More than 2,000 students between the ages of 15 and 16 years would be attending the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA-D) for development from November 1 to 15 to identify the status of education in the country.

Principal Education Monitoring Officer of Bhutan Council for School Examinations and Assessment (BCSEA), Arjun Kumar Gurung, said that the aim of participating in PISA-D was to mark the baseline of competencies and knowledge of the students as the country has not participated in an international test before.

“Bhutan education blueprint mandates the country to participate in an international assessment. If everything goes well, we are also planning to take part in PISA with about 80 countries,” he said.

Students from 53 schools across the country would be tested in reading, mathematics and scientific literacy for two hours. It would be followed by thirty minutes background questionnaire.

Arjun Kumar Gurung said that no data was available to reflect the true standard of education in the country.  “Although BCSEA has the data from the board exams, they do not give true status in terms of student learning.”

He said that the test would also help look at policies related to education, resource allocation, and provide an opportunity to reflect on the education system as a whole.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) prepared the questions and sampling for the PISA-D.

“OECD required access to all data with BCSEA from classes PP to 12. The data of students who fall in the testing age category were also required,” said Arjun Kumar Gurung.

“BCSEA looked at the context of the question. If the question is something about train, then we let them know about it as it is not relevant,” he said, adding that OECD would alter the context.

The test would be conducted in English.

Two preliminary tests have already been conducted as part of the preparation for PISA-D.

Teachers and principals from schools will participate in the questionnaires to gauge the learning environment in the particular schools.

The result of the test would be declared next year.

Rinchen Zangmo