India agrees to end PISA boycott. Click here to know about PISA and why it was boycotted

Published on: Sep 6, 2018 15:46 IST
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Prakash Javadekar

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has decided to lift its ban from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The PISA assessments were started in 2000, but India made its debut in the "extended cycle" of the test in 2009 with 16,000 students from 400 schools across Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In 2012, schools of Shanghai in China topped the Reading, Mathematics and Science test, followed closely by Singapore.

In 2012, the programme was banned in India after its dismal performance in 2009, when India was placed 72nd among the 74 participating countries. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was introduced by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) to test the learning levels of 15-year-olds in Reading, Mathematics And Science. The test is carried out every three years.

What is PISA?

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment that measures the 15-year-old students' Reading, Mathematics and Science literacy every three years. The assessment was first conducted in the year 2000 and the major domain of study rotates between Reading, Mathematics and Science in each cycle. The PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem-solving.

The PISA basically emphasises on the functional skills that the students must possess during the end of his or her compulsory schooling. Coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the assessment is done by the PISA is conducted in every three years. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental organization of industrialised countries and is conducted in the United States by NCES. Data collection for the most recent assessment was completed in 2015.

Government lifts boycott on PISA

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has formally decided to end the boycott on PISA. According to the sources, the government is planning to send its team to Paris this year to negotiate India’s terms of participation in 2021 with OECD. The government will urge the OECD to administer the test across all schools in Chandigarh in 2021 unlike 2009 when Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh only participated in the assessment. In addition to schools in Chandigarh, the HRD Ministry is keen that all Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and Navodaya Vidyalayas (NVs), funded and run by the Centre, also take the test.
"Chandigarh was selected for three reasons. First, it is a compact area. Second, we wanted to keep the number of languages (in which the test has to be administered) to a minimum. In Chandigarh schools, students are taught in Hindi and English. Third, Chandigarh has a record of performing well in learning assessments," said a ministry official to The Indian Express.

According to some media reports, the HRD Ministry under the Modi government first revisited this decision in 2016. A committee was set up by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), at the government's behest to review the matter. A report was also submitted in 2016. The committee stated that India should participate in the 2018 test cycle. A similar recommendation was made in 2017 by the group of secretaries on education constituted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By then, however, India had missed the application deadline for the 2018 cycle.

School students

Why was PISA boycotted?

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was boycotted during UPA rule in 2012. The Government had blamed "out of context" questions for the poor show in 2009 and decided to not participate in the 2012 and 2015 cycle.

Written by: Victor Dasgupta

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