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Benchmark educational standards for better policy development, says IDB
Published on April 18, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Therese Turner-Jones, the general manager for the Inter-American Development Bank’s Caribbean Country Department, has emphasized the importance of benchmarking based upon international standards in education, with the goal of developing better educational policies and systems in the Caribbean.

Turner-Jones noted that the IDB is working in partnership with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to increase the participation of Caribbean countries in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

PISA is a triennial survey of 15-year-old students; in the most recent PISA survey conducted in 2015, 540,000 students in 72 countries were tested on science, reading, maths and collaborative problem-solving. PISA assesses the extent to which students near the end of compulsory education have acquired key knowledge and skills that are essential for participation in society.

Turner Jones pointed out that “PISA enables policymakers to gauge the knowledge and skills of students in their country in comparison with those of other participating countries, and establishes benchmarks for improvements in the education system.”

She added that “the regularity of the assessment enables countries to monitor their progress in meeting key learning objectives over time and assess the impact of policy decisions.”

Additionally, the PISA evidence base identifies the characteristics of high performing education systems, and it allows governments and educators to identify effective policies that they can adapt to their local contexts.

The IDB head was speaking at the press launch of the University of the West Indies’ School of Education’s biennial conference at the UWI’s Mona Campus on Wednesday, April 12. The conference is being held from June 20 to 23 under the theme, Envisioning Future Education: Cross-Disciplinary Synergy, Imperatives and Perspectives.

Committed to advancing the generation and dissemination of knowledge in the region, the IDB has partnered with the UWI as a main sponsor for the conference, which will hear from experts in various fields exploring issues and presenting solutions to the main challenges currently confronting the education sector.

Endorsing the conference, Ruel Reid, Jamaica’s minister of education, youth and information, noted that the conference theme is “instructive and exceedingly relevant” at this time. He noted that if Jamaica is to achieve its Vision 2030 goal of becoming the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business, education must be repositioned in collaboration with society’s needs.

Reid also outlined strategic steps being taken by the ministry to improve educational outcomes and thanked the IDB for its support and partnership over the years.
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