International education guru Sir Ken Robinson has criticised the world’s most trusted league tables for "squeezing out" other more creative subjects.
Sir Ken has built a career advising governments around the world on how to improve their schools systems but he has hit out at the hugely influential Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) for being too narrow in its focus.
Ministers regularly use the country’s modest standing in Pisa's maths, reading and science tests to justify its reforms.
But Sir Ken believes Pisa’s focus on just three subjects is to the detriment of other, more creative areas, which are being “squeezed out”.
In a video interview for the Core of Education website, he questioned whether governments were placing too much emphasis on international comparisons.
“Nowadays, countries tend to scrutinise each other’s education policies like their defence policies,” Sir Ken said in the interview, which took place ahead of the annual conference of leadership organisation ASCD in Los Angeles earlier this month.
“I’m all for making sensible data available for people looking around at what other countries are doing. The trouble is these particular league tables are focused on a very narrow conception of education.
“It’s mainly about literacy, numeracy and science, and of course these are very important. But the upshot is a lot of other very important areas of education, that matter just as much, are being squeezed out.”