In a report based on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test of half a million 15-year-old students in 65 countries, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) warned Western countries of the prospect of losing their knowledge and skill base.
In contrast, several Asian countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore outperformed most other countries. China’s Shanghai took the PISA test for the first time and ranked first in all three areas: reading, mathematics and science (The Jakarta Post, Dec. 9, 2010). The Chinese government has been lauded for its investment in human capital.
It is ironic that just as PISA is highly regarded as a prestigious measure and the world is impressed by Shanghai’s achievement, insiders’ perspectives reveal skeptical and critical thoughts of the results.
One critical response came from Jiang Xueqin, a deputy principal of Peking University High School and director of the International Division. Mr. Jiang is concerned that the “high scores of Shanghai’s students are actually a sign of weakness”.