A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

European Youth Insights is a platform provided by the European Youth Forum and the European Sting, to allow young people to air their views on issues that matter to them. The following entry is written by Arif Shala,  doctoral student at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.

Arif Shala is a a doctoral student at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany and executive director at the Institute for Economic Development Studies in Prishtine, Kosovo.

Arif Shala is a a doctoral student at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany and executive director at the Institute for Economic Development Studies in Prishtine, Kosovo.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an assessment program developed to evaluate education systems around the world while testing 15-year-old students on their skills and knowledge. Since 1997, PISA has been considered as the most reliable source of information on the quality of education systems worldwide. Upon disclosing results the “PISA-shock” or the realization that much can be learned by other countries, has motivated countries to improve their education systems.

Countries like Kosove can learn three important things from PISA. First is the realization that increasing enrolment rates does not lead to better learning quality. Aside from the progress in increasing rates of enrolment worldwide, PISA results show that this does not automatically lead to learning. The country of Jordan, for example, has an enrolment rate of 91 percent but their PISA scores are below OECD average (Perlman-Robinson and Alexander, 2013). As a consequence, policy builders in Kosove should realize that education quality is separate issue from ensuring enrollment, providing the teaching staff and school buildings. To date, school budgets in Kosove are operational in nature, for example paying salaries, as opposed to being developmental (e.g. ensuring quality).

Secondly, by participating in PISA, Kosove can become aware of its current standing in relation to other countries. PISA is very important for us because it is a very honest evaluation of the learning quality. Not just Kosove, but other countries thought that everything was fine with their education systems but PISA happened in 1997 and countries such as Norway realized that was not the case.

Finally, PISA proves that progress is possible even in short periods of time. This is the first year we are participating in PISA but we will not know the outcome until 2017. Regardless of the results Kosove has an incredible opportunity to improve its education system by learning from the best. Other countries that used PISA to improve their education systems include Brazil which was at the bottom of the rankings in 2000 when it participated for the first time. Brazil utilized PISA to improve its policies and even if its education system is not ideal it is the one system that improved its quality more than any other system in the world over the past 10 years. Therefore improvements are achievable and do not need unlimited funds. Only 6% of performance differences are explained by national income, suggesting that 94 % of the difference in performance is determined by other factors for example good teachers or motivated and aspiring students (Solheim, 2015). Although we may not have unlimited funds, we can be smart about where we invest our money.

Why should we pay so much attention to our education system? Education is assumed to contribute to economic development and poverty reduction. Evidence from OECD countries in the period 1960-2000 shows that countries with higher test scores tend to experience higher economic growth. Experts also argue that if developing countries commit to improving education systems and reach the level of Finland, they should expect their GDP to double over a short period of time. What will happen once Kosove succeeds in improving its education system? As an economist, I am tempted to argue that we should experience growth and prosperity. However, the fact is that the link between education and economic growth is not that simple. Improving education systems is one story, benefiting economically from improvements is yet another one.

In cases like Kosove improvements in education will not translate to economic growth unless characteristics of bad governance such as corruption are depleted. Given that good governance is not a part of the Millennium Development Goals this factor is rarely considered but the truth is that governance is a powerful mediating factor for developing countries. Returns to education depend heavily on a government that is efficient, not corrupt and accountable. Without such a government developing countries have little to expect from education.






the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Draghi: printing a full extra trillion non negotiable to help all borrow cheaply

Resettlement needs set to rise to 1.4 million people in 2019, UN refugee agency reports

Greenpeace’s saints and sinners in the tech world

Business is stepping up its fight against climate change. This is how

Search Engine neutrality in Europe in danger: Are 160.000 Google filtering requests good enough?

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

These are America’s most dangerous jobs

North Korea: ‘Time to talk human rights’, says UN expert

Deutsche Bank slammed by the US-based trio of IMF, Fed and Moody’s

EU’s unsparing question to UK: now what kind of future relations do you want?

Chart of the day: When do young Europeans leave home?

Ukraine pays the price for lying between Russia and the EU

How to fight back against misinformation and polarization

This AI can predict your personality just by looking at your eyes

Germany loses leading export place

New Zealand will have a new ‘well-being budget,’ says Jacinda Ardern

China greenlights first underwater high-speed railway

The world wide web is 30. Here are 8 things you should know about it

Is Haiti better prepared for disasters, nine years on from the 2010 earthquake?

EU accused of being too nice with Gazprom in the infamous antitrust case

Let’s Learn

The health of the human being in coexistence with a transformative biosphere

G20 starts to tackle inequality

Is “Sustainable Development” a concept that integrates Health Literacy and Health Policy as a global health action?

“CETA is a game changer for major trade agreements”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Parliament adopts its position on digital copyright rules

Future fit: 3 ways fashion can be more sustainable

Can a Bavarian Oktoberfest beer indulger bring down the Berlin government?

These are the world’s most future-proof cities

PM May fosters chauvinism, declares trade war on Europe

EU seeks foreign support on 5G from Mobile World Congress 2015 as the “digital gold rush” begins

Amsterdam is developing a fleet of autonomous boats to reduce city traffic

Why a healthy planet and a healthy economy go hand-in-hand

JADE Spring Meeting 2017 – day 3: JADE Academy trainings, networking session and gala dinner – Excellence Awards winners revealed

The Italian crisis may act as a catalyst for less austerity

A few, or rather two, trade and economic alliances may rule our brave new world

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: The health of capitalism won’t be the only worry for those who head for Davos

EU Youth Conference in Amsterdam: enabling young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe

DiscoverEU: 15,000 travel passes up for grabs to explore the EU this summer

Further reforms will promote a stronger and more inclusive Hungarian economy

Better protection against non-cash payment fraud

A jingoistic Spanish ‘war’ from the past

How bad could British healthcare get for its citizens abroad post-Brexit?

Banks must take bold action to fight climate change. This is how they can do it

Sri Lanka PM: This is how I will make my country rich by 2025

Brexit: Britain and the Continent fighting the battle of Waterloo again

Feeding families remains complex task in war-torn Syria – UN relief agency

Uzbekistan wins its long fight against malaria, as global rates continue to rise

‘Ghost fishing’ is threatening our oceans. Here’s how we can tackle it

How wealthy people transmit this advantage to their children and grand children

Why the Fourth Industrial Revolution needs more arts graduates

Moving from commitment to action on LGBTI equality

Virtual Doctor: a core part of modern healthcare?

Backed by UN agency, countries set to take on deadly livestock-killing disease

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

4 steps towards wiping out cervical cancer

Lack of access to clean water, toilets puts children’s education at risk, says UN

These are the 3 key skill sets workers will need to learn by 2030

The vegan economy is booming – and Big Food wants a slice of it

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s