Last Updated 16 | 08 | 2012 at 17:08

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Evarist Bartolo did not check facts on PISA 2012 - Education Ministry

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The Labour Party (PL) does not agree with the Government’s decision to not take part in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012, which was to serve as an audit of theeducation system, said Opposition Spokesperson for Education and Civil Rights Evarist Bartolo this morning.

He said that the PISA programme not only evaluates children’s abilities but it also gives a full analysis of the education system and related policy.

Government gave the excuse that Malta had already participated in PISA 2009+, and not much time has passed since then. This "excuse" has not been given by any other head of state, Mr Bartolo went on to say.

Another reason why Malta should have participated in PISA 2012, Mr Bartolo explained, is that for the first time this year, a computer-based assessment of literacies took place to assess childrens’ reading, mathematics and problem solving skills as well as their financial literacy.

The Government’s decision proves that it is scared by the prospect of having its education system internationally audited, even though it could give us a clearer picture of students’ progress in comparison to the progress of those in other countries.

Maltese students should be successful in an international context, Mr Bartolo concluded. 

In response, the Ministry of Education and Employment said that Evarist Bartolo “continues to repeat himself without verifying the facts”.

The Ministry said that last Tuesday, it issued a statement saying the Malta is taking part in the international student assessment programme known as PISA and will participate in the next assessment, which is to take place in 2015.

It said that in spite of this information, the Opposition spokesman for education said today that Malta did not agree to participate in the exercise, repeating the words reportedly spoken by Prof. Carm Borg on the subject in last Sunday’s edition of the publication Torċa.

The Ministry said that Malta participated in PISA Plus in 2009, for which preliminary research began in October 2009 and the study commenced in March 2010. Its results were published in December 2011. It said that in September 2008, the OECD invited Malta to participate in PISA 2009 Plus after a number of countries expressed interest in participating in PISA 2009. Malta accepted the invitation.

Preliminary research for PISA 2012 began in March 2011, and it was felt that it was too early for Malta to participate in it again since the results of PISA 2009 Plus had yet to be published in December of that year, the Ministry explained.

It said, however, that Malta will participate in the next cycle, PISA 2015, by which time proper study of the results of PISA 2009 Plus can be conducted and the education system can start reaping the effects of reforms taken as a result of the latter.

The Ministry added that the results of the first PISA 2009 Plus survey will also be reflected in the final version of the national curriculum framework. Other international studies that Malta participated in, namely TIMSS and PIRLS, also helped develop the vision for education in science and substantial parts of the national curriculum framework.

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