The poor results of Kosovo in the PISA, the International Student Assessment Test, have sparked discussions on the country’s education system. Criticisms abound, pointing to a range of factors, from policy considerations and school infrastructure to the disruptive influence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decline in basic knowledge of reading, science, and mathematics among Kosovar students in the 2022 PISA test has elicited numerous reactions in public opinion regarding the quality of education in Kosovo. Although the assessment was considered expected, the results have brought attention to underlying issues.
The PISA test is conducted with 15-year-old students from 80 different countries, organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD.
Arberie Nagavci, the Minister of Education in Kosovo, has identified policies, school infrastructure, and textbooks as some of the factors contributing to the results.
Conversely, experts in the field of education in Kosovo attribute the decline to rote learning, a lack of prioritization of education, and insufficient accountability.
According to former Minister of Education, Arsim Bajrami, the key reasons for these results are the lack of prioritization of education, budget allocation for construction and infrastructure, and Kosovo’s hesitancy to participate in a test like PISA.
Bajrami emphasizes the need for national programs to revitalize education, similar to those implemented by countries like Germany and England, even if they performed poorly in previous assessments.
Education expert Dukagjin Pupovci holds a different opinion, suggesting that the results were expected due to disruptions in the learning process caused by the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 to March 2022.
Pupovci argues that the primary concern should not be the decline in results compared to previous years but the lack of improvement in the education system over time.
He expresses doubt that even without the pandemic, there would have been significant improvement in Kosovo’s education system.
Pupovci emphasizes the importance of credible results in national tests and advises parents to foster a love for books in their children from a young age, discouraging excessive use of cellphones.
Rinor Qehaja, an education expert from the ‘EdGuard’ Institute, contends that mechanical learning in Kosovo cannot produce students with the skills required to excel in tests like PISA.
Qehaja points to several shortcomings, including a lack of accountability and professional development for teachers, as contributing factors to Kosovo’s PISA results.
The PISA 2022 test was conducted from April 25 to May 20, 2022, with 6,027 15-year-old students from 229 schools participating. In mathematics, Kosovo is ranked 74th out of 80 participating countries, with 355 points. In reading, Kosovo is ranked 76th, with 342 points, and in science, it was ranked 77th, with 357 points. Kosovo scored 11 points lower in mathematics and reading compared to 2018, and 8 points lower in science.
Kosovo’s education system underwent the PISA test for the first time in 2015, ranking third from the bottom. In 2018, it climbed one place higher, ranking fourth from the bottom. The PISA test, held every three years, was not conducted in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.