The Philippine government must declare an “education crisis,” Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday, July 11, noting the “bad data” on the education system in the country.
This suggestion came after the World Bank apologized to the Philippines for the “inadvertent release” of its education report that said the country’s education system is lagging. It did not, however, said the report was inaccurate or false.
“Dapat magdeklara na tayo krisis sa edukasyon para pagtuunan ng malaking pansin (We should declare an education crisis so we can focus on improving it),” Robredo said during her weekly radio show.
The vice president cited the Department of Education’s (DepEd) own data based on the National Achievement Test (NAT) score of those in Grade 10 level.
According the scoring, only one percent of junior high school students are proficient in Math, three percent in English, and one percent in Science.
She noted various education groups that already reported on the poor quality of education in the country using data from different assessment bodies.
Robredo also cited a separate assessment from the Asian Foundation that said 34,500 of the schools in the Philippines have no internet access while 5,000 are without electricity.
“Para sa akin, isa iyong [proof] na meron tayong krisis sa education. Hindi lang dala itong ng World Bank. Hindi lang naman ito yung una (For me, that is proof that we have a crisis in education. This is not brought about by World Bank alone. This is not the first),” Robredo said.
“Masama talaga iyong datos (The data is really bad),” she added.
The World Bank’s “Improving Student Learning Outcomes and Well-Being in the Philippines: What Are International Assessments Telling Us? (Vol.2): Synthesis Report Presentation” report said that “more than 80 percent of children do not know what they should know.”
It used three different international large scale assessments participated by DepEd since 2016 including the Program for International Student Assessment (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 country was rated last in reading and second-to-the-last in science and mathematics among 79 countries.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones called the report unfair, and demanded an apology from the World Bank.
Instead of asking for an apology from international bodies that do these assessments, Robredo said that DepEd should focus on fixing the education problem.
“Ang tanong: ano ba iyong ginagawa natin para maclose iyong gap na ‘to (The question is what are we doing to close this gap?),” she stressed, adding that the country needs to do all it can to subvert the crisis.
“Parati iyong sinasabi ko during the pandemic dapat all hands on deck na tayo rather than maging defensive tayo. Kapag hindi natin ito gagawin, sino yung kawawa? Kawawa iyong mga bata, sila talaga iyong nagsasuffer (This is what I’ve been saying during the pandemic that we should be all hands on deck rather than become defensive. If we don’t do this, who will be at the losing end? It’s the kids who are going to suffer),” Robredo said.