Serbian Education Minister Mladen Sarcevic refused on Tuesday to answer an N1 TV reporter’s question about the results of PISA tests, saying that he expected her to ask what he thinks should be normal questions.
Serbia ranked 45th on the The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) testing conducted in 2018, the OECD said on its web site. PISA is a global study conducted by the OECD in member and non-member states to evaluate education systems by evaluating 15-year-old pupils' performance in math, science, and reading first organized in 2000 and repeated every three years. The 2018 results were presented at the minister's news conference.
The minister was asked to comment the fact that the 2018 scores were lower by two places on the rankings list compared to 2012 results but refused to answer saying: “I expected a creative question, you didn’t pay attention in class. If you had, you would have asked a normal question”.
The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) condemned what it said was the arrogant behavior of Education Minister Mladen Sarcevic towards N1 TV reporter Jelena Mirkovic and his inappropriate remarks to her and other reporters at the news conference in the government headquarters. “We are calling the minister to apologize to Jelena Mirkovic and reply respectfully and politely to questions by journalists in future,” NUNS chief Zeljko Bodrozic said in a statement which praised FoNet reporter Vesna Vujic for standing up for her fellow reporter.
The N1 reporter asked if he felt responsible for the drop on the PISA rankings list and Sarcevic replied that the question was completely out of context. “I won’t comment. You have to re-learn the lesson. You would have scored very low on the PISA test,” he told the reported.
The minister’s words prompted a reporter for the FoNet news agency to say that he should not take that attitude towards journalists. “We are here for the sake of the public interest and this is your attitude towards the public interest,” FoNet reporter Vesna Vujic said.
Sarcevic walked out of the Crvena Linija (Red Line) talk show on N1 TV in June this year refusing to reply to a question from host Marina Fratucan.