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MoE begins international reading skills assessment

25 May 2021

The Ministry of Education (MoE) will begin the implementation of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2021) on Wednesday in all governorates of the sultanate. 

The PIRLS is an international evaluation study organised by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to measure reading skills among fourth-grade students. This year is the third participation round for the sultanate, after the 2011 and 2016 rounds.

According to a statement, a sample of 222 schools have been chosen to represent the sultanate in this study, of which 189 are government schools, 17 private schools, and 16 international schools from all educational directorates in the governorates. 

The number of students participating in the actual application as a random sample in this study reached 6,381 fourth-grade students where 372 students participate from 15 schools in the Governorate of Dhofar, and 232 students from eight schools in the Musandam governorate. 

From Muscat governorate, the number of participating students is 825 from 28 schools, and 505 students are participating from South Sharqiyah governorate. 

South Batinah governorate participates with 653 students from 22 schools, Buraimi with 10 government schools and 272 students, North Sharqiyah with 340 students from 14 schools, 298 students from 10 schools from Dhahirah, 174 from eight schools from Al Wusta, and 717 students from 24 schools from Dakhliyah governorate.

H E Dr Abdullah bin Khamis Ambosaidi, Undersecretary for Education in the Ministry of Education, said that the international study for measuring reading skills PIRLS 2021 is organised by IEA based in the Netherlands, which is an independent international body consisting of representatives from a group of educational institutions, research centres and government agencies. 

“The International Study PIRLS is conducted once every five years, and it is concerned with measuring reading comprehension skills in the language of study in the participating country, in order to achieve a number of objectives, the most important of which are: comparing the level of students in each country with their counterparts in other participating countries, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the students, and help in developing and implementing plans that contribute to the development of students’ abilities and competencies in reading comprehension,” he said.

He added, “The choice of the fourth-grade students in the international study PIRLS, is because it represents an important turning point in the child’s reading development.

“The improvement of education in the sultanate received much attention from the ministry, and because this development needs to be evaluated in order to obtain indicators about the extent of educational and reading development in particular among fourth-grade students to enhance its educational outcomes, compared to other international levels, the ministry sought to participate in the study to obtain these indicators. This is to achieve a number of objectives.”

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