Canada's National System of Education is Excluded in PISA: Implications

By Ron Phillips.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: May 6, 2016 $US5.00

Education in Canada is constitutionally the responsibility of both the provincial/territorial and federal governments. The federal government of Canada is responsible for 518 schools and approximately 120,000 students on First Nations/reserves throughout Canada. These schools and students are specifically excluded from participation in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA only assesses students in provincial/territorial schools. The purpose of this paper is to examine Canada’s rankings in the OECD’s PISA. It is apparent that Canada has misinformed the OECD regarding education in Canada. Canadian education statistics and information is provided to the OECD by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), and Statistics Canada. These organizations do not provide education information from the federal government’s department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Analysis and examination of PISA, CMEC, and AANDC documents raises questions and possible reasons regarding the exclusion of First Nations students and schools with the resulting high rankings. Questions must be raised regarding comparisons using Canada’s PISA scores, rankings, and descriptions to highlight effective school systems and effective education policies. The paper concludes with a rationale for the exclusion of the federal system of education in international comparisons by the federal government and the CMEC—First Nation schools are poorly resourced which results in inadequate supports (e.g., school facilities, programs, and personnel) and poor academic achievement when compared to provincial/territorial schools.

Keywords: First Nation Education, Education in Canada, OECD, PISA, AANDC, CMEC

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, Volume 11, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.15-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: May 6, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 652.126KB)).

Dr. Ron Phillips

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Manitoba, Canada