Inspired by the PISA results, education authorities said yesterday they would allow more free time for students to pursue their hobbies and interests. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conducts the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) test for students globally. Officials said the PISA results in which Shanghai students topped three categories — reading, science and mathematics — showed that the city had achieved a relatively balanced education opportunities as the gap between students of low and high proficiency was very small. While persisting in the road of education reform, Shanghai will let students develop all-around and ensure schools must meet that diversified demand, officials said. To improve education equality, the city has been investing heavily in school infrastructure. Between 2006 and 2010, Shanghai invested nearly 10 billion yuan (US$1.64 billion) in school infrastructure in the suburbs to meet the increasing demand of children from migrant and relocated families, a report released by the Shanghai Education Commission yesterday showed. The report said there were 1.19 million primary, middle and high school students in the suburbs in 2010, accounting for 70.4 percent of the city’s total number. However, the number of suburban primary, middle and high schools accounted for only 63.7 percent of the total. In September, about 574,000 migrant children were enrolled or continued to study in Shanghai. Officials said there are three stages for Shanghai to achieve education equality. The first is to ensure every student gets the opportunity to learn. Secondly, the school condition shall beimproved by unifying standards. The third stage is to ensure the equality of teaching process in which teachers will have to play a key role. A survey showed students’ scores have very little to do with the investment in school facilities but are largely related to quality of teachers. By the end of 2010, more than half of the primary schools teachers and 93.2 percent of middle school teachers in Shanghai had a bachelors’ degree. Officials said there was still a difference in the teaching resources available in downtown and suburbs.