May 28, 2022

Trinidad and Tobago among Latin America and Caribbean countries with improving education systems

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From Antigua Observer

WASHINGTON, Dec 6, CMC – A new study has found that while students throughout Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) continue to be among the lowest achievers on international learning assessments, countries like Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, and Trinidad and Tobago have joined the list of rapidly-improving education systems.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluates, every three years, what 15-year-old students know and can do in science, reading, and mathematics.

The PISA 2015 results show that Trinidad and Tobago is the only Caribbean country among the 10 LAC countries that participated in the evaluation. The others are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

In the global science rankings of the 72 participating countries and economies led by Singapore (1), Chile heads the list of countries from the region at number 44. Uruguay (47) is next, followed by Trinidad and Tobago (53), Costa Rica (55), Colombia (57) Mexico (58), Brazil (63), and Peru (64). The Dominican Republic concludes the global science ranking.

Half the students in the region are low performers in PISA, which means that they do not possess the essential knowledge and abilities to actively participate in society. Of the eight million 15-year-old students from participating countries, 5.4 million did not achieve the most basic proficiency level.

“We know that the region has great room for growth” said Emiliana Vegas, Chief of the Education Division at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

“But it fills us with hope to see these first results of the efforts made by governments, families, and students,” Vegas added.”

While the region continues to improve its performance on the assessments at a relatively rapid rate, it must accelerate its progress to match the growth rates of OECD countries.

Peru, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago are among the 10 countries with the fastest rates of improvement in science. Peru also demonstrates consistent improvement in mathematics and reading. Between the last two editions of PISA (2012 to 2015), Peru, Colombia, and Uruguay have been among the countries that improved most quickly, each showing progress equivalent to half a year of schooling.

PISA 2015 also showed that participation in the assessment grew throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, granting greater weight to the results from the region. Not only has the number of participating countries from the region increased, but, within each country, the number of students in the education system who took the test also grew.

This demonstrates greater inclusion and highlights the commitment of the region to improve education quality, the IDB noted.

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