Argentina has an outstanding football team, boasting two World Cup titles and some of the most admired players in history. Argentina also has an outstanding number of truants (i.e. students who skip classes). Before taking their PISA tests, almost three in five students said that they had skipped a day (or even more) of school during the prior two weeks. Argentina has more truants than any of the other 22 World Cup PISA countries!
Is that why Argentina’s footballers are so good? Does skipping classes help improve football passes?
Based on World Cup results so far, I don’t think so! The blue line in the graph shows that, on average:
- Teams that have already reached the quarter finals have more students attending all classes than the teams they beat in Round 2. For example, Colombia (only 4.4% of students skip school days) beat Uruguay (23.6%)
- Teams that lost in Round 2, in turn, do better than the teams they eliminated in the group stages. Chile (7.7%), for example, does better than Australia (31.8%).
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Tagged Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Physical education, PISA, school, skipping class, Switzerland, truancy, truants, United States, Uruguay
Tonight’s headline match brings together two Latin American big shots. Brazil and Mexico have the region’s largest economies and populations. Both won their opening group games against Croatia and Cameroon with some great tackles. And both urgently need to tackle inequality in education.
By the time Mexican students turn fifteen, the learning gap between rich and poor equates to about 1.5 years of schooling (62 PISA points in maths in 2012). In Brazil, the gap is almost two years (77 pts). Their World Cup competitors Chile (108 pts) and Uruguay (99 pts) do even worse.
The Inter-American Development Bank finds that, across Latin America, more than half of all students failed to reach the so-called PISA baseline. This means that they can’t, for example, use basic maths formulas (let alone basic football formations). In two of Brazil’s struggling regions, Alagoas and Maranhão, only about one student in seven reached this baseline!
Brazil will beat Argentina in a stunning World Cup final, says Goldman Sachs. England and Japan, on the other hand, will drop out in the group stages. But what if providing education for all determined World Cup outcomes?
Based on the 2011 Education for All Development Index (EDI) and ruthlessly ignoring issues around UK/English identity, the graph below shows you that England and Japan are the World Cup’s best educators.
It’d be a closely fought final! Japan has strength in numbers: more children are enrolled in school, and more of them reach grade 5. But the UK boasts higher rates of adult literacy. My money is on a Japanese victory – it scores much higher than the UK on gender parity. Continue reading
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Tagged Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, EDI, EFA, England, Ghana, Global Monitoring Report, Goldman Sachs, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Uruguay