By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) announced on Tuesday that the Philippines will be be joining the next round of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scheduled in 2021.
The DepEd said that last March 6, the Executive Committee, led by Education Secretary Leonor Briones, eliberated on whether DepEd will join the 2021 round of PISA or not.
“After reviewing the results of the informal survey on the matter conducted among Execom members, Central Office and Regional Directors, and major partners in education, and taking into consideration the update on ongoing preparations, the Secretary made the decision that the Philippines should participate in PISA 2021,” the DepEd said.
DepEd said that Briones made the formal announcement on the decision during the Management Committee (ManCom) meeting held last March 11 citing as “impetus the overwhelming support of, and commitment for cooperation and help from, civil society and professional organizations, as well as the multilateral and bilateral partners for DepEd’s participation in PISA 2021.”
“We do not expect that by next round, we will become number one [but] we believe that it is possible not to be last or second to the last this time,” Briones said.
Briones assured that the entire DepEd will be involved in the preparations for PISA. “We saw our weaknesses as well as our strengths and we also saw that, even as we landed at the bottom of the list, we have select schools that got even higher than OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] average scores,” she said. “With enough preparation, our schools can improve but we also need to focus on schools that need help,” she added.
Briones directed DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio and Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan to lead the preparations for PISA 2021. The ongoing preparations focus on the development of modules for the awareness and deeper understanding of teachers and students of the PISA test; mapping of the PISA test frameworks against the K to 12 curriculum; and, familiarization with the PISA test approach and computer-based testing.
Call to postpone 2021 PISA due to COVID-19
With the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic globally, Malaluan said that DepEd will submit an official position calling for a one-year postponement of the next round of the PISA test.
“COVID-19, however, created uncertainties and constraints on the movement of people, and presents additional challenges for the PISA preparations globally,” said Malaluan in a statement. “OECD PISA is now consulting country participants on the administration of PISA 2021,” he added.
Upon the instruction of Sec. Briones last April 10, Malaluan noted that DepEd will submit an official position calling for a one-year postponement of the next round of the PISA test, or for it to be administered in 2022 instead.
“Should OECD PISA decide to push through with the test in 2021, DepEd will keep its options open on whether to proceed or withdraw from PISA 2021, based on the developments in the COVID-19 situation in the country,” Malaluan added.
For the first time in 2018, the Philippines joined the PISA as part of its efforts to uplift the quality of education in the country. Briones, in an earlier statement, noted that joining PISA signaled DepEd’s “determination to confront the challenge of quality in basic education, find out our standing in terms of global standards, take advantage of an assessment designed and constantly updated by education experts, and to have data for further study.”
The 2018 PISA results showed that Filipino students fared “worst” among 79 countries in terms of reading literacy and second lowest in both scientific and mathematical literacy. It also revealed that the country scored 353 in mathematics, 357 in science, and 340 in reading – which are considered “below the average” of participating OECD countries.
Following the announcement of the 2018 PISA results, DepEd launched in December its “Sulong EduKalidad” initiative to address the challenge of quality education. The new campaign aims to upgrade and globalize the quality of basic education in the Philippines and focuses on four key reform areas: K to 12 Curriculum review and update; improvement of learning environment; teachers’ upskilling and reskilling; and, engagement of stakeholders for support and collaboration.