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...
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now'
4Chan 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to be published
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
£110 - £135 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Outstan...
£110 - £145 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are rec...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 primary supply teacher ne...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Qualified Teachers needed for Supply in t...