Posts about Korea

Math Education Results Show China, Singapore, Korea and Japan Leading

The most comprehenvise comparison of student achievement in math and science around the globe undertaken by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) focuses on math understanding of 15 year olds (the 2014 report will focus on science). The 2009 report focused on the results of science education student achievement around the globe.

2012 results for the math portion (rank – country – mean score)(I am not listing all countries):

  • 1 – Singapore – 573
  • 2 – Korea – 554
  • 3 – Japan – 536
  • 5 – Switzerland – 531
  • 6 – Netherlands – 523
  • 7 – Estonia – 521
  • 8 – Finland – 519
  • 9 – Canada – 518
  • 12 – Germany – 514
  • 24 – UK – 494 (this is also the OECD average)
  • 34 – USA – 481
  • 49 – Malaysia – 421
  • 50 – Mexico – 413

All 34 OECD member countries and 31 partner countries and economies participated in PISA 2012, representing more than 80% of the world economy. Portions of China participated and did very well including Shanghai-China (highest mean score of 613 points – if you ranked that as a country, I ignored these “regional results” in the ranks I shown here), Hong Kong-China (561, 3rd if including countries and regions together), Chinese Taipei [Taiwan] (560, 4th), Macao-China (538, 6th).

Boys perform better than girls in mathematics in 38 out of the 65 countries and economies that participated in PISA 2012, and girls outperform boys in 5 countries.

Related: Playing Dice and Children’s NumeracyNumeracy: The Educational Gift That Keeps on GivingMathematicians Top List of Best OccupationsThe Economic Consequences of Investing in Science EducationCountry H-index Ranking for Science PublicationsEconomic Strength Through Technology Leadership

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Robot Prison Guards in South Korea

photo of robot prison guard

Robotic prison wardens to patrol South Korean prison

The one-month trial will cost 1bn won (£554,000) and is being sponsored by the South Korean government. It is the latest in a series of investments made by the state to develop its robotics industry.

The country’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in January that it had spent the equivalent of £415m on research in the sector between 2002 and 2010. It said the aim was to compete with other countries, such as Japan, which are also exploring the industry’s potential.

In October the ministry said the Korean robot market had recorded 75% growth over the past two years and was now worth about £1 billion…

The potential market for robotics is huge. Smart countries are investing in becoming the centers for excellence in that area. Japan and South Korea may well be in the lead. The USA, Germany and China also have strong communities.

Related: Robot Finds Lost Shoppers and Provides DirectionsThe Robotic Dog (2008 post)Soft Morphing Robot FutureHonda’s Robolegs Help People WalkRoachbot: Cockroach Controlled Robot

Top Countries for Science and Math Education: Finland, Hong Kong and Korea

The 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)* report has been released. The report examines the science of 15 year olds from 57 countries in math, science and reading. The main focus of PISA 2009 was reading. The survey also updated performance assessments in mathematics and science.

The Asian countries continue to do very well for several reason including tutoring; they have even turned tutors into rock stars earning millions of dollars. The results show the value of tutors at takelessons.com and such sites to student achievement.

The emphasis is on mastering processes, understanding concepts and functioning in various contexts within each assessment area. the PISA 2012 survey will return to mathematics as the major assessment area, PISA 2015 will focus on science.

Results for the Science portion (rank – country – mean score)(I am not listing all countries):

  • 1 – Finland – 554
  • 2 – Hong Kong – 549
  • 3 – Japan – 539
  • 4 – Korea – 538
  • 5 – New Zealand – 532
  • 6 – Canada – 529
  • 7 – Estonia – 528
  • 8 – Australia – 527
  • 9 – Netherlands – 522
  • 10 – Taiwan – 520
  • 11 – Germany – 520
  • 14 – United Kingdom – 514
  • 21 – USA – 502 (up from 489 and 29th place in 2006)
  • OECD average – 501
  • 25 – France – 498
  • 46 – Mexico – 416
  • 49 – Brazil – 405

Results for the math portion (rank – country – mean score)(I am not listing all countries):
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USA Broadband is Slow. Really Slow.

Surprise, surprise: U.S. broadband is slow. Really slow.

The U.S. comes in 15th on a worldwide scale, far behind the leaders Japan, South Korea and Finland.

A file that takes four minutes to download in South Korea would take nearly an hour and a half to download in the U.S. using the average bandwidth. Japanese users leaves U.S. users behind with an eye-popping 63.60 Mb/s download link. This means that Japanese can download an entire movie in just two minutes, as opposed to two hours or more here in the U.S. Just in case you are wondering: No, Japanese users do not pay more for their broadband connections. In fact, U.S. broadband cost is among the highest in the world.

Japan dominates international broadband speed with a median download speed of approximately 63 Mb/s, more than enough to stream DVD-quality video with surround audio in real time. Next on the list is South Korea where download speeds achieve an average of 49.50 Mb/s. Finland and France follow with 21.70 Mb/s and 17.60 Mb/s, respectively. Canada ranked eighth with an average download speed of 7.60 Mb/s. The U.S. came in 15th with 2.35 Mb/s.

I see this as an economic issue. Countries that have provided an investment in internet infrastructure to provide broadband to the home at reasonable prices will be rewarded.

Related: Speed Matter Report (pdf) – PhD Student Speeds up Broadband by 200 timesPlugging America’s Broadband GapThe Next Generation InternetYouTube Access Deniedinternet related posts

Korean Engineering Education

Different Engineering Education Expectations

The “Engineering Education Innovation Center” of the engineering department at Yonsei University surveyed 350 human resources officials at some 100 small- and medium-sized companies, as well as big companies, including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, and Nexon. In the survey, they gave engineering graduates an “F” grade in 13 out of 14 categories. Engineering graduates themselves also said, “Education in college is not useful to our work.”

On the contrary, however, engineering professors gave high marks of 97 out of 100 on their knowledge, and answered positively regarding their teaching skills, which revealed the different views colleges and companies have.

The conflict between what is being taught and what is needed in business is the subject of continuing debate globally.

Related: Innovative Science and Engineering Higher EducationThe World’s Best Research UniversitiesEngineering Schools and Economic DevelopmentEducating Scientists and EngineersEducating Engineering Geeks (MIT webcast)Leah Jamieson on the Future of Engineering EducationEducating the Engineer of 2020 (NAE Report)Global Engineering Education StudyApplied Engineering EducationWhat do Engineers Need To Know?

Asia: Rising Stars of Science and Engineering

Great report – The Atlas of Ideas: How Asian innovation can benefit us all by Charles Leadbeater and James Wilsdon:

Each country will develop differently. In South Korea strong government support has created a world-class information infrastructure.

China is mobilising massive resources for innovation through ambitious long-term plans, funded by rapid economic growth. Beijing’s university district produces as many engineers as all of western Europe. China is developing world-class universities and attracting multinational innovation centres.

India’s elite, trained at the Indian Institutes of Technology, are second to none. New institutions like the National Science and Engineering Foundation could energise a disjointed innovation system. Yet India’s innovation elite may face a rural backlash. Its infrastructure is in poor repair and cities like Bengalooru are congested. Even the much-vaunted IITs do not, unlike their US counterparts, animate innovation clusters.
Percentage of world share of scientific publications

Year China France Germany Japan Korea UK US EU-15
1995 2.05 6.09 7.62 8.65 0.79 8.88 33.54 34.36
1998 2.90 6.48 8.82 9.42 1.41 9.08 31.63 36.85
2001 4.30 6.33 8.68 9.52 2.01 8.90 31.01 36.55
2004 6.52 5.84 8.14 8.84 2.70 8.33 30.48 35.18

Excellent reading, the report is full of useful information I have not been able to obsorb yet.
Related: Diplomacy and Science ResearchThe World’s Best Research UniversitiesEngineering the Future EconomyWorldwide Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree DataUSA Under-counting Engineering GraduatesIncreasing American Fellowship Support for Scientists and Engineers
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Diplomacy and Science Research

Today more and more locations are becoming viable for world class research and development. Today the following have significant ability: USA, Europe (many countries), Japan, Canada, China, Brazil, Singapore, Israel, India, Korea and Australia (I am sure I have missed some this is just what come to mind as I type this post) and many more are moving in that direction.

The continued increase of viable locations for significant amounts of cutting edge research and development has huge consequences, in many areas. If paths to research and development are blocked in one location (by law, regulation, choice, lack of capital, threat of significant damage to the career of those who would choose such a course…) other locations will step in. In some ways this will be good (see below for an explanation of why this might be so). Promising new ideas will not be stifled due to one roadblock.

But risks of problems will also increase. For example, there are plenty of reasons to want to go carefully in the way of genetically engineered crops. But those seeking a more conservative approach are going to be challenged: countries that are acting conservatively will see other countries jump in, I believe. And even if this didn’t happen significantly in the area of genetically engineered crops, I still believe it will create challenges. The ability to go elsewhere will make those seeking to put constraints in place in a more difficult position than 50 years ago when the options were much more limited (It might be possible to stop significant research just by getting a handful of countries to agree).

Debates of what restrictions to put on science and technology research and development will be a continuing and increasing area of conflict. And the solutions will not be easy. Hopefully we will develop a system of diplomacy that works, but that is much easier said than done. And the United States will have to learn they do not have the power to dictate terms to others. This won’t be an easy thing to accept for many in America. The USA will still have a great deal of influence, due mainly to economic power but that influence is only the ability to influence others and that ability will decline if diplomacy is not improved. Diplomacy may not seem to be a science and engineering area but it is going to be increasingly be a major factor in the progress of science and engineering. Continue reading

Scientific Illiteracy

Scientific Illiteracy and the Partisan Takeover of Biology by Liza Gross, Public Library of Science:

Since 1979, the proportion of scientifically literate adults has doubled—to a paltry 17%. The rest are not savvy enough to understand the science section of The New York Times or other science media pitched at a similar level. As disgracefully low as the rate of adult scientific literacy in the United States may be, Miller found even lower rates in Canada, Europe, and Japan—a result he attributes primarily to lower university enrollments.

While the 17% figure does not amaze me I am surprised that the scientific literacy has doubled since 1979.

A comparison of science education achievement: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (TIMSS), Average science scale scores of eighth-grade students, by country (2003), top 13 shown below:
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