Science students take No 2 ranking in global study

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 November, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong science students are second best in the world, according to an international survey of academic performance in secondary schools.

The territory edged up from third place in 2003, supplanting Japan in second position in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The organisation issued science results from Pisa 2006 five days early after Spanish magazine Magisterio broke an embargo and published figures from the three-yearly report.

Full results of the study, which also tests mathematics and reading, are due to be released on Tuesday. Pisa is the international benchmark study for the performance of national education systems. The 2006 test, which has a special focus on science, was more comprehensive than ever, involving more than 400,000 15-year-old students from 57 countries, which together account for nearly 90 per cent of the world economy.

Hong Kong joined the ranking in 2003, when the study, which began as comparison between OECD member countries, was opened up to other nations. In the 2006 study, in science, the territory beat 29 of the 30 OECD countries involved, coming in second behind Finland, which took the top position again.

An Education Bureau spokesman said: 'Hong Kong students have all along performed well in the area of scientific literacy.'

Anissa Chan Wong Lai-kuen , principal of St Paul's Co-Educational College, said: 'The data shows that we really have a consistently strong performance in science in our education system. Science teaching has improved over recent years.

'It is less factual with less bookwork and is more interactive. And our curriculum is moving towards the relevance of science to explaining everyday phenomena. This approach makes it more interesting and motivating to students.'