Saturday, December 19, 2009

Study on Education in Catalonia

A very interesting July 2009 paper on the education system here (concentrating on math and science performance). Some of the more surprising points:
  • Spain performs badly in general, compared to other European countries, however, when adjusting for the education level of parents, Spain does better than average.
  • Catalonia does poorly compared to other regions in the study, either 3rd or 4th from the bottom of 14 regions studied.
  • Education levels of parents did not affect the results much for Catalonia: ie La Rioja and Castile/Leon outperfomed Catalona in math and science by 35 and 27 points respectively although parental education levels were similar.
  • Catalonia has a higher concentration of immigrant students, but this was not an important factor in the poor performance of Catalonia.
  • Only a very weak correlation between PISA performance and school funding across regions.

Since the comparisons were in math and science, it suggests that the problems here are not due to linguistic policies (also the immigrants didn't do that much worse), but it does show that there is something severely broken in the Catalan educational system.

From what I've read about the education minister Ernest Maragall (who happens to be the brother of the ex-Generalitat president, you gotta love the nepotism here) is more of an apparatchick who doesn't have any background in education (his background is IT). Sounds like just the guy to fix things.

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