PISA results, International Meeting for Higher Education. What’s the next step for Peru?
In the light of the PISA results from the OECD that have just come up today it is worth putting in parallel the relevant questions that were raised yesterday at the International Meeting for Higher Education (2nd Encuentro Internacional de Education Universitaria Superior) that is currently held in Arequipa, Peru.
This year Peru is ranking 64/70 (62/70 countries for reading and 63/70 for maths.) OK, not great. Can do better. Still there is some improvement in comparison to the previous years and that is what I would like to focus on in this article.
This time I was not part of the speakers but just a curious observer of the deep change that Peru is experiencing in terms of education and in terms of strategies to implement change.
The focus of the conference yesterday was about the quality of teaching and its assessment. How can we ensure that Peru delivers a high quality of teaching that would be competitive with the rest of the world? What are the challenges faced by the country and the opportunities that are offered?
Maria José Lemaitre del Campo (Directora Ejecutiva del Centro Interuniversitario de Desarollo, Chile) raised some valid questions related to the evaluation of the quality of teaching in Peru. Should education be considered a social right or a consumer good? In other words should the government take some –financial- role in education or should it be left to the private sector? Do we focus on selection or massification of the Higher Education? How do we integrate MOOCs and other technologies in education? How do we deal with globalisation with students who can’t easily get out of the country?
Peru is at a crucial point in its History in Education. Political and Education actors should work hand in hand to build (the word “contruir” was used a lot yesterday) a solid Education recognised on a national level and possibly on an international level.
However, this does not mean that Peru should blindy copy what is done in other countries. Niclas Jonsson, Consejero de Educacion y Ciencia de la Embajada de Australia con sede en Brasilia mentioned some interesting points about Australia’s Education (PISA Ranking Australia 14/70) and he also said something quite right: “The Education in Australia is good but far from being perfect. Peru should take what is good about it, leave the bad parts and ADAPT the good parts to its own context.”
Totally right. Every country should be aiming at implementing the best education system possible. However, the mistake many countries make when they want to improve on their education system is that they take ideas and concepts from other successful countries without applying the necessary critical thinking to implement these ideas.
Education takes time and THINKING.
Now here are some of the questions to open up the debate about the implementation of policies regarding the evaluation of teaching quality in Peru:
- If Peru is looking towards implementing a National regulator defining National Standards for Quality, who will be part of it? Foreigners having the experience of these standards but little knowledge about the Peruvian context? Peruvian teachers who know their country but have little insight of international standards? Both?
- The implementation of National regulators and standards have raised some concerns in some countries as they have been synonyms for more paperwork and pressure on teachers which was detrimental to the teaching-learning time. How will Peru avoid the trap of paperwork and standardisation to increment a real improvement in learning?
- We are at a time of globalisation and English is key. The vision of the Peruvian government is to form bilingual students by 2021. Many teachers don’t have the skills or knowledge to teach English. Will the focus be on hiring foreign teachers or training teachers here in Peru so that they can be in charge of the education of their own country?
The debate is open…