#WeDeserveBetter: PBEd urges stakeholders to address the Philippines’ learning crisis

They say, “the youth is the hope of our future,” but when the education system is compromised, the picture of the future becomes blurry.

The Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) painted the learning crisis in the country in an online roundtable on July 5.

For starters, the most recent school year, 2020 to 2021, saw 26.66 million basic education students enrolled, 3.63 million students in higher education, and 753,000 students in technical-vocational education and training (TVET).

Though these may seem a lot, the budget allotted for spending per student is insufficient, hence hindering the full potential of the Philippines’ education sector. 

Data chart by PBEd

Alongside this budget dilemma are other underlying problems that equally need attention. These include:

  1. Malnutrition of students
  2. Insufficient books for students
  3. Public schools’ lack of internet access
  4. Teachers’ proficiency
  5. Moving up of junior high school students despite low proficiency in subjects like Mathematics, English, Science, Filipino, and Araling Panlipunan

The Covid-19 pandemic has only worsened the situation—1.1 million students left unenrolled this school year and 1,179 private schools closed in 2020.

For those who enrolled amid the pandemic, shifting to online classes has become a unique challenge as the internet connection is usually subpar, not all children have access to gadgets for the remote setup, and not all households are capable of being an excellent working environment.

PBEd’s policy reform agenda

“Education is supposed to enable social mobility. But the learning crisis is holding our people back and keeping many in poverty,” PBEd Chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr. emphasized.

PBed then suggested policy reforms to address the problems and create a better education system for the students and teachers as well. 

Foundational reforms target these aspects:

  1. Increase in the education budget
  2. Implementation of the Philippine Plan Action for Nutrition (for pre-primary education)
  3. Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE)
  4. Teacher Education Scholarship for Achievers (TEACH Bill)
  5. Assessment System

Complementarity between public and private education is also suggested in order to provide more work-based training, alongside the Jobs Next Bill that will enhance employability by providing skills vouchers and incentive programs for over 7 million Filipinos. 

Through these initiatives, the demand for a better education system is heightened and the hope for eradicating poverty and other societal problems continues. 

About the Author

Tricia Allyson Salvador is a Communication student from the University of Santo Tomas and currently an intern of SubSelfie.com.

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