The highly anticipated results of the 2012 PISA survey of education systems around the world were released today by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The PISA exam, which tests the proficiency of half a million 15-year-olds in 65 nations and economies across the globe, assesses what and how students are learning and what it takes to build a school system in which the majority of students are high-performing.
Across the Teach For All network, our hearts and thoughts are with the citizens of the Philippines as the country works to recover from the devastation caused by typhoon and earthquake Haiyan. Teach For the Philippines’s first cohort of Fellows began teaching in schools in Manila in April of this year. The impact of this disaster has been felt throughout the country, and we are grateful to the staff at Teach For the Philippines for sharing the following message with us:
Photo: Noah Sheldon for Teach for All
Mr. Huang became principal of Qiao Tou Lian He school at the age of 25, not because he was specifically trained for the post, but because he had been the only educated person in his village. He’s a dynamic leader who is squarely focused on supporting, developing and evaluating his teachers, of whom only a handful have a high school degree and more than basic teacher training.
The first thing I notice is that, in this neighbourhood of simple houses and farmlands, it is the school, not a shopping centre, that is the cleanest and most impressive building in the area. The Qiao Tou Lian He primary school can afford only 29 staff to look after the 714 children who attend. Most of the children stay for the full school-week as they have to walk for several hours to reach their homes. So the school has become their family, albeit one where the children have to assume an incredible amount of individual and social responsibility, with very limited support from adults.
I teach in Samokov, Bulgaria, a beautiful little mountain town with a population of 30,000. The community is small and the people in town are very open and welcoming. I believed that teaching interesting topics affecting every citizen—such as "What are my rights?" and “What is freedom?”—would intrigue students and motivate them to grow as responsible, democratic citizens.
I was wrong.