European students are falling behind while those in the Far-East have gained ground, according to the most recent PISA Report, published on December 3. The study, which measures the abilities in reading, mathematics and science of students aged 15-16 years old is particularly severe regarding the Nordic countries and France. Replaced by South Korea, Finland has fallen from first place to sixth. It is no longer "the country of the marvels of education, "notes Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat. The paper says that, while the result

is not surprising, no one has yet been able to provide a plausible explanation. [...] The Finns have become used to believing in the excellence of teacher training in Finland and, especially, in the strength of the nine-year elementary school system.

In Denmark, the daily Jyllands-Posten is not to be outdone. "This is not enough," the paper says –

We have the most expensive public school system in the world, and no proof that we have the most stupid population in the world. There is thus no reason to expect that the most expensive schools would not therefore offer the best training and therefore the best trained population.

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Another Danish daily Berlingske says that "it is time that we, the western welfare states, profoundly revise our educational methods."

The PISA Report sent a shockwave throughout France, which fell by two places to a rank of 25th out of 65. Conservative French daily Le Figaro reports that the French educational system has become "unfair and inefficient".

The gap continues to grow between good and poor students [...]. We are still able to train future Nobel Prize winners in physics and medicine but we are also producing more dunces.

The paper points to Germany as an example. Criticised by PISA in 2001, it "reacted immediately" and it has since risen in the rankings.

The German educational system has thus become "more fair and the students have better results, reports German daily Der Spiegel :

A psychological blow is often accompanied by an moment of paralysis, followed by disorientation. [...] Assimilation comes after a while, then there is healing – the German educational system has reached this point. [...] It is time to replace the expression "PISA shockwave" with "PISA improvement".


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