Functionally Literate Filipinos: An Educated Nation
Philippine Education for All (EFA) 2015 National
Action Plan Implementation
I. General Introduction
Filipinos have deep regard to for education. Education occupies a central place in Philippine political, economic social and cultural life. It has always been strongly viewed as a pillar of national development and a primary avenue for social and economic mobility.
A clear evidence of the value placed on education is the proportion of the national government budget going to the sector. The Department of Education (DepEd), the country’s biggest bureaucracy, is given the highest budget allocation among government agencies each year as required by the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
The 1987 Constitution likewise guarantees the right to education of every Filipino. It provided that, “The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make education accessible to all.”
The right of every Filipino to quality basic education is further emphasized in Republic Act 9155 or the Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001. Along with Republic Act 6655 or the Free Secondary Education Act, these laws reaffirm the policy of the State to protect and promote the rights of all Filipinos by providing children free and compulsory education in the elementary and high school level. This pertains to six years of free tuition fees for children aged 6 to 11, and free four years of secondary schooling for those aged 12 to 15.
Along with “Education for All”, the Philippines is also committed to pursue eight time bound and specific targets under the Millennium Declaration which it signed on September 2000. The Declaration, in general, aims to reduce poverty by half in 2015 (22.65 percent proportion of the population below poverty incidence and 12.15 percent below subsistence incidence by 2015). With the adoption of the Declaration, the Philippines likewise affirmed its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) geared towards reducing poverty, hunger, diseases, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. These goals have been mainstreamed in the country’s Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2004-2010 including policies and plans related to children, access to primary education and gender equality. Specifically, Part IV of the MTPDP focused on “Education and Youth Opportunity.”
However, despite the legal mechanisms, budget prioritization and increased access, Philippine education has been dogged with issues. Among the issues that needs to be resolved but have improved lately include the high dropout rates, high number of repeaters, low passing grades, lack of particular language skills, failure to adequately respond and address the needs of people with special needs, overcrowded classrooms and poor teacher performances. These problems in turn resulted to a considerable number of illiterate Filipinos and out of school youths and graduates who are not prepared for work.
A. Philippine Education Structure
The Philippine education system includes both formal and non-formal education. The formal education is a sequential progression of academic schooling at three levels: elementary (grade school), secondary (high school) and tertiary (college and graduate levels). By structure, Philippine education is categorized either as basic (preschool, elementary and high school) or tertiary (college, graduate and technical/vocational).
Basic education pertains to optional preschool at age 3 to 5, then six years of elementary schooling for aged 6 to 11, and four years of secondary schooling for aged 12 to 15. Excluding early childhood care and development (ECCD) or preschool, Philippine formal basic education subsystem is one of the shortest in the Asia Pacific with just 10 years of basic schooling compared with 11 to 12...
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