Too Much Trump and Too Little PISA

Central Americans and other Latin Americans are feeling more concerned about what Trump can say or do, than over the only thing that can really change the fate of poverty in the region, which is education.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


The recently published results of the PISA tests confirm that in the best case, these countries maintain positions midway down the table of global results, and in the worst case have fallen in the objective measurement of quality of the most important resource for economic and social development, people and their cognitive abilities.

In Central America, Costa Rica is the only country that took part in the OECD's 2015 PISA program, which assesses the skills of its youth, which is already remarkable, because the first step to improving the management of any system or company is to measure its results. Panama, which participated in 2009, did not take part in 2015, although apparently it will in 2018. Other Central American countries simply do not participate. 

Trump's rise as a leader in the United States -and other demonstrations in many parts of the world of the weariness with the growing and dominant bureaucracies that make states less and less effective in fulfilling their main functions - should be seen as a serious threat to all countries seeking to get ahead with small begged advantage of ideological political favoritism in respect to the great economic powers. The choices being made by the next president of the United States over who holds positions in his cabinet, shows that he intends to do a lot of what he announced in his election campaign.  And it is very possible that Central America will suffer from the results of policies designed to make his concept of making "America for the Americans ... in the North" a reality. The River Bravo will once again be the border between North and South America, and Mexico, a very important trading partner for the countries of the isthmus, will be the main victim of the Trump government. And through the suffering of Mexico, Central America will also suffer. 

We must stop analyzing and comparing the results of the PISA tests and rejoicing because there are countries that are worse off than ours, or because we improved by one percentage point, or because "within the region we are not that bad".  We must RIGHT NOW, today, devote major State efforts to dramatically improving education systems, starting by carrying out PISA tests, setting the goal of reaching the level not of some of our neighbors, but of Singapore, Japan and Estonia.  

If we really want a better future for the coming generations -our children- we must stop wasting time on criticizing Trump - inane water cooler chatter - to face the corporatism of educational systems that are resistant to change and leave our own conformism in order to overcome the feeling of inferiority that we have with the developed world.

If we do not like Trump we should not complain, rather we should be much more competitive in everything, especially in education.

See Key results of PISA 2015.

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