Shanghai teenagers show their financial literacy
Updated: 2014-07-28 20:37
By Wang Hongyi in Shanghai
Education experts are calling for a calm and objective view of the good performance by Shanghai students in the international financial literacy assessment.
Shanghai Education Commission said students from the city had the highest average score in the international assessment, part of the triennial Program for International Student Assessment, known as PISA.
It is conducted by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and is aimed at evaluating education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students nearing the end of compulsory education with a range of assessments.
Shanghai students had an average score of 603 points, followed by Flemish-speaking Belgium, Estonia and Australia. The average score for all participating countries was 500 points. Australia scored 526, the United States 492, France and Russia 486.
More than 40 percent of Shanghai students reached the highest level, which means they have a macro financial perspective and are able to analyze and solve complicated financial problems. On average, less than 10 percent of the participating countries reached the highest level.
"As China's financial hub, Shanghai aims to build itself into an international economic and financial center. Improving teenagers' financial literacy is part of the efforts to achieve this goal," said Lu Jing, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Educational Sciences, who is also secretary of the PISA Shanghai research center.
"We are very glad to see Shanghai students perform well in this optional assessment." But Lu quickly added that results should be regarded clinically.
"We must note that not very many countries or areas participated in this optional assessment, such as Finland, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. They received good results in the previous PISA surveys," Lu said.
About 29,000 students from 18 countries and economies took part in this optional assessment. A total of 1,197 Shanghai students from 155 schools took part in the assessment, representing the city's 85,000 15-year-old students, the Shanghai education commission said.
Experts said the good performance by Shanghai students' in the financial literacy assessment is connected to their strong abilities in math and reading.
"Financial literacy is an essential part of students' future life development. This financial literacy assessment has given us some inspiration for curricular reform," said Ni Minjing, an official from the basic education department of the education commission.
"We are considering putting some financial literacy knowledge into education, such as social practice courses or applied mathematics questions," he said.
In Shanghai, about 20 percent of high schools have opened optional courses in finance, Ni said.