Id like to see some rote learning develope some original products instead of copies.
New data shows Shanghais rapid rise as a world-class education centre
There are two stereotypes about schooling in east Asia: the students work extremely hard, and the learning is by rote. In fact, things are more complicated, as the OECDs latest global schools survey has shown.
Shanghai came top in the Pisa [Programme for International Student Assessment] survey, with three other east Asian territories in the first five. But not all east Asian countries did well, says the OECDs Andreas Schleicher, adding that its innovative thought that is assessed. Shanghai schools arent turning children into walking textbooks: they are channelling their ability and enthusiasm into exceptional results.
The Pisa survey tests 15-year olds, with a rotating focus on maths, reading and science. The emphasis is on broad learning: literacy tests involve reasoning, for example.
In the three previous editions - 2000, 2003 and 2006 - Finland came top. But this year, with the focus on reading, Finland was displaced by Shanghai, with South Korea second, Hong Kong fourth and Singapore fifth
So why did Shanghai do so well? The OECD points to Chinese school reforms: it was impressed by the initiative shown by teachers, who are now better paid, better trained and keen to mould their own curricula. Poor teachers are speedily replaced.
China has also expanded school access, and moved away from learning by rote.
The last point is key: Russia performs well in rote-based assessments, but not in Pisa, says Schleicher, head of the indicators and analysis division at the OECDs directorate for education.
China does well in both rote-based and broader assessments.
If schools did well just because of hard work, then countries with similar cultures should see similar results. But Shanghai beats Taiwan, and Hong Kong beats Macau...
Is Shanghai the exception or the rule in Chinese school standards? In some countries, major cities underperform the national average, but that seems less likely in China, given the coast-interior disparities. However, the OECD did look at some rural areas, and found they matched Shanghais quality...
What the Pisa results suggest is that, just like Chinese companies, Chinese schoolchildren wont be pushed to the back of the class.
The OECD noted that even in rural China results approached average levels for the OECD countries:"Citing further, as-yet unpublished OECD research, Mr Schleicher said:We have actually done Pisa in 12 of the provinces in China. Even in some of the very poor areas you get performance close to the OECD average."
The finding that Shanghais secondary school education is now ranked number one in the world by the OECDs survey, which is regarded as the most comprehensive international comparison, is of course striking. But a second indicative development, at the highest level of the academic world, is that it has been announced that Shanghais Jiao Tong University has attracted as full time professor the winner of the Nobel prize for medicine, and discoverer of HIV, Luc Montagnier.
The report found that Shanghai came ahead of the lead countries, South Korea and Finland, and was placed first in each of the categories of reading, maths and science - with skill in complex mathematics found to be more than eight times the OECD average:The province of Shanghai, China, took part for the first time and scored higher in reading than any country. It also topped the table in maths and science. More than one-quarter of Shanghais 15-year-olds demonstrated advanced mathematical thinking skills to solve complex problems, compared to an OECD average of just 3%.