To improve the quality of secondary education and create benchmarks for students, Maharashtra is gearing up to participate in the upcoming Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey to be held in 2018, said state school education department officials.
“South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are among the top four in the earlier conducted PISA survey. If these Asian countries can excel on a global stage, it is possible for India and Maharashtra as well,” said Nanda Kumar, principal secretary of the department in a government resolution issued on Saturday.
Held once in every three years, the survey, which is designed and conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is an accepted litmus test for gauging where students stand alongside their peers from other countries. It measures the performance of 15-year olds in reading, maths and science.
But it will be a long road for Maharashtra. The national achievement survey conducted by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) last year revealed that state board students lag behind their ICSE and CBSE counterparts in the all the subjects.
Maharashtra board students scored 246 out of 400 marks in science, while ICSE students scored the highest, 342, and CBSE scored 298. Both Kerala and Karnataka students scored more than their peers in Maharashtra with 276 and 260 marks. Similarly, in English, maths, first language and humanities, Maharashtra lagged behind the rest.
The first step to prepare for PISA will be to raise these scores. “We will set the benchmark at 300 marks and will work on achieving it over the next two years. Then, depending on the performance, we will participate in PISA 2018,” said Kumar.
Educators said that international benchmarking will benefit students. “It is good to find out where we stand compared to other countries. It will give us a direction to shape our education policies,” said Basanti Roy, former divisional secretary of the state board.