PISA scores too high in Peru

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Peru's education minister is in trouble just when the country's PISA scores have risen sharply.  The Economist called it a "small act of national suicide".  It's article begins:

"FOR most of this century, Peru’s economy has shone: income per person has doubled in the past dozen years. But education failed to keep up.  In 2012 Peru ranked last among the 65 countries that took part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which tests the reading, maths and science proficiency of 15-year-olds.  Fortunately, Peru then found an outstanding education minister.  Jaime Saavedra, an economist whose mother was a teacher, spent ten years at the World Bank, rising to be vice-president for poverty reduction.  Appointed three years ago to the education portfolio, he was the only minister to keep his job when Pedro Pablo Kuczynski replaced Ollanta Humala as Peru’s president in July.  He has generalised a previous pilot plan to link teachers’ pay to performance, overhauled teacher training and school management and begun a crash programme of repairing dilapidated school buildings.  He has also championed a law passed in 2014, which for the first time subjected universities to minimum standards for probity and educational outcomes.  Mr Saavedra’s stewardship has brought results.  Performance in national tests has risen sharply.  The latest PISA figures, which were released on December 6th, confirmed this trend: Peru was the fastest improver in Latin America and the fourth-fastest in the world.  Far from celebrating this achievement, the following day the opposition majority in Peru’s Congress subjected Mr Saavedra to an 11-hour interrogation, conducted with the manners of a playground bully.  On December 15th it was due to vote to sack him.

He's not in trouble, of course, just because of the PISA results (which no one in Congress seems to know much about), but for other reasons as well, but you'll need to read the Economist for the detail.  Meanwhile, Mr Saavedra's equivalents in Wales and Scotland paddle on serenely, knowing no one will be sacking them any time soon despite their lack of achievement.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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