Chinese, Indian pupils outshine British
Richard Garner

Children of Chinese origin have outperformed every other British group in English by the age of 11, according to an ethnic breakdown of exam and test results published recently.

News & Notes
Follow laid-in procedures, says eminent historian
AMRITSAR: "Historical thinking should be correct besides following the laid-in procedure while reproducing the books on history to avoid distortions," said Dr J.S. Grewal, eminent historian and former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, while inaugurating a four-week 'General Orientation Course-69' organised under the aegis of Academic Staff College of the university.

  • IGNOU study centre




Chinese, Indian pupils outshine British
Richard Garner

Children of Chinese origin have outperformed every other British group in English by the age of 11, according to an ethnic breakdown of exam and test results published recently.

They have the best results of all ethnic groups in national curriculum tests at 11 with 86 per cent reaching the required standard—compared with 80 per cent of white British children. And these figures include recent Chinese immigrants who do not have English as a first language.

Their success is carried through to GCSE level where 65.8 per cent of Chinese-origin pupils obtain five A*- to C-grade passes including maths and English—under the Department for Education and Skills’ new measure used to rank schools. Pupils of Indian origin also outperform the white British with a 59.1 per cent pass rate, compared to 44.3 per cent for white British pupils.

The figures are revealed in an analysis of last year’s GCSE and national curriculum test results for pupils aged seven, 11 and 14.

More than 1,000 Chinese-origin pupils sat the English national curriculum test for 11-year-olds last year, while 2,200 sat their GCSEs. Experts say the culture at home for families of Chinese and Indian origin families puts more emphasis on the importance of education.

The figures come amid a wave of angst over British children, prompted by a Unicef report which claimed that the quality of life for children in Britain was poor. Family relationships were cited as one of the main factors blighting childhood.

Parents in families of Chinese origin stress the value of homework—and many children attend special Saturday schools to improve their performance.

In A-levels, too, Chinese-origin pupils shine. A recent study by the Royal Society of Chemistry and Institute of Physics revealed that Chinese males were four times as likely (and Indian males three times) to achieve three or more science A-levels. The figures are similar for girls. “Indian and Chinese students show a strong preference for science at A-level compared to other ethnic groups,” said the report.

As a result, they are the most likely ethnic groups to choose to study science subjects in higher education.

“Chinese pupils of mixed white and Asian heritage, Irish and Indian pupils consistently achieve above the national average across key stage one (seven to 11-year-olds), key stage two (11 to 14-year-olds) and key stage three (14 to 16-year-olds),” the analysis concludes.

The analysis also shows that girls outperform boys at all levels in almost every exam—although the gap has narrowed slightly. “Overall, the difference in attainment of five or more A*- to C-grade GCSEs or equivalent by gender has dropped slightly from last year when it was 10.1 percentage points to 9.6 percentage points in 2006,” it says.

But the biggest gender gap is between black Afro-Caribbean boys and girls—sparking concerns about the performance of black boys in schools. Fewer than one in four Afro-Caribbean boys (22.7 per cent) achieve five top-grade GCSE passes compared with 36 per cent of boys overall.

The breakdown follows an official report from the DfES, which drew attention to the exclusion rate for black Afro-Caribbean children—they were three times as likely to be excluded from school as white youngsters. Their rate of permanent exclusions was four per 10,000 compared with 1.3 for white pupils. Again, Chinese-origin pupils had the lowest exclusion rate, with 0.2 per cent. The report said: “Black pupils are disproportionately denied mainstream education and the life chances that go with it.”

The low performance of black Afro-Caribbean boys has prompted ministers to launch their “Aiming High” project, seeking to improve their performance by providing them with mentors.

The first independent analysis of the programme indicated that they had started to close the gap on their white classmates by doing better than ever in tests for 14-year-olds—traditionally a marker for how well they will perform at GCSE. However, at that stage, they had still failed to narrow the gap at GCSE.

Andrew Adonis, the Schools Minister, welcomed the findings. “Big improvements are being made,” he said. But he acknowledged that there were “challenges ahead” for exclusion rates “and the stereotyping of black children as underachieving, troublesome or both”. The scheme operates in 100 secondary schools across 25 local authorities.

The worst performance by an ethnic group came from Gypsy/Roma pupils, where only 3.9 per cent obtained five top-grade GCSE passes with maths and English, and travellers of Irish heritage, where the figure was 11.1 per cent.

The analysis also showed that children from better-off homes outperformed those pupils who received free school meals: 61 per cent of those youngsters not in receipt of free school meals obtained five A*- to C-grade GCSE passes compared with 33 per cent of those from deprived backgrounds.

Ministers insist that poverty should be no excuse for poor performance - and point to the success of some inner-city schools serving deprived communities.

By arrangement with The Independent

Teaching begins at home, not at school

The success of pupils of Chinese origin in last year’s national curriculum tests and GCSEs is to be applauded. Coupled with the showing by pupils of Indian origin, it shows that where there is a culture of learning in the home—as, by and large, there is in these two communities—the child flourishes at school.

Earlier this week, a report by UNICEF revealed UK pupils came bottom in a table highlighting the relative well-being of children in 21 Western countries. One indicator showed that their relationships with their parents were partly to blame.

It would be wrong to come away with the idea that it is all doom and gloom regarding the performance of white British children.

Their performance is not deteriorating—even though it may be tailing off in the national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds. What it does prove, however, is that if parents are persuaded to take more of an interest it will pay off.

Tony Blair often repeats his mantra that “education, education and education” are his top three priorities. In truth, his government has poured investment into education.

What the UNICEF report and the ethnic breakdown published recently show is the problems cannot be solved by spending alone. Much more must be done in the community. Inviting parents to learn alongside their children could be a help.

David Willetts, the Conservative education spokesman, responding to the UNICEF report at the think-tank, Demos, said it showed we need to invest better in the future generation. Too often under Labour, investment went on items that would bring a good headline—such as £1m on new technology that may only last four years, he said.

However, to get to the heart of the problem, the culture in too many families, where education is thought of as something that happens at school rather than something that can be helped in the home, has to be addressed.

If it is, then we may move a long way further down the road of delivering that world-class education service the Prime Minister so often talks about. 


News & Notes
Follow laid-in procedures, says eminent historian

AMRITSAR: "Historical thinking should be correct besides following the laid-in procedure while reproducing the books on history to avoid distortions," said Dr J.S. Grewal, eminent historian and former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, while inaugurating a four-week 'General Orientation Course-69' organised under the aegis of Academic Staff College of the university.

Dr Grewal said though it was now impossible to remove distortions and bring uniformity in the old history of India and Pakistan, the historians should take care while reproducing historical facts in their researches in future so that clear picture could be presented before the masses. He said debates were also held during the past 15 to 20 years in this regard. However, the historians have failed to remove the discrepancies in the ancient history by citing their own reasons and evidences.

The former Vice-Chancellor who had worked as national fellow at the Indian Council of National Research and worked on the project 'Contesting Interpretations of Sikh Traditions' said that the same was the case with the Sikh history. He said there was need to deeply study the Guru Nanak's biography, development of Sikh ideology and environment, social order and Sikh identity in order to remove distortions which had crept in 400-year-old history of the community.

Dr Grewal said that teachers should realise their social and moral responsibilities while accepting the global challenges in the modern world. He said they should upgrade their knowledge to impart quality education to students and should be cautious about their role towards society. — Sanjay Bumbroo

IGNOU study centre

FATEHABAD: Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has opened its study centre for the B.Ed. course at Manohar Memorial College of Education, Fatehabad. This has come as a relief for the students of the distance education programme who are pursuing B.Ed from IGNOU. Earlier, such students had to go to Rohtak to attend their classes.

Mamta Chaudhary, Principal of MM College of Education, said the centre would help a large number of candidates, especially working teachers who opt for the distance education programme. The classes will start from the month of March on Sundays. — Sushil Manav




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