Peru came in last place in the latest survey of education indicators in 65 countries carried out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD.
The ranking, which was released on Tuesday, showed that Peru ranks last in reading comprehension, math and science.
Peruvian students scored below regional countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, but also countries below Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Tunisia, according to the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA.
The OECD’s results were based on assessments of 15-year-olds in reading, math and science in the organization’s 34 member countries and another 31 middle-income countries, which include Peru. The OECD said the assessment involved a two hour paper-based exam.
“The results reveal the precarious situation of Peruvian education,” said Idel Vexler, a former deputy Education minister.
The new Education minister, Jaime Saavedra, said the discouraging results mean that “dramatic and urgent” changes are needed in the education system, particularly in training and updating teachers in new methods and in encouraging students.
But as Saavedra pointed out, “this is not something that has occurred in two or five years, this is the result of two decades or more” of poor education work. He said that the reading standard has improved several points from an earlier assessment “but the saga goes on.”
According to Erika Dunkelberg of the educational policies research center at Antonio Ruiz de Montoya University, the problem lies in a lack of strong education policies in initial and primary education, when children do not consolidate their reading and writing skills and then never catch up as they go through school.