Final Word from Monday, December 13, 2010

How many Czech 15-year-olds spent their weekend submerged in a book? Not many, if the PISA 2009 survey is accurate. According to it, 42.7% of them do not read for pleasure at all, and 40.5% of them "only read when they have to." Compare this to Shanghai, where only 8.0% of the students admitted to not reading for enjoyment and 11.0% only read when they have to. Reading is a "favorite hobby" for 70.0% of the Shanghai kids, compared to 33.0% of the Czech children. Of course 97.3% of Czech 15-year-olds use a cellphone, 90.5% connect to the internet at home, 86.8% use a home desktop computer, and 83.2% make use of an MP3 player. Comparable figures for Shanghai aren't available, but the CR is above the OECD average in all gadget categories except game consoles. The conclusion should be obvious to anyone who can understand a simple text ... which a growing number of Czech 15-year-olds cannot.[Czech Republic China schoolchildren literacy]

Glossary of difficult words

gadget - an electronic device, esp. one that is ingenious or novel;

overload - an excessive load or amount;

to be submerged - to be immersed or buried;

desktop computers - in addition, 37% of Czech children use a laptop (some clearly use both).


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