As she recognized the challenges that face the country’s education system, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Monday, Jan. 30, highlighted the need to address the issues that beset Filipino learners, who she described as “not academically proficient.”
During her presentation of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Basic Education Report (BER) 2023 at the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City, the official lamented how Filipino learners are “academically insecure.”
“Filipino learners are not academically proficient. Oftentimes, Filipino learners experience emotional abuse and exhaustion. Some Filipino learners suffer from psychological fatigue,” she told an audience that included President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who also delivered the keynote address.
Among the guests were Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Pia Cayetano, and Sherwin Gatchalian, Pasig City Lone District Rep. Roman Romulo, as well as Ambassadors Laura Beaufils of the United Kingdom and Huang Xilian of China.
“And being academically insecure, many of them may fail to meet the standards of the demanding and competitive world,” Duterte said, adding how these results are “caused and triggered by” conditions at home, communities, and schools.
“This is the truth...This is our future. But this is a future that we can change. And that’s why we are here,” she furthered.
In the event, DepEd presented the current state of education in the country, as well as the department’s priorities.
READ: VP Duterte to present DepEd’s basic education report
Duterte took pride in finally bringing learners back to school under the Marcos administration’s program of educational reforms.
Under the past administration of her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, students were schooled at home during the two-year Covid-19 pandemic.
“The current state of basic education behooves us all to take a courageous stand and calls us to work together with the intention and commitment to resolve the challenges in basic education,” she said.
“We fail and we fail our children,” Duterte added.
Alarmed by the literacy problems among Filipino learners, the Vice President and concurrent Education chief shared a report from a 2018 study results of the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA).
The results, she said, “are distressing as it is alarming for me as a mother and as Secretary of the Department of Education.”
According to Duterte, the study showed that “81 percent of participating Filipino learners could not deal with basic math problems, 81 percent had trouble understanding texts of moderate length, and 78 percent could not recognize correct explanations for scientific phenomena or draw valid conclusions from given data.”
While she is confident that “we can do better than this,” Duterte underscored the importance of these studies.
“But studies like these are opportunities for us to thoroughly examine our system and the defects that hurt our children’s abilities,” she said.