Pisa Tests | “If in Colombia there is no teacher training and constant evaluation, we are not going to improve in education”: expert

Luc Williams

Andrea Escobar (AE): The results of the Pisa tests in general are a photograph, if we could say it that way, of the situation of the learning processes and educational quality that the post-pandemic has left for Colombia. In general, negative variations were evident in the three dimensions evaluated , and this situation is replicated in the average OECD countries, so, one could say that in the end we are a country that, within all the vicissitudes that we saw during the pandemic, the results could have been worse, but I also believe that We are being presented with the opportunity and the door to understand that we have a pending task and that is to evaluate the learning and leveling of the boys and girls, in order to give them the tools they need to move forward.

AE: We have not had the best scores, but I believe that we have important strategies here, in which Colombia should advance. First, Colombia has to talk about teacher training programs and teacher directors that are relevant to the territories, that respond to the particularities of the rural areas of the country, and differentiated by the trajectories of teacher directors; Colombia does not have a teacher professional development system and that also impacts quality. This year we published the second edition of the opinion survey on education from Entrepreneurs for Education and one of the data that the survey revealed is that one of the possible factors of student dropout is the way teachers teach and evaluate, So in general we have a challenge with the teaching profession in our country to strengthen them, because they are the main factor for the learning of boys and girls.

Second, we have to evaluate more in Colombia, what is not evaluated is very difficult to make correctives and remeasurements to make it better, so if we continue scoring poorly, we must understand where we are failing.

Third, it is necessary to promote complete educational trajectories, what does this mean, promoting efforts at the ends of the trajectory, from early childhood to middle school, which is also one of the challenges that the statutory law has right now, which is very interesting, is the mandatory average, why is the mandatory average important, because there are regions in our country where young people reach ninth grade and when they are going to move on to tenth grade, there is no offer, because it is not mandatory, so it comes a very important challenge for the country and it is not minor that the statutory law is regulating that the average is mandatory.

AE: Basically in mathematics and look at how mathematics is related to the topic of reading, because when reading comprehension skills are developed, competencies and comprehension skills are also being developed, for example, of mathematical problems, this conversation is not new, no I’m telling you something that we are discovering now, we have been talking for many years about strengthening the reading skills of boys and girls, because this leads you to critical thinking and this connects with logical mathematical thinking, which is what allows you to solve problems. issues.

If we dream of a country in which we have older programmers, that we talk about science and technology, we have to turn to two fundamental areas, reading and mathematics, and that is where we have to give it a lot of strength, but this is surrounded by an element that we cannot lose sight of, which are the social and emotional competencies, which are what allow us to truly be part of a society, to self-regulate, to be empathetic, to be able to understand the differences of others, to be able to make that combination, to It can be the most powerful combination with teachers prepared to be flexible enough to respond to the demands of the system of society in general.

AE: I think that beyond what we are doing well, I feel that Colombia has made progress in coverage issues, in general Colombia has important coverage, we, in this second edition of the opinion survey, there is one piece of information that I like a lot and 94% of Colombians recognize that education is important, Colombian society already recognizes the value of education, it recognizes the value of mathematics. We have another question in the survey, which are the areas of knowledge that you consider most important, and point mathematics first, imagine this coincidence with the Pisa tests and the recognition also that we are understanding that the territories are different. So I think that in general in the educational system what we have to have is a lot of empathy, a lot of resilience, and understand that the educational system in Colombia has to be increasingly flexible.

AE: We have a challenge, and that is that our boys and girls in the country do not speak English, the reality is that when the results of the Saber 11 tests come out, we always end up with low performances, and we are not even reaching high percentages of B1. According to the Common European Framework of Reference, one of the strategies, and I return to a topic that is coming up here today with all the fundamental areas of learning, are teachers, the evidence shows that a teacher, no matter the area of ​​the knowledge, who speaks English, it is much more likely that the child will be more sensitive to learning the second language, why? Because it will invite him to investigate, to do tasks, to search for content in that second language. So, one of the challenges we have as a country is to understand that for a child to learn a second language, one of the variables is that the area of ​​knowledge does not matter, the teacher must have knowledge of that language.

Second, understand how those teachers are graduating with those bilingual competencies and skills; and third, it is necessary that hours be given and subjects taught in the classrooms in the second language. Here we return to strengthening teaching work, if we want to transform the Colombian educational system, we have to make all possible efforts to support teachers.

AE: I believe that this government has faced a very difficult task and it is post-pandemic, receiving a system that has had many challenges in terms of mental health, in terms of emotional support for boys and girls who are no longer in the educational system and that does not is minor. So I believe that what this government is called to do is to focus actions so that we can really move forward. Today the Pisa tests make a clear call: recovery and leveling of learning, for that we must evaluate in order to understand how we are going to give our children a better country.

AE: There are several interesting things within the statutory law, and the first thing is that it talks about the dignity of teaching work and differentiates teachers from teaching managers, and this is very important for the system, because this can provide a door for that teacher training policies be guaranteed permanently and flexibly, that they are broad and integrated, with the being, knowledge and work of teachers and that is very important.

There is another issue and it is also the main objective of the statutory law, which is to promote education as a right throughout life, from the educational level that begins from scratch, that is, from birth to six years. and immediate basic education at 16, and it is not a minor achievement that the compulsory secondary school is being sought, that is not so common, that is not in the imagination, because many of the Colombians graduated from school and did not know that grade tenth and eleven were not mandatory, but Colombians who are in rural areas, who have not had access to education, stay in grade nine, so the statutory law seeks to regulate or normalize certain debts that the Colombian educational system has and Where it will be very important to work now is how to materialize this proposal and how this later impacts the system with the General Participation System with the reform, I believe that new important conversations will open for the country.

AE: More than qualms, we from the Entrepreneurs for Education Foundation have been participating and being part of conversation tables, and there I believe that there is an interesting part and that is when we talk about public service, because education, as important as it is, It has to be an essential public service, because in the end this cannot stop, boys and girls, we saw it with the pandemic, when they cannot go to school look what happens, and we are already seeing it with the results of these Pisa tests . So, I believe that more than objections, it is to achieve that in this entire exercise of the reform of the statutory law, what is best for the well-being of the educational sector is put at the service, including the teachers, directors and the beneficiaries, who are the boys and girls.

AE: There are several. First, the provision of the service cannot be stopped, the new leaders start on January 1st and around January 14th the boys and girls from calendar A enter Colombia, and they have to work on those splicing teams, which I I know that the connections are already being closed, but let’s say that the equipment is already connected, the provision of the service must be guaranteed, which means guaranteeing the provision of the service that, for example, the school feeding program is ready, that the issues administrative services are ready, security is also ready, because the school cannot start, that is, if the surveillance issues are not active, the school cannot operate, so the first priority is to ensure that the educational service does not stop.

Second, build territorial development plans and this is more than setting goals, because today Colombia has 4,600 goals in education, that is what the goals of the 97 Secretariats of Education add up to, so it is an invitation to build development plans. territorial in education, that really respond to the mobilization of indicators and the critical indicator that they must have is long, of leveling and recovery of learning, focused on mathematics, reading, on the support and development of socio-emotional skills that today is x-ray that the Pisa tests are leaving us, and of course, strengthening teaching work.


Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.