Asian Countries Have the Best Schools

July 5, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. administer / ædˈmɪn ə stər / (v.) – to manage or be in charge of something
Example: The school will administer a career test for all students.

2. fare / fɛər / (v.) – to perform
Example: The student fared well in the exam.

3. dedication / ˌdɛd ɪˈkeɪ ʃən / (n.) – commitment to someone or something
Example: I admire your dedication to teaching.

4. investment / ɪnˈvɛst mənt / (n.) – the act of giving time, money, or effort in order to get something in return
Example: Quality education is a good investment. 

5. mentor / ˈmɛn tɔr / (n.) – someone who gives advice to a person with less experience
Example: My teacher eventually became my mentor


Read the text below.
Asian countries topped the recent world ranking of school performance for math and science.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) administered the said ranking based on the scores of 15-year old students in mathematics and science tests. According to OECD director Andreas Schleicher [SHLAHY-ker], the ranking sought to determine how each country fares when it comes to education as compared with the leading countries. The ranking also identified the countries’ educational strengths and weaknesses, as well as how quality education affects their economy.

Out of 76 countries, Singapore ranked number one as it got the highest test scores. Hong Kong landed in second place, South Korea in third, Japan in fourth, and Taiwan in fifth place. Among the countries that ranked sixth to tenth are Finland, Estonia, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Canada. Outperformed by Asian and European countries, the United States ranked 28th. The United Kingdom ranked higher, landing in the 20th place.

Countries at the bottom of the ranking include Colombia, Qatar, Indonesia, Botswana, Peru, Oman, Morocco, Honduras, South Africa, and Ghana.

According to Schleicher, the Asian countries’ Confucian dedication to education may have something to do with this success. However, a bigger part of this success resulted from the countries’ investment in their teachers. In Singapore, for example, teachers are provided with mentors, training, competitive compensation, and performance bonuses.

Pearson Education also reported that compared with US teachers, Asian teachers spend more time preparing their lessons and tutoring students.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are your thoughts about Asian countries being on top of the ranking?
·         Why do you think some of the big Western countries are not on top of the ranking?

Discussion B

·         What do you think makes a good school?
·         How can we ensure quality education?

July 5, 2015