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International study shows resilience of Taiwan education system: MOE

12/06/2023 08:23 PM
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Junior high school students are pictured in face mask in a classroom at Taipei Municipal Datong High School on May 1, 2020. CNA file photo
Junior high school students are pictured in face mask in a classroom at Taipei Municipal Datong High School on May 1, 2020. CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) Taiwan was identified as one of only four countries and economies demonstrating "overall resilience" amid COVID-19 disruptions in the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Ministry of Education (MOE) said Tuesday.

Taiwan was one of only four countries and economies where the education system displayed overall resilience, along with Japan, Korea and Lithuania, according to the PISA report 2022.

This means the country maintained student well-being and math performance across all social groups, with 87 percent of Taiwanese students reporting a sense of belonging at school, which improved from 85 percent in 2018, according to the report.

PISA is a tri-annual Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) assessment that measures the knowledge of 15-year-olds. Originally planned to take place in 2021, the assessment was postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022 assessment, which focused on mathematics, reading and science, found that average world performance fell. The scores for math and reading dropped 17 and 11 points on average in OECD nations, while the score in science fell by 4 points.

Although this decline could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, PISA noted that performance trends had been falling before the pandemic, indicating other factors are also at play.

Taiwan, named "Chinese Taipei" in the PISA report, was one of the few countries and economies that bucked that trend, with scores and rankings in all three subjects moving upward.

The average Taiwanese student scored 547 in math, which is higher than the OECD average of 472 and ranks third among 81 participating regions; reading was scored at 515, higher than the OECD average of 476, ranking fifth overall; in science, the score of 537 is significantly higher than OECD average of 485, ranking fourth.

At the Tuesday press conference showcasing the PISA results, the MOE also noted that the performance gap between students from different socio-economic backgrounds has been slowly improving. As such, students from the poorest 20 percent of households scored an average of 471 in math, just under the OECD average of 472.

Peng Fu-yuan (彭富源), head of the ministry's K-12 Education Administration, said that digital learning, which received a big boost from the pandemic has helped close the gap between urban and rural areas.

The success of digital-based education can be attributed to its speedy adaptation by teachers on the frontline, Peng said, adding that the resilience of Taiwanese students in facing related challenges is highlighted by their exceptional performance.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Wu Kuan-hsien)

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