Polish pupils shine in global ranking

PAP/Lech Muszyński

A new global school ranking shows that Polish pupils are among some of the best in the EU. The ranking, spanning a record 76 countries, was based on maths and science scores among 15-year-olds. Asian countries topped the ranking, with Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan coming in first, second and third. Poland ranked an impressive 11th, fourth-best in the European Union. Britain came 20th and the United States 28th. Oman, Morocco, Honduras, South Africa and Ghana were at the bottom of the ranking.

The ranking, the world’s biggest yet, spans more countries than the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development think-tank. Poland also fares well in the PISA tests, organised every three years, having improved since the test were first organised in the country in 2000.

In the most recent PISA test, held in 2015, Polish 15-year-olds scored above the OECD average in science, maths and reading skills, the three areas tested, with scores similar to those of their peers in Denmark and Belgium. Meanwhile, the impact of social background on test scores and the performance gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils has declined since the mid-2000s, as it has in the OECD overall.

This strong performance complements the Polish government’s emphasis on innovation. Poland will need to develop its capacity to innovate and invest in skills to sustain rising living standards in the country, according to the OECD’s latest “Economic Survey of Poland”, published in March. “Strengthening innovation, improving infrastructure and investing in skills will be crucial. With rising labour and skills shortages, many employers now realise how important it is to invest in training,” said OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi, presenting the survey in Warsaw.

That investment will need to go well into adulthood, adapting to the evolving labour market. Still, 15-year-olds with a solid foundation in maths and science are an excellent place to start.