By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
While it is keen to participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2021, the Department of Education (DepEd) said it has “decided to submit” an official position for a one-year postponement of the next round of the assessment due to the COVID-19 situation.
DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Atty. Nepomuceno Malalaluan confirmed to the Manila Bulletin that the agency has submitted its position last Friday, April 10 to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) PISA.
“We submitted the DepEd position to defer administration of the next round of PISA by one year, from March 2021 to March 2022,” Malaluan said. “OECD PISA has requested position of the participating countries, so their decision might not be immediate,” he added.
In an earlier statement, DepEd said that the COVID-19 pandemic has “created uncertainties and constraints on the movement of people, and presents additional challenges for the PISA preparations globally. OECD PISA, it added, “is now consulting country participants on the administration of PISA 2021.”
DepEd said that should OECD PISA decide to push through with the test in 2021, the department “will keep its options open on whether to proceed or withdraw from PISA 2021” based on the developments of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Eager to join
Meanwhile, DepEd clarified that it is “still eager to join PISA” after thorough deliberation and review of 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.
Earlier, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones cited the “overwhelming support” as well as the “commitment for cooperation and help” from civil society and professional organizations, as well as from multilateral and bilateral partners. This, she noted, has become “DepEd’s impetus for participating in the next round of PISA.”
“We do not expect that by [the] 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. 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, said 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, both scientific and mathematical literacy. It also revealed that the country scored 353 in mathematics, 357 in science, and 340 in reading, all of which are considered “below the average” of participating OECD countries.
Briones said that should DepEd join the next round of PISA, the “entire department will be involved in the preparations for PISA to gauge the areas of strengths and weaknesses. “We also saw that, even as we landed at the bottom of the list, we have select schools that got even higher than OECD average scores,” she noted. “With enough preparation, our schools can improve, but we also need to focus on those schools that need help,” she added.
Malaluan, along with Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio, were directed by Briones to lead the necessary preparations for the conduct of PISA.
Currently, Malaluan noted that the ongoing preparations are focused on the development of modules for the awareness and deeper understanding of teachers and students of the PISA test, the mapping of the PISA test frameworks against the K to 12 curriculum, and the familiarization with the PISA test approach and computer-based testing.