Pisa tests shake up on the cards as empathy joins maths as a key skill
Global values as vital as maths and reading for today’s children
The Pisa school skill rankings will look beyond traditional subjects such as maths, reading and science to explore children’s attitudes, educators said at a Middle East-focused forum.
The Programme for International Student Assessment survey traditionally takes place every three years and measures educational performance in reading, mathematics and science.
Andreas Schleicher, director for education and skills at the Organisation for Economic Development, said those subjects were no longer enough to “educate children on how to live in an interconnected world”.
“Global competency is not an automatic by-product of being good at school
Speaking at a seminar held by the Bussola Institute, a think tank that forges connections between Gulf countries and the EU, Mr Schleider said schools should help pupils to understand social attitudes in countries other than their own.
“Global competency is not an automatic by-product of being good at school. Reading, maths and science are important but the attitudes that we create in young people matter at least as much,” he said.
Countries that traditionally fare well on cognisant development did not necessarily do so when it came to the various attitudes and values covered in the assessment, he said.
“On students’ awareness of global issues, those in Albania, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates scored substantially higher than the OECD average, while students in Argentina, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Romania, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam scored substantially lower than the OECD average,” he said.
Oman’s Minister of Education, Madiha Al Shaibaniyah, said greater emphasis on social and cultural values was needed.
“Rapprochement and cultural understanding is part of our philosophy,” she said during the conference.
“We are at a crossroads … the new vision 2040 is very ambitious and education plays a fundamental role.”
Her ministry was focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship and technology, she said.
Oman would take part in the Pisa survey in 2025, for the first time.
The social and economic crisis wrought by Covid-19 have added urgency to calls for education reform.
More than 1.5 billion pupils were sent home from school in March 2020 and many are falling behind in their studies as education moves online.
Updated: February 6, 2021 06:51 PM