Polish Schools Top of the Class

Top of the Class?

Top of the Class?

“In international rankings, Polish people are ahead of Americans in teaching science although they spend much less money per student,” says Amanda Ripley, author of a book about effective education systemsThe Bama Companies Inc., based in Tulsa, Oklahoma has produced bakery products since the 1920s. However it has recently experienced problems with their employees; the company wants them to think critically, but most of the youngsters who graduated from local schools have problems not only with critical thinking, but also with reading and solving simple mathematical problems. Therefore, the company has decided to open a new factory in Poland. “We’ve heard that it’s a country full of educated people,” says Paula Marshall, Chief Executive Officer of The Bama Companies Inc. This is one of the stories that Amanda Ripley, an American journalist, mentions in her book entitled “The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way”. In the book she describes countries which, in her opinion, teach children how to think. Poland is one of them and she says that in last decade Polish education has improved enormously. Ripley wonders what are the reasons for the success of Polish education and failure of the American system and tries to explain it in her book. She describes different education systems in the world. In order to understand what happens in classrooms she checked on American students who went on international exchanges to Finland, Poland and South Korea. However, not everyone is so enthusiastic about Polish schools. Many Polish internet users who have taken part in the discussion on forum of The Economist say that Ripley does not see the fact that the Polish education system is based on students who cheat, poor group-work skills, and most of all, on memorising rather than understanding. Students are not motivated by teachers and if they want to continue their education at universities they often take private lessons. They also add that many students leave Poland with no intention of coming back. The question, therefore, is whether the education system in Poland is in fact as good as Ripley says and is the American one as poor as she believes.

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