Education value

Education  in the  Philippines  is suffering a  setback  because  not  much  attention  is  being  given  to  it.   There  are  many  drop-outs,  many  do not  even  finish  high  school  and  hardly could  a  student afford  to go to the University.  

Today,  out  of  10  children  who  start primary  education,  only  six  are  able  to continue  their  secondary  education,  but  a  measly  number  of  4  will  reach  the  university  level.  This  is   a  case  to worry  about.   Although  literacy  rate  in the  Philippines  appears  to have  improved  over the  past  years, at  92.6%,  the Philippines is 81st  in the  ranking  of  the world’s literate  countries.  The quality of education  leads  to  the economic  development of  a  nation.  This  is what the human capital theory  states.   It  means  that  the more  and  better educated  the people  of  a  country  the  greater  the  chances  of   improving  its  economy.   But  it  doesn’t  hold true insofar  as  the Philippines  is  concerned,  because  education  does not  reach  the  totality of the  young  children  who  are  supposed  to  be the  future  of  the  country.   This  reminds  me  of two passages and  I quote: 

“Children are one third of our population and all of our future”.  ~Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981

“Children are  the world’s  most  valuable resource and  its best hope for the  future”.  John Fitzgerald  Kennedy, USA 35th President (1961-1963)   

 These  passages alone will tell us  that education  is the eventual “salvation”  of  the country’s  future  development.   We’ve  got  to  strengthen  the  education  of  the young  children  in order  to  expect  better  chances  of  experiencing economic  development.   But  what is going  on?!,  There  are  important  issues  which  should  be  closely  looked into and  resolved.

1.  Quality  of  education –  There was  a  considerable  decline   in the  quality of  education in the Philippines especially  in the  elementary  and  secondary levels.    How  in the world  could  a  teacher  handle  a  class of  50 to 60  children in the  class  room  while  the  ratio  should only  be  1:25?   Another example  is  the  National College  Entrance  Examination  for  college  students  conducted among  elementary and high school  students.   Results  showed  way  below  the  target  mean  score.  What  could  be done about  the quality of education?   I  believe  teachers’  salary  should  be  upgraded. Philippine  school  teachers  are  underpaid,  and  they have little  incentive  to  take up  advanced  trainings.  Thus,  the  quality of education  suffers. 

2.  Philippine Constitution has  mandated  the  allocation  of  the highest  proportion of  the national   budget  to education.  Unfortunately,  the Philippines  remains  with the lowest  budget  allocations  to education among the Asean  countries.  What  could  be  done?  Perhaps  the  budget  systems  should  be  amended  to  earmark  more on the  regions that  actually  receive lower  education  allocation  in comparison with  other regions.  

3.  Education  expenditure  among  the  social  groups.   For example, the socio-economically  poor  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.  A possible  solution could  be more scholarship programs  extended  to the  poor.  This  will at  least  provide equity   and subsidy to state universities and colleges  should  be  cut  off  to enhance  access.

4. Inequality  on the proportion  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.  Apprenticeship  program with the involvement of the  private  sector  could  be  developed.   Active  participation from the private  industries  that  are attuned to the  needs of  business and industry  should be tapped.

The  lack  of  attention   on the part  of  authorities  to  resolve  the  issues   has  led  concerned  individuals  or private  entities  to  create  programs  or  organizations  to  at  least  provide  some  remedies  to the  problems  of  education.  And  I would  like  to  make  reference to one  of  those –  Leapahead Charitable Institution.   To have  further information about  the  institution,  please  visit  below  link:

 http://www.leapaheadph.org/

It  is of  vital  importance  that  the educational  system  in the Philippines  is  given the  much  needed  attention  it deserves.     

If  we don’t  act  now,  who  will,  the  authorities?   And when  the situation  is  already beyond  measure?

Muchas  gracias  y  adios  a  todos…Eric

In my next  issue,  I will feature  a Filipino  personality who’d become successful  in  his/her  field of  endeavour.  Learn  how  he/she was  able to go  through the challenges  in  life.  So,  hang on for it..

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