Nunca aconteceu mas este ano vai ser diferente: passar o ano ao som das 12 badaladas do big ben, live…
sexta-feira, 17 de dezembro de 2010
E meio ano se passou. Uns dias já mais fáceis mas outros, numa árdua compensação, são terríveis: são os tais dias de inquietações, stress, saídas com copos e outras situações afins. Mas continuo a aguentar-me.
Parece-me que vou agora terminar ou espaçar mais esta série do “iPhoda.se”; talvez daqui a 3 meses volte, não sei, para contar que, até então, continuei a não ter qualquer recaída.
segunda-feira, 13 de dezembro de 2010
Ao ler um artigo na Time, recordei, de imediato, um livro que li e que conheceu a sua primeira edição em 1976 e que foi então bastante divulgado. Falava de um futuro próximo em que a China iria “invadir” o mundo através do seu comércio e afins, passando a afirmar-se como potência dominante. Esse livro chamava-se, em português, “Quando a China despertar”. O autor foi Alain Peyrefitte, um então embaixador francês na China.
Todos sabemos que esse futuro aí está a bater-nos à porta. Com a ajuda de todo o mundo dito civilizado que, numa ganância cega de obter custos de produção mais baixos, acabaram por dar o ouro ao bandido através da transferência de uma riqueza sem preço: o seu know how.
E isto vem a propósito de quê?
Li hoje um artigo na Time que falava da publicação dos resultados de 2009 de uma avalição a nível mundial, que se realiza em cada 3 anos, na área de Educação em estudantes com idades de 15 anos. Este estudo foi feito pela OCDE através do programa PISA – Programme for International Student Assessment.
O resultado foi demolidor. A China ultrapassou tudo e todos. Só mostra o quanto estão certos no caminho que têm estado, silenciosamente, a seguir: Educação. Um caminho cujos resultados só aparecem bem mais tarde mas de uma forma arrasadora…
Aqui vai o artigo que, embora longo, merece ser lido com calma e toda a atenção:
China Beats Out Finland for Top Marks in Education
The rise of China as an economic and political juggernaut has become a familiar refrain, but now there's another area in which the Chinese are suddenly emerging as a world power: education.
In the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) comparative survey of the academic performance of 15-year-olds around the world — an authoritative study released every three years — Chinese teenagers from Shanghai far outscored their international peers in all three subject matters that were tested last year: reading, math and science.(See pictures of Shanghai's World Expo 2010.)
In reading, the main focus of the PISA survey, more than 19% of the Shanghai students attained the top two grades, almost double the proportion in the U.S. and nearly three times the average of major developed countries. At the bottom end, just over 4% of the Shanghai students failed to make the grade that is considered the baseline for reading literacy. Elsewhere, on average, four times as many students struggled below that level.
This is the first time that China has participated in the PISA tests, and the results are especially stunning because they are so unexpected; only a generation ago, the Chinese school system was ravaged by the Cultural Revolution. But as the tests showed, education in China has been spectacularly rebuilt as a modern, high-performance and egalitarian system, at least in some cities.(See pictures of a Mandarin school in Minneapolis.)
Even Finland and Korea, two countries that in recent years have been at the pinnacle of international education, were left in the dust with average scores that were considerably behind those of the Shanghai teenagers. And the stunning performance was confirmed by the results of Chinese students in Hong Kong, who came second in math and science and ranked fourth in reading.
Some nations that have put in place school reforms in the past decade, including Germany and Poland, did show improvement in the survey. But the U.S. and France, among others, had at best mediocre results that were lower than their reading scores in 2000, the first year of the PISA survey. Conducted by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the PISA study tested teenagers in 34 OECD nationals and 31 others in 2009.
Even without the startling Chinese scores, the latest findings upend some traditional notions about education and should give pause for thought to policymakers everywhere. One surprise is the suggestion that there's little difference in the performance of students from private schools and those from public schools, once socioeconomic differences have been factored out. Another is that paying teachers well is a more effective tool for improving school performance than small class sizes. The survey also raises doubts about the overall effectiveness of aggressive competition between schools. It found that this could trap the most disadvantaged students in the least successful schools, thereby exacerbating social inequality and negatively impacting a nation's overall performance.(See TIME's special report on what makes a school great.)
When it comes to reading skills, rather more predictably, the survey confirmed that girls almost everywhere read significantly better than boys, unlike in math and science, where the tendency is reversed. It also demonstrated conclusively that adolescents who enjoy reading and curl up with a novel for 30 minutes a day score better than those who don't, or who read only comic books.
But the big revelation was the spectacular performance of Asian nations, especially those adolescents from China whose reading comprehension was tested. Four of the top five reading performers in the survey were Asian, with Singapore and Korea joining Shanghai and Hong Kong at the head of the class.
Among non-Asian countries, only Finland kept up at the very top, although Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands were not far behind. Japan also ranked in the top 10.
In mathematics, the Chinese results were just as spectacular as in reading: more than 1 in 4 of the Shanghai 15-year-olds showed themselves able to conceptualize, generalize and creatively use information, including modeling complex problems, compared with just 3% of students in the OECD area.(Comment on this story.)
Two Chinese cities, of course, don't constitute the academic performance of an entire nation of more than 1 billion people. But in a policy-implications brief for Arne Duncan, the U.S. Education Secretary, the OECD tried to explain why Shanghai and Hong Kong had such high-performing schools.
Among the lessons to be learned was that authorities in both cities abandoned their focus on educating a small elite, and instead worked to construct a more inclusive system. They also significantly increased teacher pay and training, reducing the emphasis on rote learning and focusing classroom activities on problem solving. In Shanghai, now a pioneer of educational reform, "there has been a sea change in pedagogy," the OECD said. It pointed out that one new slogan used in classrooms today is: "To every question there should be more than a single answer."(See pictures of Chinese workers.)
"The stunning success of Shanghai-China, which tops every league table in this assessment by a clear margin, shows what can be achieved with moderate economic resources and in a diverse social context," said OECD secretary general Angel Gurria in the report. The big question now is whether the Shanghai and Hong Kong results can be repeated across China as it emerges as a superpower.