Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Stupid Country

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Never mind what people say otherwise – this simply is one of the most stupid countries ever. Recently it turned out that German schools are quite bad as pupils didn't do too well in the PISA ranking. Reading the results, it seemed that pupils are both lazy and rather daft. They can't read, they actually can but they don't understand it, and they don't compute.

After those results came in, people – politicians in particular – started to bow to Finland, who 'won' the PISA study and started to look at the different states in Germany did – hence trying to say how great their local system is, rather than seriously looking at the 'why' of the results. In my opinion at least one reason for the not-too-brilliant ranking for Germany is that being a good pupil is considered uncool here.

If you're good, you have to be so because you're brilliant rather than because you worked for it. Compare this to what your hear from Asian and even some English-speaking countries where it is cool to work hard to achieve good results. Surely, getting good results without having to work for it is cooler and more pleasant than achieving the same without doing much work. But on the other hand if you're not that brilliant, working hard to achieve moderately good results is much better than not working at all and just passing without really knowing anything about the subjects.

But that's not how things work here. While people are – probably – be embarrassed if they can't read, this applies to a much lesser degree to sciences and mathematics. In those topics people – even people who consider themselves 'educated' otherwise will nonchalantly tell you things like I could never do maths or our family was never really into science. And they're proud of that.

Stick those facts and TV, even public TV together and you'll get this show that was broadcast tonight. Twenty people plus a celebrity from each state get asked questions from the PISA study and compete for the best result. As it goes with 'knowledge' TV shows like this, Who wants to be a Millionaire or The Weakest Link one of the points of those shows is to see that many people are more stupid than yourself. But this time it went too far. The questions weren't hard. If they really were questions originally found in the PISA study, they were aimed at 9th grade pupils or so.

Yet those adults were embarrassingly bad at answering them. Apparently nobody got more than 60% in total. And they weren't embarrassed at all – not even at exhibiting their ignorance on public television.

Let me just sample a few of the questions I remember for you – I only saw the second half of the show with science maths and 'problem solving' question, so the areas of those examples are a bit limited:

I hope this illustrates that the questions weren't exactly rocket science. People just did very badly with the maths question. Doing what people frequently do if they 'can't do maths': Guessing instead of thinking. And those 'celebrities' weren't even embarrassed about not being able to add two fractions. With that kind of attitude exhibited in public, why would think the kids would want to learn all that stuff? You can be rich and famous just for being stupid after all.

Right, obviously I find all this very upsetting. Fun notes to finish with:

October 26, 2003, 1:19


Comment by Stupid Country: User icon

I have no idea what issues you’re describing here. But I will arm-wrestle you for the phrase “Stupid Country” on behalf of the United States of America. We’ve worked a lot harder to earn it.

December 4, 2004, 16:19

Comment by peter: User icon

first, i writer everything in small letters if you dont mind, and i dont care much about apostrophes as well :-)

second,…lets test your math/judgement skills… you just saw the second half of the show and you know, that the OVERALL mark was 60%… how can you judge the missing 40% when you havent seen 50% of the questions… ;-)!!!???

third, … or maybe you HAVE seen the missing 50% of the questions, but they were tough enough to make many participants fail… and THEREFORE didnt fit into your picture…

fourth, …which is by the way not very rational…. if you hate a country, respectively its citizens, sooooooooo much…you should at least TRY to argue your points with a bit more rafinesse… not that blunt…its too obvious…and reveals what kind of ‘mind’ is behind all that outspitted hatred…dropping from every letter of your words…

fifth, …’APPROVE’ comments….!? man, according to your one single comment that found worth your approvel… you and your ‘mind’ is even weaker than i thought…

sixth, …. oh yes and by the way… i tend to vote for america as well…and you REALLY dont have to armwrestle for it :-)

seventh,…obviously you have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER concerning asia… lets take, for example, japan… just watch one japanese tv show and you will see LOADS of people degrading themselves…with pleasure…but what the heck… i REALLY dont think that argumantative comments fit into your kind of ‘stating’ opinions G

eigth, the last two questions under presure (time limit) can lead to wrong answers with LOADS of people…just forget that 99 has two digits, or forget the 90s at all (9,19,29..99)…and you proudly proclaim ‘eleven’ as a result…here i go again…trying to argue objectively…not your cup of tea, i know…sorry…

ninth, summerising…so what about the 50% of the questions you missed? and… is your statement, that adults -being out of school for decades - are MORE suitable to answer 9th grade test questions, than 9th grader themselves astonished look … oh, yes and one more thing…how would an average brit do on the test, rofl, and… what would the brit or for that matter a citizen from another english native speaking country do, if the questions werent in english, roflhao….

tenth, get over your issuses…and yourself… get a life…an open minded one while you are at it ;-)

by the way…as you might have guessed… i am a non english native….so i hope for forgiveness for typing errors G

….my nationality you might ask…!? well, i would put it ‘international’…helps to avoid sentences/statements/slogans that start with ‘the germans, the brits, the…’

HAVE A NICE DAY…AND FOR THE UNLIKELY G EVENT YOU ARE N O T POSTING THIS COMMENT… frame it and hang it into your ‘kraut-torture-chamber’…just kidding :-)))

July 14, 2006, 2:05

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