Thai kids fare a bit better in global test

national December 05, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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But Chaturon hails improvement in PISA scores as sign of progress

THAI CHILDREN have fared better this year in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), but are still below the international average. 
By country, Thailand ranked 50th among the 65 nations participating in PISA 2012.
PISA, a triennial international survey, evaluates education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. 
In PISA 2012, Thai children scored 444 in science, 441 in reading and 427 in mathematics. 
The averages for PISA in those fields stood at 501, 496 and 494 respectively. 
Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, however, heralded the latest PISA results as an upward sign for Thai education’s quality. 
“There’s a clear improvement,” he said. 
In PISA 2009and PISA 2009+ (the Programme for International Students Assessment), Thai students’ average scores were 421 in reading, 425 in science and 419 in mathematics. 
Thailand first joined the PISA in 2000. The Thai children’s scores in PISA 2003 and PISA 2006, however, were lower than the scores from the first time. By PISA 2009, however, the drop in Thai children’s scores had hit bottom. 
Now, the 2012 PISA shows Thai children’s scores are up. 
The Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) said Thai students from demonstration schools and the Princess Chulabhorn’s College schools had acquired good scores in the PISA 2012, reflecting that some Thai schools provided good quality education. 
“This means we only have to extend such quality to all other schools,” an IPST official said. 
Dr Sunee Klainin, the manager of the PISA Thailand Project, reckoned that students from demonstration schools and the Princess Chulabhorn’s College schools were in the Top Performance range. 
“But their scores, on the overall, are lower than before,” she said, expressing her concern. 
She has detected a good sign in schools that have increased their educational services to higher levels to allow local children to further their education at the same place. 
“The scores of students from these schools have jumped significantly,” Sunee said.
The latest PISA results have served as a strong reminder that Thailand’s education system still seriously needs much improvement, she said. 
Half of Thai students, according to the PISA 2012, have less than minimum mathematics knowledge. About 33 and 34 per cent of Thai students have also failed to pass the minimum requirement in reading and science. 
“We are still far from academic excellence,” she said. 
Sunee pointed out that Vietnamese children scored better than Thai children in PISA 2012, even though Vietnam participated in the international test for the first time. 
In the PISA 2012, Vietnam ranked 17th. 
Singapore was among the top 10 participating nations.


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