HRD Ministry ends PISA boycott

HRD Ministry ends PISA boycott after 9 years

Having not participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) since 2012, India has now decided to end its boycott of the examination.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, under Prakash Javadekar, formally decided to end this boycott last week. The ministry, will dispatch a team of officers to Paris this year to negotiate India’s terms of participation in 2021 with OECD.

What is PISA ?

  • PISA — introduced in the year 2000 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) — tests the learning levels of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science.
  • The test is carried out every three years.
  • The PISA assessments were started in 2000, but India made its debut in the “extended cycle” of the test for 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 2015, Singapore, Japan and Estonia were ranked as top three countries, in that order.

Why India boycott PISA ?

  • India stayed away from PISA in 2012 and 2015 on account of its dismal performance in 2009, when it was placed 72nd among the 74 participating countries

What would be the changes this time ?

  • Unlike 2009, when schools in Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh had participated, the Union government will request OECD to administer the test across all schools in Chandigarh in 2021.
  • There are roughly 100 government, government-aided and private senior secondary schools in the Union Territory. According to sources, the HRD Ministry has obtained the consent of the Office of the Chandigarh Administrator for the same.
  • 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.

Reasons to choose Chandigarh :-

  • First, it is a compact area.
  • Second, we wanted to keep 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.

The team of government officials that will be sent to Paris soon to negotiate terms of participation will request OECD to draft questions that fit the Indian socio-cultural context, in other words, to frame questions that carry terms and references that Indian students are familiar with.

About OECD :-

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 36 member countries headquartered in Paris, France.
  • It is a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members.
  • As of 2017, the OECD member states collectively comprised 62.2% of global nominal GDP (US$49.6 trillion) & 42.8% of global GDP (Int$54.2 trillion) at purchasing power parity.
  • OECD is an official United Nations observer.

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