in the first edition in 2000, the Programme for international student assessment (Pisa), “all the world was traveling in Finland. Now he must travel to Singapore to see what they are doing,” a summary Gabriela Ramos, chief of staff of the secretary general of the Organization of economic cooperation and development (OECD), in front of journalists in Paris.
in Singapore, the teachers “are assessed on a regular basis, have access to ongoing training and the initial training is very developed,” stressed Eric Charbonnier, education expert at the OECD.
“In schools in difficulty, quality teachers are affected” and teachers are “well paid compared to other trades,” he noted, estimating that the private lessons followed by a large party of asian students after the school day do not explain to them only the good performance of this region of the world.
The Pisa survey, widely read by policy-makers in the world, assesses every three years the knowledge and skills of the students of fifteen years in science, mathematics and reading, focusing each time on one of three themes: science for the edition 2015, the same as in 2006.
Behind Singapore include Japan, Estonia, Taipei, Finland, Macao, Canada, Vietnam, Hong Kong and the whole “P-S-J-G” (the chinese cities Beijing and Shanghai and the provinces Jiangsu and Guandong), for the skills in science.
note, however, a decline in Finland, long considered a model, because a lower proportion of pupils very powerful compared to 2006.
France in the middle -
France is in the OECD average, with Austria, the United States and Sweden, behind Germany and Belgium.
Some countries are advancing their students in science, as in Colombia, Israel, Macau, Portugal, Qatar and Romania.
Since 2006, the last edition where Pisa was focused on science, “the countries have invested a lot in education. It is a little disappointing to see that performance in science did not progress,” lamented Eric Charbonnier.
in the Meantime, scientific progress has been amazing, with the rise of smartphones, big data, connected objects, or of the advances in biotechnology.
these days everyone has need of a scientific culture, it should not be reserved for those who are interested in careers in this field, according to the OECD.
This knowledge is necessary for example to eat a balanced diet, manage the waste in big cities, weighing the pros and cons of genetically modified crops, mitigate the consequences of global warming, etc, says the report.
About 8% of the students are very proficient in the sciences in the countries of the?OECD, a proportion that rises to 24% in Singapore. These students “have sufficient knowledge and scientific skills to apply them creatively and independently in a wide range of situations, including situations that are not familiar”.
conversely, approximately 20% of students in OECD countries are below level 2, considered as the threshold of competence in scientific culture.
The disadvantaged students are 34% to be below this threshold.
The OECD deplores the fact that “the institutions disadvantaged have fewer science teachers-qualified and are less likely to require students to take courses in science”.
But there is no need to choose between encouraging excellence and supporting students in difficulty: Macao and Portugal have been able to advance throughout the world, noted the report.
note that Estonia and South Korea, among the best, spend less per student than the OECD average.
© 2016 AFP