The Labour Party does not agree with the government decision to keep Malta out of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) held earlier this year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). PISA is an indispensable international audit of our Malta’s education system and not just of student performance. It helps us understand where we rank internationally with the countries that compete with us for investment. Our success as a society and as an economy depends also on the skills and formation that students acquire in our education system
PISA does not assess student performance only but also audits policies, resource allocation and the leadership and management of the education system so it puts governments under the lens to see what they are doing to improve the education system.
Government has tried to justify the decision not to participate in PISA 2012 by saying that it has taken part in PISA 2009+ with the results being known in 2011 and so there was no need to take part in assessment so soon. Countries like Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates also took part in 2009+ but they still went ahead and took part in 2012.
Government is afraid of PISA as it cannot manipulate the results the same way it tries to manipulate the SEC results every year boasting that many students are passing their SEC results when in fact an unacceptable high rate still does not. While government boasts that over 90% pass in mathematics and science, the PISA 2009+ showed that over a third of our 15 year old lack the linguistic, mathematical and scientific literacy skills needed to function productively in today’s world.
The PISA 2009+ showed that a third of our 15 year olds lack the linguistic, scientific and mathematical literacy to participate productively in today’s world. The Ministry of Education did not publicise the results of PISA 2009+ Other countries held seminars and discussions nationwide to discuss the results and assess what needs to be done to improve their educations systems.
But we are burdened with a very superficial government obsessed with propaganda and publicity to put itself in a good light at the expense of those thousands of children and young people who are still falling behind in education and who do not figure among the priorities of the present government.