Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Monday, July 5, said that the World Bank owed the Philippines a “public apology” after its report on student learning outcomes and well-being put the entire country to “shame.”
“The country was insulted and shamed. We expect and look forward to a public apology, especially since they [World Bank] released old data,” Briones said during the televised public briefing of Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
Briones pointed out concerns on the handling of the said World Bank report which – once again – put the spotlight on the quality of education in the country.
“The data used was old, it came from the PISA [Program for International Student Assessment] assessment in 2018, since then, there was a lot that happened already,” Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Briones also noted that the World Bank “did not follow protocols” when it comes to releasing reports on a specific country. “Walang ‘excuse me’, di namin alam (We were not informed),” she said, saying that the report was made public first before the DepEd was informed.
Another point of concern for DepEd, Briones said, is that the World Bank report “did not include the new developments” related to the education reform initiatives undertaken by the government – through the Education department.
Briones also pointed out that the World Bank has been a partner of DepEd since the 1980s through the loans secured by the country to improve the state of education – among others.
Among the findings in the said World Bank report is that “more than 80 percent of children do not know what they should know.” The said report was based on three different international large scale assessments participated by DepEd since 2016 including the PISA in 2018 and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) – both in 2019.
The said report also pointed out that the” “poor performance is deeply rooted in students’ limited proficiency in the languages in which schooling takes place” and that “there is an unacceptably poor school climate, with high levels of bullying.”
Briones said that the World Bank already sent her a “personal” apology, there is a need to issue a public apology because it did not just harm the DepEd but the image of the country as a whole.
“Apology muna. Pinadalhan ako ng sulat, personal apology, pero hindi naman ako ang natatamaan dito, ang bansa (Issue an apology first. We received a letter containing a personal apology but I am not the only one who was affected here, the entire country),” she added.