Headline, February02, 2014



In 2012 fully 500,000 heads were bent over desks for the exams in 65 countries or cities:

The results, published on Dec 3rd, doled out a large helping of humble pie to Europe's former champion. Finland has fallen by 22 points on its 2009 result, with smaller falls  -12 points and 9 in reading and science-

''The golden days are over.'' lamented the Finnbay news website.

When the first programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests to focus on  maths   results were published a decade ago. Finland's blue-cross flag fluttered near the top of the rankings.

Its pupil excelled at numeracy, and topped the table in science and reading. Education reformers found the prospect of non-selective, high-achieving and low stress education bewitching.

None of this should have come as a surprise. Finland's maths performance has been tailing since 2006. But it is worsening faster than in other countries with falling scores such as Canada and Denmark.

The Asian  high-fliers   '''!!! Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore!!!''' have consolidated their position  at the top. Much soul-searching is under way in Helsinki.

Leena Krokfors, an academic there, blames declining motivation and a failure of maths teachers and the curriculum to inspire enthusiasm. 

Others are beginning to wonder whether the egalitarian nature of Finnish education might be an underlying problem.

Juha Yia-Jaaski,  who runs a technology project to stretch the academically able, worries that a focus on raising the achievement of the majority of pupils shortchanges the cleverest.

The country is   ''kidding itself'', Ms Jaaska says, if it thinks they can catch up at University.

As Finns argue about how to retain their pre-eminence, many other countries in the West still envy it   -as well as the progress of rapid improvers such as Estonia and Poland.

France and Germany, in contrast have flatlined. America's dire showing led Arne Duncan, the education secretary, to decry   ''a picture of educational stagnation'':

With Americans being   ''out-educated''  by the Chinese. Some hope for a motivating shock like that delivered in  1957  by the Soviet Sputnik launch. 

Back at the host world, just read and share,  what the ACER report says about Pakistan's ''lifeline province'',   Sindh:

The learning indicators of students in Sindh are even low than their counterparts in Federally Administered Tribal Areas. which shows that its   27.9%   of students can read English sentences and  29.3%  and 37.4% children:

 Are unable to solve: Two-digit subtraction and division questions.

Besides appalling learning levels,  some 29.1%  6-16 years of age children in Sindh are also    out-of-school   including  6.6% dropped out showing a little improvement from last year's  32%  out of school children.

What would the world at large conclude from this survey? Maybe we all have discovered a very very very New Way to Play An Old Song.

The honour, and  the splendour of the Post continues:
With respectful dedication to  '''Apple's Jedi Master''' : Jonathan Ive. See Ya on !WOW! the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' The World Students Conscience '''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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