education systems

The most effective education systems?

The teacher unions will have you believe that New Zealand’s education system is perfect and it is all because of them. We do have a good system but it needs to be better.

The Economist has an article about education systems and they conclude that Finland and South Korea have the most effective education systems.

Finland and South Korea boast the most effective education systems, an assessment of 50 countries has found.

When it comes to improving the performance of education systems, cultural attitudes may matter more than levels of spending. The education environments of Finland and South Korea – the two top performers in a new EIU index – have very different characteristics but share a moral imperative within the national culture that greatly values education.

The two also develop high-quality teachers and place enormous value on the accountability of schools, administrators and teachers.

The teacher unions would hate Finland’s model…because every teacher is required to have a masters level degree…the striving for excellence is anathema to the psyche of New Zealand teachers union bosses.

Pity the unions won’t let this happen here

The Telegraph

There are  new requirements being put in place in British schools for the teaching of arithmetic. Do we have similar, or higher, standards? And if not, why not? Could a B.Ed know enough to teach it?

Children will be introduced to times tables, mental arithmetic and fractions in the first two years of school as part of a back-to-basics overhaul of the National Curriculum.

Ministers will this week announce key tasks pupils are expected to master at each age under wide-ranging plans to counter more than a decade of dumbing down in schools.

A draft mathematics curriculum suggests that five and six year-olds will be expected to count up to 100, recognise basic fractions and memorise the results of simple sums by the end of the first year of compulsory education.

In the second year, they will be required to know the two, five and 10 times tables, add and subtract two-digit numbers in their head and begin to use graphs.

The proposals are intended to ensure that children are given a proper grounding in the basics at a young age to prepare them for the demands of secondary education and beyond.

It represents a dramatic toughening up of standards demanded in English state schools in a move designed to benchmark lessons against those found in the world’s most advanced education systems, such as Singapore, Hong Kong and parts of the United States.

At the age of nine, pupils should know all their times tables up to 12×12 and confidently work with numbers up to 10 million by the end of primary school, the Government said.

Currently, children only need to know up to 10×10 and familiarise themselves with numbers below 1,000 by the age of 11.

The disclosure is made as part of a sweeping overhaul of core subjects in primary schools, with the new curriculum expected to be introduced by 2014.