Ghana’s Maths and Science ranking based on 2011 data

students examsThe Global Educational ranking that placed Ghana at the bottom of 76 nations in Science and Mathematics, was based on a 2011 Data, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Education Minister said on Tuesday.

The ranking was done by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Speaking at the Meet the Press series in Accra, Prof Opoku-Agyemang said although Ghana did not take part in PISA, its data from the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) was re-scaled onto the PISA scale.

This, she said, raised a number of concerns, which were tabled for discussion and analysis at the World Education Forum 2015 held at Incheon, Korea.

Prof Opoku-Agyemang, who was speaking on the State of Education in Ghana, said the report sought to highlight a global problem of the low scores of students in Mathematics and S cience, especially in the low income countries.

She said the strategy adopted by the authors, appeared to be selective to enable them to achieve their aim of linking the country’s economic status with that of the performance in Mathematics and Science.

The Minister said the strategy further raised a lot of questions because it failed to recognize that Ghana’s scores in TIMSS since 2003 had improved over the years.

She said the argument was that the quality of schooling in a country was a powerful indicator of the wealth that those countries would produce in the long run.

The Minister noted that the report was intended to influence debate over development goals, and to facilitate the adoption of target that ensured that all 15 year olds achieved basic level of skills.

She said the report received mixed reactions from the Forum.

“While some thought it was meant for rich countries, that it was contextually inappropriate for poor countries and that it gives an incomplete picture of what education is; others thought it made the important point that access alone will not guarantee a country’s prosperity and that of the world,” Prof Opoku-Agyemang stated.

“Its conclusions were therefore enough to propel the world into action as some rich OECD and non-OECD countries also fell significantly below PISA score points in Mathematics and Science,” she added.

Other countries in the lowest ranks together with Ghana were Oman, Morocco, Honduras, and South Africa which were ranked 72, 73, 74 and 75 respectively.

She said for Ghana, the report emphasized the challenges Government had already identified as far as students learning outcomes in Mathematics and Science were concerned.

In that regard, she observed that governments over the years had introduced interventions to address the challenge, which she said, included the rigorous re-training of teachers in Science and Mathematics, including plans to establish centres for the training of Science and Mathematics teachers in basic schools.

Others are the rehabilitation of existing science resource centres, to train teachers at both the basic and secondary levels of education, basic school computerization programme, leading to the supply of computers and accessories to schools and teachers. GNA

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