Portugal has made strong progress in education, approaching the average ranking in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the first time, according to a study released earlier this week.
The PISA 2009 report issued in Paris showed Portuguese 15-year-olds registering “impressive” gains over the previous study in 2006 in the key subjects of reading, mathematics and sciences, OECD director Andreas Schleicher told Lusa News Agency.
The Portuguese students received a classification of 489 points, just shy of the 493-point average among 470,000 students from 65 countries tested last year, the study showed.
The score placed Portugal alongside countries like the United States, Sweden, Germany, France, Ireland, Denmark, Great Britain and Hungary.
South Korea and Finland led the pack with 539 and 536 points, respectively.
“Portugal occupied the bottom of the pile in previous studies and this time neared the average for OECD countries, overtaking Spain, for example”, Schleicher said.
He attributed Lisbon’s eye-opening progress to “the policies followed in recent years and to a combination of factors, like the evaluation of teachers and serious control of the quality of teaching”.
In Lisbon, Education Minister Isabel Alçada welcomed the report as confirmation of “very significant” gains in Portugal’s educational system.
“Portugal has invested much in improving its schools and this is expressed in the results”, Alçada told Lusa, attributing the success “in the first place, to the work of teachers and their quality, investment and commitment”. TPN/Lusa