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Home arrow newsitems arrow OECD Education Head Schleicher to EF: Global Stagnation on Science Students Performance may Hide Gap

OECD Education Head Schleicher to EF: Global Stagnation on Science Students Performance may Hide Gap

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 06 December 2016

 oecd_pisa_2015_400

*Strasbourg/OECD Webinar/Angelo Marcopolo/- A Global tendency to augment a Gap in Students' Performance in Science, (from 15 years old), appears during the latest Decade or so, even if it's mainly driven by a Deceleration of former Middle-level areas, as OECD's Directior of Education, Andreas Schleicher acknowleded in fact, in Reply to an "Eurofora" Question, during a special Webinar Q & A Internet Exchange where we had been Invited to actively participate, on this 6 December 2016 Day of Publication of the latest, 2015-made, International Student Assessment Program (known as "PISA") Conclusions for 72 Countries Worldwide.

 

oecd_pisa__overall_global_trend_andreas_schloecher__eurofora_screenshot_400 


All in all, with Singapoor as First on 2015, China ranks Today always far Above OECD Average, among the Top Countries Worldwide, near Japan, Viet-Nam, Korea and Canada, followed by Australia (at the Pacific Ocean), as well as Finland, Estonia and Slovenia, Before Germany and Switzerland, etc., (i.e. Middle European Countries, between East and West), etc.

 

oecd_science_edu_angel_gurias_ranking_400

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- "Eurofora"'s asked whether OECD found that "a Lack of Global Progress in PISA (between the Previous Assessment of 2006, and the Latest, New one, of 2015 : i.e. after almost a Decade) might, in fact, Hide a Growing Gap", (among Countries, and/or other Areas, Schools, Students, etc), "or not". 

agg_at_oecd_webinar__eurofora_400

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 - "Not Necessarily", reacted initialy, but after Careful Thought, OECD's Director of Education, and Special Advisor of OECD's Secretary General, Angel Guria, Andreas Schleicher, However, withOut Excluding that it might be, indeed, the case, in one way or another...


 - "I think that What we (OECD) did see, is that there are some Countries, at the very Top", ("Singapoor is the most prominent example", together with Macao, in China, etc), which  Keep Rising", he admitted.


 - "Meanwhile, there are Countries at the Bottom keep Catching up", Schleicher added.


 - "But, there are still Countries in the Middle Group, that have become somewhat Complacent", ("in other words, they are not changing significantly") ,"and there has been a Lack of Progress in sort of Moving Forward", he concluded.

 

oecd_education_chief_schleicher__eurofora_400

 



+ In fact, it's no more about a simple Divide between Rich and well Educated Countries, and Poor and Less Educated Countries, since several Middle or Developing Countries are currently Catching up, i.e. by investing comparatively more in Education than elsewhere, (f.ex. Perou, Colombia, etc), Schleicher observed earlier.


+ To this is added, often, also "a Huge Viarability inside Schools, between Classes", etc, OECD's Education Director pointed out.


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- As far as the overall, Global situation is concerned, indeed, Worldwide, "Since 2006, Less than 1 Quarter (1/4, 25%) of the Countries are Improving their Performance", denounced previously Today, OECD's Secretary General, Angel Guria, speaking from London, at a Parallel event, for this same purpose.

 

oecd_sg_angel_guria_on_appartheid_in_science_educ_400

 


+ This doesn't seem normal, and may provoke concern, also  "Because", at the Same Time, "Science itself is Moving at Lighting Speed", (from "Digital", Physics, Biology, to "Medicine", etc), he observed.


"But the Education of Science", at a Global level, has not moved at the Same Speed", i.e. "Science Education isn't Keeping up", (particularly compared to "Science itself"), and, "this Means, that a Cumulative Debt is created, and Every Day adds to it", Guria Warned.


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In Real Practice, however, Certain Schools might be Performing much Better than Others, in one a same Country, during this period :


- F.ex., France gets an "Average" OECD overall Assessment in PISA, while, in Fact, "a Minority" of French Schools are "performint at very High Levels, compared to the Best Performing Countries", , but "a sizeable Number of Other Schools and Students have a very Low Performance", pointed out in substance PISA-competent OECD Analyst, Carlos González-Sancho, who holds a PhD from Oxford. France is one of the OECD Countries most affected by "Wide Disparities", but "Not Alone", he warned.

Concerning China, another Participant asked whether there was a "Fall in China's results", since, "when Shanghai had participated as a Municipality, in 2012, it was No 1 (of OECD) in all domains", while, "Now", when "3 other Provinces have been added", the "overall Performance (apparently) has Fallen". "Is this a Statisticlly Significant Drop, and What Explains it ?", he queried.  


 - "In this case, I doN't think that we can speak of a Drop, or Increase", compared to the Past, "Simply, Because it's Not Comparable", denied the PISA-specialist OECD Official.
Indeed, "Shanghai's Performance, as a Single Entity, in the Past, and what we (OECD) have this year, which is the Group of 4 Provinces, we canNot say that it has Droped, or gone Up, ...because they are Not the Same Entities".


=> Only "in the Future, if China chooses to Continue with the Current Format of Participation, we (OECD) could speak of a Trend". But, "for the moment, it's Not yet the case, and we canNot speak of a Trend" currently, he Carefuly pointed out. 

                                               
*** Last, but not least, OECD's PISA Specialist, significantly Added, at his own Initiative, the Hypothesis for Shanghai, (which notoriously was No 1 in the World on 2012), to have not "droped, as some (surprized of that 2015 Data's Differend Presentation) questioned,  but, perhaps, rather, "Gone (Further) Up",... as he Warned, in Conclusion.


I.e., mutatis-mutandis, according to a quite Widespread Trend, nowadays Visible almost entirely, at a Global Level, at least as far as Science Education is concerned, (Comp. also Supra).


>>> In other words, it's Urgent, both for China itself, and for the accuracy of OECD's World-wide Assessment on Student's Performances, to clearly Bring Shanghai back in the Map in a Crystal-clear way, f.ex. by including that City in the Next PISA for the 2016-2019 Period (which is just Starting Nowadays), in a Format Comparable (to the Past and/or to the Present) :


-  I.e. if not also as a City, (as in the 2012 Past), at least anew as a Part of a Group of Chinese Regions SImilar to the current 4 (of this 2015 PISA), in order for the Paris-based International Organisation to be Able to Compare in the Future (2012-2018 or 2015-2018 periods), analyse various Possible Causes, and propose Adequate Mesures.


Otherwise, its recent Merger with 3 Other Regions, in the latest such Query made by the International Organisation based in France (Paris), risks to give False Impressions, as far as overall Trends are concerned.

---


Meanwhile, at least one Central Point is for Sure : Main Factors for Science Education Performance amelioration Worldwide are "Students' Motivation", as well as "Quality of Teaching", more Widely speaking, as OECD's Education Director, Andreas Schleicher, highlighted, in conclusion of this almost 10 Years-long OECD Comparison in that field (2006-2015) Today.

 

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Strasbourg hosts OECD's main Annual PanEUropean Parliamentarian Public Debates Forum, thanks to CoE's Assembly, which has 47 Member Countries (including Russia), and several More Observers or other Special status participants accross the World, (as, f.ex. USA, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Tunisia, even Australia, etc, recently approached also by China, which has already got such a Status in CoE's body for Cities + Regions : CLRAE, etc), Regularly visited, very actively, by OECD's Secretary General Angel Gurria himself, during Many Years, (Comp., f.ex., several Angel Gurria statements to "Eurofora"+, both in Paris' OECD Headquarters and elsewhere, but more often in Strasbourg's COE HQ).

 

(../..)


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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
-------------
The precise Text :
-----------------
    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

----------------------------------

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

-----------------------------------   

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
***

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