The overcoming

Blame everyone else
As it takes time to note the changes of education reform, ministers can boast about anything that succeeds and blame everything else on the previous administration.

Is better
There seems to be no escape in the relentless geography of education classifications.
Singapore is now in first place, followed by South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan. Shanghai has been a great contender, but the PISA tests this time incorporated the city to other parts of China. And add to Taiwan, Macao and Vietnam to this list.

Short-term world
It may take 10 years before changes in an education system mark any positive difference in the world rankings.
That is not a great incentive for the fleeting life of the ministerial office.
But the big message of the global ranking is that what is needed is consistency and continuity.

The best
It is difficult to separate educational systems from the politics and culture in which they are developed.
As much as everyone likes to talk about “innovation”, there are a lot of pressures against change.
But many high-performing countries have no problem in appropriating the best ideas from other countries and incorporating them into their own schools.

But many high-performing countries have no problem in appropriating the best ideas from other countries and incorporating them into their own schools.
It is done
To put it diplomatically, the expectation of many of the most successful countries is that people do what they are told.
A conformist and focused culture, a sense of collective purpose or even a one-party state of the traditional are often the best-performing elements. But there are exceptions: the Finns achieve a high performance with a strong sense of liberal independence.

Not in assuming that only a few will achieve it.
The education scorecards are based on the proportion of young people who reach some benchmark of ability.
The winners will be those who assume that everyone must cross the finish line, including the poorest, which is a distinctive feature of Asia’s leading systems.
Your best teachers are dedicated to the weakest students to ensure that everyone has a basic level.

On the contrary, the West tends to approach education as a horse race, with the expectation that very few of the steeds that begin the race will reach the goal. And the classifications reflect that fundamental difference.

There is a phenomenon in education called “the curse of resources,” because economies based on natural wealth — such as those dependent on their vast oil reserves — tend to underperform in education. Much of the Middle East is given as an example.
How can you motivate someone who hopes to be rich no matter how well you do on the exams?
By contrast, small countries with few resources have had to learn quickly how to live from their wits. Sixty years ago, South Korea had one of the worst illiteracy rates in the world; Now many of us spend watching their TVs.

Another surprising feature of the major countries in education is how many have to compete with a much larger neighbor.
In the success stories of Europe in recent years — Finland, Poland and Estonia — all had to leave the shadow of the former Soviet bloc. South Korea and Hong Kong are against mainland China. Singapore is a small state city surrounded by large neighbors with much larger populations.

It all depends on the teachers. And point.
The education guru of the OECD Andreas Schleicher has a slogan: “No system of education can be better than the quality of its teachers”.
And the TIMSS classification of last week carried the same message: success is inextricably linked to the supply of good quality teachers.
Whatever media statements the Ministers of Education deploy, everything is reduced to investing in teachers.

Young help
While it is true that those of the select circle of winners are ancient cultures, a curious feature is how many are relatively new as nation-states or have recently reconstituted borders.

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