Monthly Archives: May 2015

Is Redirecting Focus Towards STEM Subjects a Good Thing?

Posted on May 26, 2015 at 10:09 am

As part of an austerity platform which has generally meant shrinking budgets committed for education in many countries, many education systems have had to redirect and re-prioritise their budgets away from arts and other courses which have no clear economic requirement and towards STEM subjects; Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.

If you take the UK as an example, a lot of money and investment has been refocussed upon improving STEM subjects, but as a consequence other subjects such as humanities and arts have lost some of their investment.

While focussing on STEM subjects is likely to mean that the country will be able to satisfy demand for highly skilled workers, there are potentially negative consequences regarding failure in providing a well rounded education. A well rounded education is often a result of offering a liberal education, and when you compare a liberal education (for instance like what is offered in the USA’s education system) and non-liberal education (like the UK), we see that many students feel greater levels of satisfaction with liberal educations, although they do have to pay more for them.

It can also be said that it is a good thing for everybody to have a basic understanding of issues and some degree of mastery of a wider range of skills and subjects rather than a high level ability in a singular skill.

Posted in Education Practices

Recent OECD Publication on Rankings of Education Systems

Posted on May 13, 2015 at 10:09 am

The OECD is an international economic think tank which regularly publishes a list rankings countries by how effective their schooling is at achieving results for their students. Just recently they’ve come out with a new list containing their findings (based upon achievements solely in maths and sciences), with the top twelve as follows:

  1. Singapore
  2. Hong Kong
  3. South Korea
  4. Japan
  5. Taiwan
  6. Kinland
  7. Estonia
  8. Switzerland
  9. Netherlands
  10. Canada
  11. Poland
  12. Vietnam

They study the quality of education and its links to economic growth, and have also constructed another interesting list for countries of how much economic growth could be expected by achieving basic levels of education for all 15 year olds. The list is as follows:

  1. Ghana – 3881%
  2. South Africa – 2624%
  3. Honduras – 2016%
  4. Morocco – 1951%
  5. Oman – 1427%
  6. Botswana – 1303%
  7. Macedonia – 1137%
  8. Peru – 1076%
  9. Qatar – 1029%
  10. Saudi Arabia – 975%
  11. Albania – 929%
  12. Colombia – 910%

Other notable countries who didn’t make the top 12 include the UK at rank 20 and the USA at rank 28.

Posted in News