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Britain sends experts to China for raising maths teaching standards

English.news.cn   2014-02-19 03:59:02

LONDON, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Britain will sent experts to east China's Shanghai to learn the city's experience in maths teaching in an attempt to raise the teaching standards in maths, said the Department of Education (DOE) on Tuesday.

The trip is a part of the government's maths improvement program.

British Education Minister Elizabeth Truss is to lead a delegation of experts on a fact-finding mission to Shanghai's schools next week to see how children there have become the best in the world at maths.

Britain was last year placed 50th out of 148 countries and regions in the World Economic Forum's competitiveness ranking in quality of maths and science education.

Truss said that learning from Shanghai, and other far eastern jurisdictions, in how to teach maths was key to improving the country's competitiveness and productivity.

The British delegation is expected to visit three schools at primary and secondary level, and teacher training institutes in Shanghai to get a first-hand look at maths classes and teaching methods there.

The DOE said in a statement on the government website, "It is the latest step in the government's drive to raise standards in maths, looking at what has made jurisdictions in the far east the most successful in the world in teaching the subject, and matching that work."

Shanghai topped the 2012 international PISA tables for maths, while England was ranked in 26th place. The top five were all southeast Asian jurisdictions, with 15-year-olds in Shanghai judged to be three years ahead of their peers in maths.

The education department said: "England's performance in maths has stagnated while other countries have improved and overtaken us, including Poland and Germany."

"Shanghai is the top-performing part of the world for maths - their children are streets ahead. Shanghai and Singapore have teaching practices and a positive philosophy that make the difference. They have a belief that diligence redeems lack of ability," Truss said.

"Our new curriculum has borrowed from theirs because we know it works - early learning of key arithmetic, and a focus on times tables and long division, for instance."

"This visit represents a real opportunity for us to see at first hand the teaching methods that have enabled their young people to achieve so well in maths," she said.

She was determined to change the situation as performance in maths is weakening the country's skills base and threatening the productivity and growth.

An education and skills survey released by the Confderation of British Industry last year showed that 30 percent of employers reported dissatisfaction with the standard of school and college leavers' numeracy.

More than two-thirds of employers said they wanted both maths and science promoted more in schools.

The government is prioritizing maths because of the importance of good grades in the subject to young people competing for good jobs in a global labor market and to the economy more generally.

Last year, a group of heads and teachers from 46 schools in England went to Shanghai on a similar visit. During the coming visit to Shanghai, the group of experts will particularly be investigating how the performance of almost all children in Shanghai is high, irrespective of gender or income.

Editor: yan
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