CONFIRMING INDIA’s participation in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2021, the HRD Ministry signed an agreement with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) on Monday.
PISA — introduced in 2000 by OECD — tests the learning levels of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science. The test is conducted every three years. 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. The then UPA government had blamed “out of context” questions for the poor show in 2009. The country, subsequently, chose to not participate in the 2012 and 2015 cycle.
As first reported by The Indian Express on February 22, 2017, the HRD Ministry, under the NDA government, first revisited this decision in 2016. The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), at the government’s behest, set up a committee to review the matter and its report, submitted in December 2016, recommended that the country participate in the 2018 test cycle. A similar recommendation was made in 2017 by the group of secretaries on education constituted by PM Narendra Modi. By then, however, India had missed the application deadline for the 2018 cycle and hence, a decision was taken to participate in the 2021 cycle.
“This will lead to improvement in learning levels of children and enhance quality of education in the country. The OECD has agreed to ask some questions based on Indian context. I am confident that our students will perform well,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday. The agreement with OECD was signed by Maneesh Garg, joint secretary at the ministry, and Andreas Schleicher, director, PISA, at OECD.