Has the ever fascinating Elizabeth Pisani bitten more than she can chew in her latest posting in Portrait Indonesia

In a provocative headline she posits that Indonesian kids don’t know how stupid they are and the supporters and detractors are piling up in the comments section.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Pisani’s analysis of the PISA tests, the picture that emerges is rather dismal for Indonesia: Indonesian kids are doing very badly in simple maths and science questions but they are blissfully unaware of how the education system is failing them.

So, are Indonesian kids getting stupider, so stupid that they don’t even know that they are getting stupid?

 

Indonesian kids don’t know how stupid they are

Spotted on a classroom wall in South Sulawesi

Spotted on a classroom wall in South Sulawesi

Four cars have different engine capacites:

Alpha: 1.79
Bolte: 1.796
Castel: 1.82
Dezal: 1.783

Which of the cars has the smallest engine capacity?

It’s not a trick question. But over 75 percent of 15 year-old school children in Indonesia do not have the mathematical skills to answer it correctly.

Every three years, Indonesia’s education system goes through the ritual humiliation of the PISA tests, comparing the performance of 15 year-olds in 65 countries in reading, maths and science. Indonesia has more teachers per student than most much richer countries, and an amendment to the constitution guarantees that 20 percent of the national budget is spent on education. And yet the 2012 PISA results, released this week, show that Indonesia ranked at the bottom of the heap in maths and science, and did only marginally better in reading.

For the rest of the article read here.