Brussels, December 6 (MTI) – Hungarian students scored worse in reading comprehension and in science in a PISA test conducted last year than in a similar test in 2012, according to an OECD report published on Tuesday.
Participants in the 2015 test showed similar results in maths as three years earlier. But in all three areas they scored below the average of OECD countries, the report said.
The PISA system, introduced in 2000, measures students’ performance across OECD countries. The test is conducted every three years.
Commenting on the report, education state secretary Laszlo Palkovics said that it was too early to see results of Hungary’s new national curriculum introduced in 2013.
Palkovics also said that the test comprised of three different surveys on different groups of students, and while “the results are in correlation at some level”, they are not comparable.
The opposition Jobbik party also criticised the government for its “failed” education policy. Dóra Dúró, the party’s deputy group leader, told a press conference that the human resources minister should resign or “at least give up the education portfolio”. According to Jobbik, fundamental changes are necessary such as a radical reduction of the material to be taught at schools, she said.
Péter Niedermüller, MEP and deputy head of the leftist Democratic Coalition (DK), insisted that the government “is deliberately destroying” Hungary’s public education. In a statement, Niedermuller insisted that the “regrettable situation” was a “direct consequence” of the government’s education policy. He argued that the government had “curbed the freedom of education, stopped competency-based programmes, eliminated subsidies for poor students, promoted segregation, disregarded the rightful demands of teachers and introduced a rigid curriculum based exclusively on factual knowledge”.
The opposition Socialist Party called the PISA results “shocking, disastrous”, and demanded that the human resources minister should resign. Socialist deputy head of parliament’s cultural committee Ágnes Kunhalmi insisted that the PISA report reflected a “total failure of the government’s dumbed-down education policy”. She added that the results would be better “even if the government had not done anything at all since 2010”.