Programme for International Student Assessment

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The latest results of worldwide international tests on a country’s academic performance have just been published for 2012(half a million fifteen year olds from some sixty five counties took part). It has been on the go for some 15 years and gets published every three years (parent organisation OECD Paris).

China’s region has done well and come top for core subjects – Maths, Reading, and Science. Singapore & Japan did fine also, and in addition South Korea as usual (Finland once top has fallen away a bit). Once again the UK’s sorry performance was unsatisfactory, if not poor – languishing down in the twenties positions, when it should be in the top 10 as in 2000 (a shock to most of us considering how much public money we pour into the education system – but not as much as some other countries! – and our continuing desire to be a global influence). UK has been doing badly for a dozen years though.

We don’t necessarily want to live in a society where our offspring sacrifice all their childhood to study 11 hours a day, as reportedly in China, but we have to do better and improve performance if we are going to compete in world markets, and have a competent set of kids able to contend with their overseas counterparts.

Can anything be done then? Whose fault is this? One and all are blaming each other of course – particularly the politicians who unsurprisingly say it’s the opposite guy’s fault.

Everyone however is looking is looking in the wrong direction regarding the UK’s meagre performance in PISA. It is NOT the fault of the Schools, nor indeed the blunders of successive Governments – it is simply down to the rubbish parents, who on average don’t give a hoot about teaching their child, or education really, so how do you expect their kids to bother enough and work their socks off?

A while ago we went on eurostar to Brussels. As we waited in the London terminal, there was an under 5 year old Chinese lad with his dad. For the whole 25 minutes he was spoken to and skilled– he was told to count the tiles on the floor, or read out the signs on the wall, or say how many empty chairs there were, etc. The British youngsters were instructed to sit down, be quiet, behave themselves, and just wait as the train would be coming soon. What does that tell you? If you travel abroad, to say Singapore, you will find the same East Asian committed parental attitude to education and their kids’ development. Our UK Mums & Dads need to learn to care, put more effort in, and recognise the importance of education. Also, Exam authorities need to stop awarding A double plus grades for mediocre performances!

[No point blaming the kids is it!]

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