Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said on Wednesday the ministry would evaluate the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) study to enact reforms to the system, following the poor results of Cyprus.
“Our goal remains to evaluate the results of this important study and use it in implementing our educational policy,” said the minister who took over the post on Tuesday.
The education ministry said that results had improved in maths and sciences compared to the previous research cycles in 2015 and in 2012, but there had been a significant decline in reading comprehension.
The ministry made no other comment on the results which saw Cyprus ranked 47th out of the 79 countries tested and scoring less than average in all three areas: reading comprehension, maths and science.
In the study Cyprus scored worse results in reading comprehension than in 2015, having scored 424 points compared to 442 then.
However, maths and science scores slightly improved, with the first one recording 451 points in 2018 up from 437 in 2015 and the latter scoring 439 points compared to 433.
However, the officer of the Educational Research Centre Christiana Nicolaou said there was a reason the students performed poorly in reading comprehension.
She said based on their studies conducted through student surveys, one in three students said the climate at school was inconducive to learning, due to bullying or poor discipline in the classroom.
“The amount of students in Cyprus [who were bullied] increased 16 points from 2015 to 2018, with this increase being the largest in the participating countries,” she added.
The Pisa programme aims to assess the quality and effectiveness of the educational systems of the countries participating in it.
The report took into account data from the year 2018 and compared it to that collected in 2015.
Pisa is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-olds.
In 2018, 600,000 students representing about 32 million 15-year-olds in the world took the two-hour test.