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Canadians' science literacy ranks 1st among 35 countries
 
 



CBC NEWS
Toronto (Canada)
 
 
 
August 28, 2014, by Emily Chung
 
 
Report on Canada's science culture finds strong science interest, but areas to improve
 
A new report, Science Culture: Where Canada Stands, released today by the Canadian Council of Academies found that 42 per cent of Canadians have a basic level of scientific literacy necessary to understand media reports about science, putting Canada first among 35 countries with similar available data. (Andrey Popov/Shutterstock)
Canadians are among the most scientifically literate people in the world, a new report reveals. But don't get too smug yet — in spite of that, fewer than half of us would be able to read and understand a newspaper article about a new scientific discovery.

A new report, Science Culture: Where Canada Stands, released today by the Canadian Council of Academies found that 42 per cent of Canadians have a basic level of scientific literacy necessary to understand media reports about science, putting Canada first among 35 countries with similar available data. The council is an independent non-profit group that puts together expert panels to conduct assessments for the federal government on a wide range of public policy issues ranging from policing to wind turbine noise.


Read more and download the full report

http://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/assessments/completed/science-culture.aspx


The science literacy ranking was based on an April 2013 survey of 2,000 Canadians commissioned by the council from Ekos research. That data was then measured against the results for other countries for which comparable data are available. The weighted results are considered accurate within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

In order to gauge science literacy, respondents were asked questions such as:
  • Does the sun go around the earth or does the earth go around the sun?
  • Human beings as we know them today developed from earlier species of animals. True or false?
  • Electrons are smaller than atoms. True or false?

 
 
The council cautioned that Canada's high international ranking should be "interpreted carefully as Canadian data are more recent and science literacy has been improving over time in most countries."

 
In fact, Canadians' own science literacy has improved substantially since the survey was last conducted in 1989, when only around 15 per cent of Canadians were scientifically literate, said panel member Jay Ingram at a news conference hosted by the Science Media Centre of Canada.

 
Both Ingram and panel chair Arthur Carty expressed surprise at the high level of basic science literacy shown by the poll.

But Ingram, a science journalist and author who chairs the science communications program at the Banff Centre, noted that there is still lots of room for improvement.

"While 87 per cent knowing that the earth goes around the sun is pretty good, that still leaves 13 per cent of Canadians that haven't absorbed the scientific knowledge of several centuries ago," Ingram said.

Carty added that Canada's top international ranking on the measure reflects the fact that "everyone is doing poorly.

"IBoth Ingram and panel chair Arthur Carty expressed surprise at the high level of basic science literacy shown by the poll.

But Ingram, a science journalist and author who chairs the science communications program at the Banff Centre, noted that there is still lots of room for improvement.

"While 87 per cent knowing that the earth goes around the sun is pretty good, that still leaves 13 per cent of Canadians that haven't absorbed the scientific knowledge of several centuries ago," Ingram said.


Carty added that Canada's top international ranking on the measure reflects the fact that "everyone is doing poorly.

"In a sense," he said, "It's nothing to be proud of."

Carty is the executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. In a preface to the report, he suggested that science literacy has becoming increasingly important as "some understanding of science is now an integral part of being an informed citizen and almost every decision governments make has a scientific component."

Gender gap

While Canadians performed well overall, there is a gender gap in science literacy — just 32 per cent of women were science literate, compared to 53 per cent of men. The panel thought this might have to do with the fact that more men have higher degrees in science and engineering.

Regionally, people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, B.C. and the Territories, Alberta and the Atlantic provinces all scored above the national average, while those in Ontario had average scores and those in Quebec scored below average.

The report was commissioned by the minister of state for science and technology on behalf of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corp., National Resources Canada and Industry Canada. It aimed to assess science "culture" in Canada, including not just knowledge and literacy, but also attitudes and engagement.

"Overall, the evidence we gathered as a panel shows that Canada has a strong science culture with many Canadians interested and actively engaged in learning about science," said Carty.
 
Dokora under fire for banning incentives for teachers

 
 
 
 
 
New Zimbabwe
West Midlands (UNITED KINGDOM)
August 26, 2014


Education Minister Lazarus Dokora came under a barrage of attacks from MPs in parliament on Tuesday for stopping the payment of incentives to teachers and banning extra-lessons in public schools.

 
 
Under fire from MPs ... Education Minister Lazarus Dokora
 
 
 
Dokora banned extra lessons late last year claiming he was cushioning hard-pressed parents from unscrupulous school authorities who were demanding huge amounts of money.

He also banned entrance tests for Form One students.
MDC-T MP Settlement Chikwinya however said Dokora risked reversing the gains made by the government since independence by pursuing “unwise policies” in the education sector.

Teachers are among the lowest paid of the country’s civil servants.

To compensate for the poor pay, some schools had introduced incentives in the form of more pay to encourage the teachers.

But Dokora last year banned the incentives. He also outlawed extra-lessons in public schools.
“We suspect that he is doing this because he does not have children attending schools at these public schools, if he has, we call upon him to come to this House and prove that he has,” Chikwinya said.

“Headmasters who met in Victoria Falls resolved that they would want to meet the president (Robert Mugabe) and air their grievances. This shows the level of frustration that they have gone through at the hands of the current minister.”


The MPs said Dokora’s biggest handicap was his failure to consult widely before making policy pronouncements.
SEE MORE - http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-17539-MPs+gang+up+on+education+minister/news.aspx
 

 

L I T E R A C Y
 

 


 

  
 
11-year-olds show improvement in basic literacy but 21%
still haven't mastered 'three Rs'


 
 
 
 
idependant.co.uk
London
(UNITED KINGDOM)
 
 
 
August 28, 2014, by Richard Gardner
 
 
More than 100,000 11-year-olds still cannot master the "three Rs", despite an improvement in national curriculum test results this year.

The figures show 79 per cent of young people mastering the basics in all three tests, reading, writing and maths, an increase of four percentage points on last year’s results. This means that around 117,000 pupils are not reaching the required standard.

As before, kids’ weakest suit was in the spelling, grammar and punctuation test, wherein just 76 per cent reached the required standard, up two percentage points from last year.

Schools Reform Minister Nick Gibb said the results that both teachers and pupils “have responded well to the higher education standards our education reforms have demanded”.


“Our education system is beginning to show the first fruits of our plan for education, helping to prepare young people for life in modern Britain,” he added. “There is more to do but teachers and pupils deserve huge credit for such outstanding results.”

The results also showed a slight narrowing of the gap in performance between girls and boys, with girls maintaining a six point lead over boys.

Girls do best in reading, with 91 per cent achieving the required standards in the three Rs. In maths, boys and girls are equal on 86 per cent.

The results showed the results for local authority maintained schools and mainstream academies and free schools were virtually the same - although statisticians pointed out that very few free schools have reached the point where their pupils were sitting the tests.

There were, however, large differences between the results of those schools converting to academy status, where 83 per cent achieved the benchmark, and sponsored academies, set up in disadvantaged inner-city areas, where the figure was 68 per cent.

Mr Gibb said: “80,000 more children than five years ago will start secondary school this year secure in the basics and able to move on to more complex subjects.”
 

 
 
 
India Education Diary.com
Ranchi, Jharkhand (INDIA)
August 21, 2014




The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today asserted that if India has to emerge as a developed nation, then no part of the country can remain weak and underdeveloped. The Prime Minister said eastern India has remained underdeveloped, and growth should be balanced across north, south, east and west - so that common people across the country can enjoy the fruits of development in equal measure.
 
 
 
 
 
The Prime Minister was addressing a gathering after launching the National Digital Literacy Mission in Ranchi.

 
 
 

 
The Prime Minister also dedicated to the Nation the IOC Oil Terminal at Jasidih and 765 kV Ranchi-Dharamjaygarh-Sipat transmission line. The Prime Minister announced that work would commence shortly on the Jagdishpur-Phoolpur-Haldia gas pipeline - which would become a major source of energy for eastern India.

The Prime Minister also initiated the commencement of work at the North Karanpura Super Thermal Power Plant. He said this power plant would dispel darkness from Jharkhand.

The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for two IT-related projects. He said the state of Jharkhand has huge potential for development, and he would repay the love and affection of the people of Jharkhand through development.

The Prime Minister emphasized that if India has to be developed, its states have to be developed. He referred to yesterday's Cabinet decision to increase royalty rates on minerals. He said that this decision would benefit Jharkhand enormously.
Ontario students get mixed results in literacy, math tests

 
 
CityNews
Toronto (CANADA)
August 27, 2014
 


The agency that measures how Ontario students are doing in reading, writing and arithmetic is calling for “aggressive efforts” to turn around low scores in math.

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) said the results from its latest provincial assessments, released on Wednesday, show elementary school students continue to do well in literacy tests, while Grade 6 math performance has dropped again. Grade 3 students did the same as last year in math.

 
High school students are shown attending class in Ontario in an undated file photo. CITYNEWS
 
 
The EQAO said the problem is Grade 6 students can often perform math functions, but aren’t good at problem solving.

“To paint a quick picture, Grade 6 students know how to multiply (for example) but struggle to know when multiplication is needed to solve a problem.” EQAO CEO Bruce Rodrigues said in a statement.

“This has been a consistent pattern with our students.”

In high schools, the EQAO found students have been doing better in math for the past five years and show a high level of literacy.

However, in both the applied English and applied math courses, which are meant for students with “different strengths, interests, needs and learning styles,” results are poor.

“Student achievement in these courses continues to lag,” Rodrigues said.

“It’s worth reviewing the intent of these courses and how they might better support student achievement.”

The Ontario government said it has put resources in place — including math tutoring and summer workshops for teachers and principals — to reach its target of having more students measure up.

“Ontario is committed to having 75 per cent of Ontario’s Grade 3 and 6 students meet the high provincial standards in EQAO assessments,” Education Minister Liz Sandals said.

“While there is certainly room for improvement in math, we will strive to ensure both teachers and students have what they need to achieve success.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   



 




   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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