EDITORIAL — Another black eye

The Freeman
EDITORIAL � Another black eye

Usually this title is reserved for the latest scandal to hound government agencies or the police, but this time it’s for another poor performance by our students.

In a 2022 test by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). It was found that our 15-year-old students ranked poorly in creative thinking, placing second to the last in 64 countries tested.

In case PISA sounds familiar to the readers, it was the same body that ranked our students 77th out of 81 countries when it came to math, reading, and science.

In this case it was creative thinking; the capacity of students to “generate, evaluate and improve ideas”.

In that 2022 test, student participants were asked to “think of original and diverse solutions for simple expressive tasks and familiar problems”. For example coming up with an interesting story idea. The test tackled four different areas --creative writing, visual expression, scientific problem solving, and social problem solving.

But no! Surely our students are creative when it comes to thinking, right? Just look at the quality of TikTok videos they put out. Joking aside, this is something we should take seriously.

And why should we care about a test conducted in 2022? Here’s why. If the creative thinking ability of our students was already bad then, this might have gotten worse now. And this test was conducted long after the worst of the pandemic lockdowns in 2020 when classes normalized and became face-to-face again.

But it’s not all bad news. A golden opportunity has presented itself in our Education secretary announcing her resignation. Now it’s time to put someone in place who actually knows how to arrest the further deterioration of our students’ skills.

Again, we don’t have to say what is at stake here. It’s not just the future of individual families that is in the balance but the future of the entire country. These generations that performed poorly during the various tests conducted by PISA are expected to manage, administer, and run the country someday. Like we said in a previous editorial related to this topic; it’s not a job for idiots.

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