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Canada constantly ranks 4th globally in Science education: reports
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Toronto, Dec. 10 (IBNS): The latest survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISAA) ranks Canada fourth internationally in Science, maths and reading.

The international programme of OECD measures the performance of 15-year-old high school students in Science, Maths and reading, every three years. Canada bagged the overall fourth position in Science, in a tie with Finland, and behind Singapore, Japan and Estonia.

The education evaluation of 72 countries, released on Tuesday, revealed Canadian students’ strong grasp of science literacy. But experts say educators and governments should strive that students apply this interest to their careers.

“There’s a greater awareness of the importance of science in the country’s future,” said Bonnie Schmidt, president of Let’s Talk Science, a non-profit organization that promotes learning in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“Collectively as a country, we have to do a better job of showing where the opportunities are, helping young people and parents connect the dots to what they’re learning in school and what it means for future work and citizenship opportunities.”

Test results also revealed that Canada’s performance had not changed much since 2006, when the country had ranked third.

Experts said The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) should probe into the present lack of improvement.

“Provinces and territories take these tests very, very seriously,” said Doug Currie, Prince Edward Island’s Minister of Education and CMEC chair, in a talk with the Globe and Mail. “Canada continues to prove and to back up that we’re certainly a global leader.”

The test scores of students had not changed much in all the provinces, excepting Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where the average score dropped by about 20 points.

The study pointed out that among 20,000 Canadian students who wrote the two-hour computer-based assessment in April and May, 2015 boys and girls did not differ in their achievement of scores.

Science scores of 2015 PISA test came three years after Canada dropped out of the top 10 in international math education rankings.

This fact had kindled a debate about how the subject was being taught in schools.

Parents had been appealing to Education ministries to lay more stress on repetition and exercises before problem-solving in teaching math.

Math, as well as reading, were tested in the latest PISA results. But there were fewer questions asked and a smaller proportion of students participated.

Performance of students in Quebec and British Columbia was above the Canadian average.

Anna Stokke, a professor in the department of math and statistics at the University of Winnipeg and one who was responsible for change in math, said although the results in science were encouraging, it was troubling to see students continue to struggle in math in many provinces.

Prof. Stokke pointed out that Math is a cumulative subject and students needed to have the necessary background to learn new concepts.

Students in PEI showed improvements from previous years. Six years back the province had no standardized testing but overtime it introduced rigorous tests at Grades 3, 6 and 9.

“The PEI government seems to take feedback and data seriously and uses that data towards improving outcomes for students,” Prof. Stokke said in an interview with the Globe and Mail.

Saskatchewan ranked at the bottom among provinces, and even performed below the OECD average.

Saskatchewan had “ignored” parents and held onto its curriculum, Prof. Stokke said.

She added: “It is extremely important that steps be taken to reverse the decline so that our children have access to a wide range of careers and the skills required to participate internationally.”

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm