OECD education director praises Turkey’s improvement
Turkey has been very successful at educating more children, said a senior official for international assessment exams at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Dec. 19.
“When you look at the year 2003, it's only a small proportion of Turkish students, the minority were enrolled in secondary schools, today it’s 73%,” Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s education director, told a conference on education in the Turkish capital Ankara.
“So Turkey has shown the world you can educate more children,” he added, calling this a “very important message for many countries.”
Schleicher added that only a few countries are moving forward on education, leaving most “standing still.”
“[It’s] so hard to improve and change what we do in education, so many forces in our society that are holding us back,” he added.
According to a December report, Turkish students improved across all three tested disciplines -- math, reading and science -- on the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests.
Administered by the OECD, the PISA exams assess 15-year-old students in 79 countries in math, reading and science, releasing performance reports on a country-by-country basis.
It ranked students from Turkey as 42nd in math, 40th in reading skills, and 39th in science.
Schleicher also said that Turkey is one of the countries with the biggest rise in education investment, and praised Turkey for closing the gap between girls and boys on education.
“Turkey has been quite successful at moderating the gender gap in both reading and mathematics,” he said.
“Boys and girls in science and Turkey get very similar PISA scores,” he added.
According to an Education Ministry report, after suffering from low PISA scores in 2015, Turkey scored significant improvements in all three skills in 2018, one of the only three countries to do so.
Turkey has taken part in the triennial PISA surveys since 2003.