side effect = unexpected or unplanned result
- spot = place
- study = work that is done to find out more information on a certain subject
- take on = start
- tolerant = liberal, understanding
- whereas = while