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PISA: China tops. India has fled the race

Global news, Primary Education, Secondary Education

The Economics Times

04-12-2013

PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) scores are just in. China is on top. Asian countries dominate from China to South Korea, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Macau. The US lags. The UK does slightly better. Scandinavian countries, on top for a long time, have been slipping.

So where is India? No where. In 2009 study, India ranked 73 out of 74 nations. So to avoid embarrassment, the Indian government decided that it will not participate in the latest study. Weirdly, the Indian government has cited the disconnect between the testing parameters and what our children are taught in school as the reason not to participate.

PISA is a global study conducted by OECD every three years to assess 15-year olds on their performance in maths, science and reading. The data hs increasingly been used to assess the quality of education and its impact on incomes across nations.

Assessing the results, four important things emerge. One, some of the great powers of the 20th century – US, UK, France, Russia – do not get top rankings. Two, Asia by and large is doing well – but don’t talk of India. Three, new emerging countries in South America like Brazil, East European countries like Estonia, Poland, Vietnam are improving their scores. Four, Scandinavian countries like Finland, once known for their education system, have been slipping.

PISA scores will push governments in different countries to introspect where they have gone wrong with their education system and how they can get better.

But in India – a nation with one of the youngest population in the world – the government must first learn to acknowledge that we have a problem. Fleeing the study serves no purpose.

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