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The students in the USA are deteriorating in math, in Dr. Korea they are mastering the sciences

The results of the international PISA tests, published yesterday, left Israel out. Not because the local students are that bad - they just didn't participate in the exams. Since the previous test, which took place around the world in 2000, was held in Israel two years late, this time the Ministry of Education preferred to forgo the honor of participating in Pizza 2003. This time, Israel can relax in the stands and examine the achievements of 30th grade students in the world without the shame associated with being ranked in the 41 XNUMX out of XNUMX countries - along with Latin American countries, Bulgaria and Albania - as happened in the previous tests.

This time the USA is wading in the lower league. The powerhouse, which for more than a decade has been leading an educational reform whose slogan is "no child will be left behind", has deteriorated from 19th place in mathematics to 28th place, between Latvia and Russia. About a quarter of the American examinees were rated as having only minimal ability in mathematics, below the lowest level defined by the exams.

On the other hand, Hong Kong and Finland are at the top of the list again this time - as in the PISA 2000 tests, which focused on reading. The main part of the test this time was devoted to mathematics, and other parts dealt with reading and science. In mathematics, students from Hong Kong led, followed by students from Finland; The Finns led the way in reading; And in the sciences, South Korea, Finland and Hong Kong were ranked first. The opening ten also include the Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Japan, Canada, Belgium, Macau (China) and Switzerland (see graph).

The team on behalf of the member countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), which conducted the tests among approximately 250 students worldwide, states in its announcement that most of the countries that reached the top places are established countries. Also, in most of the European countries that reached the top ten, a welfare policy is followed. In all the countries that participated in the tests, it turned out, the achievements of children of parents who are more wealthy, and who grew up in homes with books, music, plastic arts, etc., were significantly higher than their peers. Prof. Zamira Mbarech from Bar Ilan University - who, together with Dr. Bracha Kramersky, was responsible for the PISA tests that took place in Israel about two years ago - adds that the countries that are at the top of the table, for example Finland and the Netherlands, are also the countries where the gaps in education were the lowest.

Israel, on the other hand, ranked first in the previous PISA tests when it comes to educational gaps between students. In Israel, the strong connection between the socio-economic status of the students and their achievements stood out, and the differences between the schools were evident. "In Israel, a student can say who his parents are and what school he attended, and according to that he can be placed, with a great degree of certainty, in the achievement list," says Mabarech. "Countries like the Netherlands, where the disparities are among the lowest and are among the outstanding countries, should serve as a model for us." A speaking committee, established following the failure in the international tests, was supposed to take this into account.

In the meantime, the captains of the education system in Israel have only a few days to breathe easy: next week they will be forced to abandon the stands and move to the heart of the arena, with the publication of the results of other international tests, the TIMSS. These tests - which test the proficiency of eighth grade students in math and science - were held in Israel for the last time in 1999; Then local students were ranked 26th in science and 28th in math out of 38 countries. The tension in the education system before the publication of the results this time is great, but the estimates are that Israel's situation will improve. In any case, the road to the top of the table is still far.

The equator - school days


After a year that seemed like an eternity, hundreds of thousands of high school students and teachers are leaving for the long-awaited summer vacation. Israeli children attend school 215 days a year, more than in most countries of the world. The gap between American and Chinese education manifests itself, in part, during the school year: every year the Chinese attend the overcrowded classrooms 71 days longer than their peers in the United States.

Masses of students and teachers will also go on vacation in Belgium, Greece, Portugal and Scotland at the end of the month. In Iceland, on the other hand, people are already getting bored of the vacation that started at the end of May. In the Netherlands, Finland and Slovakia will be forced to stare at another month's calendar.

Every British student is allowed to be absent from class like that for just ten days a year. However, the Minister of Education recently warned parents that those who abuse this and take their children on vacation during school will be fined 100 pounds.

One million and 700 thousand Israeli students in 3,883 educational institutions are advised to enjoy every moment of the holiday. When they grow up and become employees, they will have to make do with ten paid vacation days a year. Even after working for nine years in the same place, their quota will not exceed 23 days. In this matter (as in many others) one can envy the Finns, that even the starting workers among them are entitled to a month's annual vacation. In Mexico, on the other hand, workers rest from their work only six days a year.

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