Catalan Education Minister admits system 'needs reform' after poor PISA results

Anna Simó ruled out immediate major changes and urged families to trust schools

Catalan Education Minister Anna Simó
Catalan Education Minister Anna Simó / Blanca Blay
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

December 11, 2023 06:03 PM

December 11, 2023 07:25 PM

Catalan Education Minister Anna Simó, in her first appearance six days after Catalonia's poor PISA results were announced, admitted that the education system "needs reform" but ruled out any immediate major changes. 

"We should not make sudden steering maneuvers. Education does not require constant curricular and systemic changes," she said.

Simó emphasized the need to strengthen an education system with "very good foundations," while acknowledging areas where it "wobbles." 


The 2022 PISA test results for Catalonia showed a decline in all three assessment areas, placing Catalan students below the average for both Spain and other nations within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).   

In a controversial move, the education department blamed the poor results on an "overrepresentation" of immigrant students taking the test, but backtracked on Wednesday, saying the sample of students in question accurately reflected Catalan schools.  

In response to the poor results, Simó appealed to families that they keep trusting in the education system and in its teachers. She assured parents that adecuate measures are being taken to improve the quality of education.

"Together we will overcome this. I trust in your work," Simó said to teachers.  "You will have the support to get through this period calmly and under good conditions."

One of the measures announced by Simó is a "fundamental change" in the High Council of Evaluation, an advisory body responsible for reviewing the sample of educational tests. She wants to transform it "into a powerful agency" for educational evaluation and research.   

Simo has also announced that she will present ten measures to Parliament to improve education in the long term. Among the measures are proposals for education laws to last more than two terms, strengthening the inclusion of vulnerable students and ensuring universal and free education for children aged 0-3.