Pisa results show progress, Ministry of Education says

Country remains committed to entering top 20 by next round of assessments, in 2021

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - September 18, 2019: Tour of Apple International School, Class Room. Wednesday the 18th of September 2019. Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Powered by automated translation

Nearly two thirds of UAE schools included in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) have shown progress in mathematics, the UAE's Ministry of Education said on Tuesday.

The 7.5 point increase in average maths scores was hailed as "remarkable" by the government, that said it remains committed to entering the worldwide top 20 in the next round of assessments — which will take place in 2021.

The UAE has participated in the rankings since 2009 and they are taken seriously by the government. Last year, pupils across the UAE sat 'mock' Pisa tests in an effort to prepare them for the assessments.

More than 19,000 15-year-olds across the UAE sat the exams, one of the highest figures of the 79 countries and territories included in the rankings. The total population of 15-year-olds in the UAE, at the time of the tests, was 59,275, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, indicating that almost a third took part.

"The results showed that the pupils in both public and private schools across the UAE achieved remarkable progress in mathematics skills, advancing eight points on the scale of assessment over the previous edition," a statement from the Ministry of Education, reacting to the figures, said.

"Some 49 per cent of the schools made progress in reading skills and 47 per cent in science skills. The schools achieved a progress of 62 per cent in mathematics.

"The assessment is particularly important because it is included in the National Agenda, which outlines the future of the UAE and the broad lines of its general targets, under which the UAE will be among Pisa’s top 20 countries in the world by 2021."