SARAJEVO, December 3 (FENA) – Results of the first PISA survey in Bosnia and Herzegovina, released today, for the first time in 25 years, have offered our country realistic, internationally measurable indicators of the quality of education and the knowledge, skills and competencies of its students.
BiH is among 79 countries in the world that participated in the seventh cycle of the PISA survey in 2018, and the results show, among other, that every other 15-year-old has problems with functional literacy when it comes to the three segments the PISA survey covers.
Three areas are examined – reading and literacy, mathematics, and financial literacy. Each test focuses on one area as the “dominant” one which is thoroughly checked.
Bosnia and Herzegovina was ranked 62nd on the 2018 PISA test, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on its web portal.
Slovenia was ranked 21st, Croatia 29th, Serbia was 45th and Montenegro was 52nd.
The first two of the total of 79 places went to China and Singapore.
In BiH, a sample of 6,480 students was tested, in 213 primary and secondary schools, in which 46 fifteen-year-olds were tested, and reading literacy was the focus. The results show that the minimum level of functional literacy is not attained by 58 percent of students in mathematics, 54 percent in reading and 57 percent in science.
Director of the Agency for Preschool, Primary and Secondary Education of BiH (APOSO) Maja Stojkić said that PISA is not elitism or competition between countries, but a way to improve educational trends, to create mechanisms that will result in functional knowledge.
“The most important thing is that after 25 years we will stop looking for the culprits and focus on improving education. The main recommendation of PISA is the development of reading literacy – it is the mother of all other literacies and in BiH we must urgently encourage it, as soon as possible, to implement a common core curriculum,” said Maja Stojkić, Director of the Agency for Preschool, Primary and Secondary Education (APOSO).
Based on the results, she said, positive shifts in international research can be ensured, teachers’ competences strengthened and assessment systems strengthened as well, so that learning outcomes can be precisely measured.
“Our children are about three years behind OECD’s average. Reading literacy does not mean that someone can read or sign their name, but represents a process of understanding and analysis, and this research showed that more than 50 percent of students do not have basic functional literacy,” Stojkić emphasized.
Tanja Bastianić, from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), congratulated BiH on its successful participation in this cycle, demonstrating that it was prepared to carry out this technically demanding research.
PISA State Coordinator Žaneta Džumhur said that although the results are rather poor, there is room for improvement because unless the new steps and recommendations proposed by PISA are taken, this negative trend would continue.
Support to PISA research was also provided by representatives of the international community in BiH, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Alwin Nijholt, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH Johan Sattler, and Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH Kathleen Kavalec.
They emphasized the importance of quality education and expressed hope that the results of PISA would bring about positive reforms in education and that BiH authorities will ensure that these reforms are implemented.
The presentation of the official PISA survey results was also attended by US Ambassador to BiH Eric Nelson.