Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid should explain why Malaysia is dropped from PISA 2015 although Malaysian students participated in the OECD assessment for what is described as the “world school report”

Educationists, teachers and politicians had been waiting for the OECD’s PISA 2015 results which had been described as the world’s school report – and Malaysia is no exception, especially as the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 had as one of its objectives the elevation of Malaysia into the top one-third of countries participating in international assessments like the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS).

Like educationists, teachers and politicians all over the countries whose 15-year-old students had taken part in the tests taken by half a million 15-year-olds in 72 countries in maths, reading and science – held every three years – I was waiting this evening for the launch and unveiling of the PISA 2015 results in London at 11 am UK time.

In 2015 over half a million students, representing 28 million 15-year-olds in 72 countries and economies, took the internationally agreed two-hour test. Students were assessed in science, mathematics, reading, collaborative problem solving and financial literacy.

I was shocked and stunned when I combed through the PISA 2015 Report, and could not find Malaysia in the in the world results. Malaysia was the only one of the 72 countries omitted from the PISA 2015 results.

As more and more countries have joined in, the Pisa tests have become increasingly important. They are now seen as the litmus tests for international educational standards.

Did the Malaysian education authorities did something dishonourable and disgraceful for Malaysia to be disqualified at the last minute from the PISA 2015? I do not believe that the several thousands of Malaysian 15-year-olds would have done anything to cause Malaysia’s disqualification from PISA 2015.

A full and detailed explanation from the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir is urgently warranted.

The latest PISA 2015 results show that East Asian countries still dominate the top of the tables, particularly in science and maths.

Singapore has come top in science, maths and reading. And East Asian countries have taken the top five places in maths and three of the top five places in science.

But in reading, while the top two places are taken by Singapore and Hong Kong, the next highest performers are Canada, Finland and Ireland. And in science, Estonia and Finland have made it to the top five.

“The fact that students in most East Asian countries consistently believe that achievement is mainly a product of hard work, rather than inherited intelligence, suggests that education and its social context can make a difference in instilling values that foster success in education,” said Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education.

This is also a lesson which Malaysian educationists, teachers and students must absorb, but how can we begin such a process when Malaysia is even disqualified from the PISA 2015?

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