How does a 15-year-old Senegalese student’s academic results compare to those of students in Europe, North Africa, Asia, or South America?
For the moment, this comparison is impossible to make as Senegal lacks the evaluation tools necessary to produce accurate comparative data. Like the vast majority of sub-Saharan Africa, Senegal has yet to conduct an international education assessment benchmarking the knowledge, skills, and competencies produced by its education systems.
This is now set to change. Supported by financial and technical assistance from the World Bank, Senegal has become the only country in sub-Saharan Africa (besides Zambia) to participate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA for Development or PISA-D).
Senegal’s participation in the international PISA-D assessment, which was officially inaugurated in Dakar in January 2015, signals the country’s commitment to ensuring that its youth receive quality education and acquire the competencies needed for a global economy. Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Senegal’s Minister of Education, said, “This offers our country the opportunity to improve its evaluation system and align with international standards by comparing Senegalese students with those of other countries in the world to better understand what has been acquired in terms of knowledge, skills, and competencies. This will also allow us to readjust teaching methods in order to achieve significant improvements in the quality of student learning.”