26 Apr, 2014 @ 09:00
1 min read

Calls for education reform as Spanish teens can’t problem solve


SPANISH teenagers are unable to cope with everyday problem-solving tasks, according to a damning new report.

‘Old-fashioned’ teaching methods are being blamed for the poor results after 28% of Spanish teenagers failed the study’s problem-solving test – compared to an international average of 21%.

Spain was placed just 29th in the world ranking, which was headed by Singapore and South Korea.

More than 85,000 teenagers in 44 countries worldwide were presented with a series of interactive problems in the study, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The scenarios included buying the cheapest possible train ticket, working an unfamiliar MP3 player, and finding the shortest route between two points.

The OECD’s education chief, Andreas Schleicher, highlighted the need for schools to not only impart knowledge, but also to teach how to apply that knowledge to real-life scenarios.

“The world economy does not focus on what one knows, but on what one can do with what one knows,” he said.

More than 2,700 Spanish 15-year-olds took part in the study, carried out in 2012.

While there were no statistical differences between the performances of boys and girls, children from immigrant families in Spanish schools scored ‘significantly’ worse.

The state secretary for education, Montserrat Gomendio, has called for ‘a radical change in the teaching methodology’ in schools.

She added that the ‘rigidity’ of the Spanish education system – which is based on learning by repetition – has established ‘an equity which means that everyone must be uniformly mediocre’

Imogen Calderwood

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  1. I think the problem is far deeper than just the symptoms. There is no cultural value on education in Spain. There is more emphasis on church worship than there is towards education. Dumbness seems to be inbred due to the slavish following of the teachings of the church. And they seem to be quite bloody proud of it too!!

    The same attitude that threw the moors and their centres of intellectual excellence into the rivers of blood seems to have evolved very little since those days, and I don’t say so lightly.

    With three kids in state schools here I see and hear what goes on and it is quite frightening. Much deeper than just a shortfall in educational methodologies, there is an encrusted dismissal of the benefits of prioritising education.

  2. This isn’t just a problem Spain has or “slavish followings of the church” but a real concern for a lot of education systems world wide. It is sometimes frightening how kids these days do not know how to critically think. While modern technology is wonderful, it also dilutes ones ability to problem solve. It is disheartening to teach using a mode that has not evolved with the times.

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