Issues in Philippine Education: In Retrospect
They say that education is the best social leveler. They say that it is the very answer to poverty, corruption, hate, and ignorance. If it really is like many people believe it is, then the study of the key educational, ergo curricular, issues in the Philippines is a significant endeavor that needs serious pair of eyes, ears and hands. According to the IBON Facts and Figures, the literacy rate in the Philippines has regressed a lot over the last ten years. This is attributed to the dwindling quality, relevance and accessibility of education—the very basic rights of the Filipino youth as etched vividly in the Constitution. Despite the good things that Department of Education has reported such as the increased number of classrooms and students, the fact remains that the crowding 1:70 classroom ratio, the decreasing aptitude of students and the decadence of the values of the young, among hundreds others, hamper the progress of the state of education of the country. From http://www.ph.net/htdocs/education/issue.htm, education in the Philippines may be summarized into the following four issues: 1. Quality of education, 2. Affordability of Education, 3. Government budget for education, and 4. Education mismatch. 1. Quality–There was a decline in the quality of the Philippine education, especially at the elementary and secondary levels. For example, the results of standard tests conducted among elementary and high school students, as well as in the NCAE and Board Exams for college students, were way below the target mean score. 2. Affordability–There is also a big disparity in educational achievements across social groups. For example, the socioeconomically disadvantaged students have higher dropout rates, especially in the elementary level. And most of the freshmen students at the tertiary level come from relatively well-off families. 3. Budget–The Philippine Constitution has mandated the government to allocate the highest proportion of its budget to education. However, the Philippines still has one of the lowest budget allocations among the ASEAN countries. This, not to mention the corruption component in the same institution that must abhor such act. 4. Mismatch–There is a large proportion of “mismatch” between training and actual jobs. This is the major problem at the tertiary level and it is also the cause of the existence of a large group of educated unemployed or underemployed. Here, also to consider is the degenerating educational mindset of working abroad or of working for employment no matter what it takes, with no regard to other more valuable intentions like social work, inventiveness and entrepreneurship leading to public service and better self-actualization. The following are some of the reforms proposed:
1. Upgrade the teachers’ salary scale. Teachers have been underpaid; thus there is very little incentive for most of them to take up advanced trainings. 2. Amend the current system of budgeting for education across regions, which is based on participation rates and units costs. This clearly favors the more developed regions. There is a need to provide more allocation to lagging regions to narrow the disparity across regions. 3. Stop the current practice of subsidizing state universities and colleges to enhance access. This may not be the best way to promote equity. An expanded scholarship program, giving more focus and priority to the poor but deserving, maybe more equitable. 4. Get all the leaders in business and industry to become actively involved in higher education; this is aimed at addressing the mismatch problem. In addition, carry out a selective admission policy, i.e., installing mechanisms to reduce enrollment in oversubscribed courses and promoting enrollment in undersubscribed ones. 5. Develop a rationalized apprenticeship program with heavy inputs from the private sector. Furthermore, transfer the control of technical training...
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