Education minister on the PISA concerning result: ‘We don’t necessarily have to worry’. Experts, former ministers slam her stance


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Education minister Monica Anisie said in retort to Romania’s concerning result of the PISA test that “we don’t necessarily have to worry, for the focus is not specifically in what the pupils know, but on what is applied”.

“We don’t necessarily need to worry about this evaluation of the PISA tests, it is an international assessment. The focus of these international tests is not necessarily on what pupils know, but on applying the knowledge in specific life matters”, said minister Anisie, adding that the Education Ministry must find solutions to prevent such situations in the future.

The school system’s intervention must be quick through the curricula developed by the Education Ministry within the schools. It is a system issue, we should understand that teachers must be trained as well so that pupils could apply the theory learnt in school in the daily life, theory must be correlated with the labor market”, the minister said.

Moreover, she argued that the pupils whose knowledge had been checked by these PISA tests are the one who learnt following the old curricula, not the ones who learn on the new schoolbooks, approved in 2016.

“Maybe in three years when these pupils will be assessed, we’ll have better results”.

On the other hand, former Education ministers and other experts have slammed the incumbent minister’s stance, stating that PISA results are really concerning and we do have to worry about them.

Former minister Daniel Funeriu considers that current teachers are to blame for this outcome, proposing that teachers should also take the same PISA tests, saying the results will be “surprising”. Funeriu also proposed a “zero ground moment” of re-selecting teachers.

Instead of billions given to apartment NGOs, we’d better have a ground zero moment of re-selecting teachers…The idiocy brought by PSD has seized universities for a long time and it has now landed in the classrooms to contort the minds of our children,” Funeriu posted on Facebook.

The rector of the Bucharest University, Mircea Dumitru said in his turn that Romanian pupils are going to schools as if attending a show they are forced to attend, although they don’t like it or understand it.

Dumitru, who was Education minister for a short period in 2016, said the results of the PISA tests are the effect of the blunders and failed attempts to reform the education system in the past 30 years.

Another former Education minister, Mircea Miclea, opined that disastrous PISA results are first due to the significant regress of efficiency in education in Romania, but also due to other factors, the fact that the teachers’ salaries increased for nothing without being accompanied by performance criteria, but also due to the authorities’ incapacity to react to change things.

Miclea argued the results had been forecast by our national evaluations when the generation of mid-school or high-school pupils who took the PISA tests now was in the second grade. “Back then, the evaluation at the 2nd grade showed that 30 pc of pupils did not meet the minimum criteria in reading and mathematics. But the results of these assessments were hidden”, Miclea said, explaining the law has been deliberately violated by a complicity between teachers and the ministry.

PNL deputy Adriana Saftoiu says that the future PISA test will have the same results in Romania as long as the spirit in the Romanian schools is not changed. “It is not pupils to blame for now knowing to read the tag on the packet of biscuits”.

She added that the Romanian pupils are not taught in the spirit of the PISA assessment. “In our country, children don’t learn by drawing parallels among information, among subjects. They are taught to say some lessons by heart. So, I am not surprised at all we cannot manage to take this leap”, Saftoiu said.

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