Nova Scotia students continue to perform above the international average in reading, mathematics and science, according to the latest assessment results. The 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), released today, Dec. 7, measured the student achievement of 15-year-olds in 65 countries, including Canada and each of the 10 provinces. Nova Scotia’s best showing was in reading, placing 13th in the world. Nova Scotia students also improved on the national stage, rising from the lower third among provinces to fifth in each of the three subject areas. “Our students are again demonstrating that they are among the best in the world, faring well against many of their counterparts in the United States, U.K. and much of Europe,” said Education Minister Marilyn More. “I congratulate students and teachers and encourage them, and boards, to keep up the good work.” The report found students in Nova Scotia performed at the national average in science, yet below the Canadian average in reading and mathematics. “While this assessment has a lot of good news for Nova Scotia, we need to do better,” said Ms. More. “Our challenge, as always, is to continue to improve within Canada. The financial and enrolment challenges facing our province also underscore the fact that we need to work closely with boards and our other partners to keep ourselves, and our investment in public education, focused on better outcomes for students.” Reading was the main focus of last year’s PISA study. “There was actually little difference statistically between Nova Scotia students and students in other parts of the country in reading,” said Vince Warner, director of evaluation services with the Department of Education. “Only two provinces, Alberta and Ontario, significantly outperformed Nova Scotia students.” Within the Nova Scotia results, the study also found: PISA follows the release of the International Baccalaureate results, which showed Nova Scotia’s IB students outperformed the world in 21 of 27 subject areas, including mathematics, English, biology and physics. The 2009 PISA study was administered to 2,133 students at 72 schools in Nova Scotia in April and May 2009. The assessment, conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, can be viewed at http://www.cmec.ca/Programs/assessment/interstudent/Pages/pisa2009.aspx . girls significantly outperformed boys in reading, while boys outperformed girls in mathematics no significant difference in performance between boys and girls in science French-language students performed below English-language students in reading and science on average, consistent with other minority language students across the country French language students, on average, performed at the same level as English-language students in mathematics. Nova Scotia has the smallest gap in average performance between boys and girls in the country, and the second smallest between language groups in achievement
Valentin Inzko, the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, told the Security Council on Tuesday that the situation was being heightened by a “general trend” towards stockpiling weapons across the Balkan state.“I am deeply concerned by the recent readiness among some politicians to refer to the possibility of a renewed conflict, including controversial statements by senior Bosniak politicians suggesting that a rearming effort was underway to ‘respond’ in case of a hypothetical war,” said Mr. Inzko.At the same time, senior Republika Srpska officials were also resorting to violent rhetoric, denying the statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina and advocating for eventual secession, he added.“Public comments were also made, glorifying convicted war criminals and calling for the return of an Republika Srpska army.”There needs to be a change in the way politics is conducted within the country – High Representative Valentin InzkoMr. Inzko warned that some Croat officials have “mused” about the territorial reorganization of the country and threatened the dissolution of the state if the current electoral issues are not resolved to their satisfaction.“Bosnia and Herzegovina is a single, multi-ethnic, sovereign state, consisting of two entities, in which all citizens – the three constituent peoples and others – live and work together, and elected officials above all have a responsibility to contribute to peace and reconciliation,” stressed the High Representative, urging all public figures to choose their words more carefully and responsibly.Progress cannot be taken for grantedIn his briefing, High Representative Inzko said while the country has made significant strides since the end of the war in 1995, the progress cannot be taken for granted.“The risk is that this divisiveness and sense of unease about the future of the country slowly seeps into the fabric of society,” he said, urging the international community to increase efforts to promote reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and across the region.“Beyond this, there needs to be a change in the way politics is conducted within the country. It needs to come from the politicians themselves, but we as an international community, individually and collectively, have an interest in encouraging this change.”The Office of the High Representative (OHR) is an ad hoc international institution responsible for overseeing implementation of civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina that saw thousands killed in fighting.In addition, the conflict witnessed widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity and necessitated the setting up of a special international court, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to prosecute those accused.ICTY concluded its work in December last year, having heard the testimony from nearly 5,000 people and sentencing 90 individuals for their crimes.