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domingo, 13 de novembro de 2016

Do teenagers of the world know the same things?

There, over there in the world, there is something called PISA, Programme for International Student Assessment. From all the things they do, the most famous is a test they apply to students all over the world from the age of 15 to 16 to evaluate how their well selected minds are.

The last report is from 2012 and the next one will be out this year at the beginning of December.

The 2012 test had scores, one the knowledge in math, on for reading and one for scientific knowledge.

These are the results from 2012.

Mathematics Science Reading
1 China Shanghai, China 613
2  Singapore 573
3  Hong Kong, China 561
4  Taiwan 560
5  South Korea 554
6  Macau, China 538
7  Japan 536
8  Liechtenstein 535
9   Switzerland 531
10  Netherlands 523
11  Estonia 521
12  Finland 519
13=  Canada 518
13=  Poland 518
15  Belgium 515
16  Germany 514
17  Vietnam 511
18  Austria 506
19  Australia 504
20=  Ireland 501
20=  Slovenia 501
22=  Denmark 500
22=  New Zealand 500
24  Czech Republic 499
25  France 495
26  United Kingdom 494
27  Iceland 493
28  Latvia 491
29  Luxembourg 490
30  Norway 489
31  Portugal 487
32  Italy 485
33  Spain 484
34=  Russia 482
34=  Slovakia 482
36  United States 481
37  Lithuania 479
38  Sweden 478
39  Hungary 477
40  Croatia 471
41  Israel 466
42  Greece 453
43  Serbia 449
44  Turkey 448
45  Romania 445
46  Cyprus 440
47  Bulgaria 439
48  United Arab Emirates 434
49  Kazakhstan 432
50  Thailand 427
51  Chile 423
52  Malaysia 421
53  Mexico 413
54  Montenegro 410
55  Uruguay 409
56  Costa Rica 407
57  Albania 394
58  Brazil 391
59=  Argentina 388
59=  Tunisia 388
61  Jordan 386
62=  Colombia 376
62=  Qatar 376
64  Indonesia 375
65  Peru 368
1 China Shanghai, China 580
2  Hong Kong, China 555
3  Singapore 551
4  Japan 547
5  Finland 545
6  Estonia 541
7  South Korea 538
8  Vietnam 528
9  Poland 526
10=  Liechtenstein 525
10=  Canada 525
12  Germany 524
13  Taiwan 523
14=  Netherlands 522
14=  Ireland 522
16=  Macau, China 521
16=  Australia 521
18  New Zealand 516
19   Switzerland 515
20=  Slovenia 514
20=  United Kingdom 514
22  Czech Republic 508
23  Austria 506
24  Belgium 505
25  Latvia 502
26  France 499
27  Denmark 498
28  United States 497
29=  Spain 496
29=  Lithuania 496
31  Norway 495
32=  Italy 494
32=  Hungary 494
34=  Luxembourg 491
34=  Croatia 491
36  Portugal 489
37  Russia 486
38  Sweden 485
39  Iceland 478
40  Slovakia 471
41  Israel 470
42  Greece 467
43  Turkey 463
44  United Arab Emirates 448
45  Bulgaria 446
46=  Serbia 445
46=  Chile 445
48  Thailand 444
49  Romania 439
50  Cyprus 438
51  Costa Rica 429
52  Kazakhstan 425
53  Malaysia 420
54  Uruguay 416
55  Mexico 415
56  Montenegro 410
57  Jordan 409
58  Argentina 406
59  Brazil 405
60  Colombia 399
61  Tunisia 398
62  Albania 397
63  Qatar 384
64  Indonesia 382
65  Peru 373
1 China Shanghai, China 570
2  Hong Kong, China 545
3  Singapore 542
4  Japan 538
5  South Korea 536
6  Finland 524
7=  Taiwan 523
7=  Canada 523
7=  Ireland 523
10  Poland 518
11=  Liechtenstein 516
11=  Estonia 516
13=  Australia 512
13=  New Zealand 512
15  Netherlands 511
16=  Macau, China 509
16=   Switzerland 509
16=  Belgium 509
19=  Germany 508
19=  Vietnam 508
21  France 505
22  Norway 504
23  United Kingdom 499
24  United States 498
25  Denmark 496
26  Czech Republic 493
27=  Austria 490
27=  Italy 490
29  Latvia 489
30=  Luxembourg 488
30=  Portugal 488
30=  Spain 488
30=  Hungary 488
34  Israel 486
35  Croatia 485
36=  Iceland 483
36=  Sweden 483
38  Slovenia 481
39=  Lithuania 477
39=  Greece 477
41=  Russia 475
41=  Turkey 475
43  Slovakia 463
44  Cyprus 449
45  Serbia 446
46  United Arab Emirates 442
47=  Thailand 441
47=  Chile 441
47=  Costa Rica 441
50  Romania 438
51  Bulgaria 436
52  Mexico 424
53  Montenegro 422
54  Uruguay 411
55  Brazil 410
56  Tunisia 404
57  Colombia 403
58  Jordan 399
59  Malaysia 398
60=  Argentina 396
60=  Indonesia 396
62  Albania 394
63  Kazakhstan 393
64  Qatar 388
65  Peru 384

Looking to these results, two things came to my mind.

The first one is that China and South Korea over there at the first positions show that the tale of them being the countries of the future is not future, it is present, it is happening now. In a crude way, the results are showing that the most well educated minds of the future, of the world, are living and moving right now in these countries. Once this generation become the adults responsible to take care of their countries, the results will come.

The second thing that got my attention is the huge gap between the points from the countries on the bottom of the chart compared to those at the top. Even considering third world problems, if we look at the countries participating on the test and the fact that what is being evaluated is knowledge of small complexity (15-16 years old students, not university, not border of knowledge) I expected that this gap would be smaller.

I mean, look, this data suggests that students from countries of the middle of the chart know 25% more than students from the bottom. Likewise, students from countries from the top know almost 50% more. It is a scary difference.

Moreover, it is even scarier to think how hard it is to understand the impact and predict the effect we will have once this population with limited intelectual knowledge reaches adulthood and become responsible for their country.

I don't believe in the idea that the inteligente of a person os related to its ethnicity. If you travel around the world you will see, we have stupid and smart people in all countries, so what is the reason for the huge difference?

It is clear and logic how important a proper education is to a country, not only to make this country this an that on the future, but to the actual society. Without physicians, engineers, scientists, biologists, proof-readers, I don't know, the society may fail to be functional.

So, if is that so, if this importance is so clear, how come some countries don't work to achieve it? And I'm not even talking about reaching the top, but reducing this gap. What is missing? Is it just about money? Is it a government problem? Is it a conspiracy to buildup ignorant people that are easy to control and abuse? Who knows?

Well, since we need to conclude and is always best to conclude laughing: