Chalk Talk: Impressive results in the Far East - a 'shadow' over plans to improve our schools?
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 05 February 2014
The vogue is to marvel at the achievements of Far Eastern education systems such as South Korea, Japan and Shanghai in China. After all, they performed far better than us in the international Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests in literacy and numeracy so we should be able to learn something from them.
Perhaps, though, a note of caution should be sounded before our education leaders stampede to the airports. A blog posted by a Japan-based educationalist on the website of Schools Improvement Net, dedicated to sharing ideas about improving school standards, gives another explanation.
It seems, according to education writer, Manabu Watanbe, that the impressive results in the Far East may not be down to the performance of schools.
He cites research which shows that in China 73.8 per cent of primary school students received "shadow education", ie, supplementary schools or private tutors. A similar picture emerges in Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.
Watanbe argues that shadow education is best developed in Japan where about 50,000 "juku" companies have set up, offering distance learning to pupils out of school.
Step off the plane, then. Go to Finland, another high performer, instead?
The vagaries of testing very young children emerged at a conference last week about the Government's new curriculum for primary schools. It is very likely children will undergo "baseline assessment" – testing when they start school so their progress can be measured at the national curriculum tests at 11.
According to Jan Dubiel, from Early Excellence and one of the guest speakers at the conference: "If it is very young children [who are tested], you're not going to get meaningful data." The conference, organised by Westminster Education Forum, was told of one group of children who, when tested on a Monday, were considered "gifted and talented" but, by Friday, registered as "special needs". The answer seems obvious: test them on a Wednesday...
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Boxing Day snowfall could push even more bargain-hunters online for Christmas sales
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
- 1 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Vagina canoe artist facing two years in jail defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Operating throughout London and...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...