South Korean teens top in maths and science, but lack interest - report
According to The Korea Times, South Korean students have been outdoing their global peers in tests conducted by the OECD in recent years. Source: Flickr

South Korean students are excelling in science and mathematics, but the rote way the subjects are taught is not kindling interest in the students, a new report by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) revealed yesterday.

According to The Korea Times, the country’s students have been outdoing their global peers in tests conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in recent years.

But while South Korea placed fifth worldwide in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 science test, they ranked 26th out of 35 OECD member states, a result analysts say call for a reform in the country’s teaching methods.

“We now need to bolt from teaching by rote and proceed to a new teaching method of allowing students to pursue a project,” professor Lee Joo-ho of the Korea Development Institute (KDI), said.

A similar discrepancy applies to the results for the mathematics test. In the PISA 2012 survey, South Korean were the top scorers for the subject, but was ranked at 28th place in terms of subject interest.

Lee says such disparity can be traced to the “learning by rote” method in the nation’s schools.

“Interest in learning, having fun, achievement motivation and perseverance are closely related to the self-driven learning capacity in lifelong education.”

The PISA standardised tests are part of the OECD’s study o15-year-oldld students’ academic performance on mathematics, science and reading in its member and non-member states to allow countries to track their education policies’ progress.

South Korea’s mean scores in science and mathematics tests for PISA 2015 were 516 and 524, respectively. In comparison, the OECD averages were 493 for science and 490 for mathematics.

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