The Quality of Philippine Education in the New Millennium
Philippine education is strongly viewed as a pillar of national development and a primary avenue for social and economic mobility. It has undergone several stages of development from the pre-Spanish time to the present. It is handled by three government organizations, namely, the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (DECS), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The DECS govern both public and private education in all levels, with its mission “to provide quality basic education that is equitably accessible to all by the foundation for lifelong learning and service for the common good.”
The Filipino people have deep concern for education because it occupies a central place in political, economical, social, and cultural life in the Philippines. The government allocates a high budget every year for Philippine education and guarantees that every Filipino has the right to quality education. However, there are some important issues that needs to be looked closely and resolved by the government. Among the issues are:
- Quality of Education – This is the first major issue that the Philippine government should resolve but somehow it is recently improving. The quality of Philippine education has declined few years ago due to poor results from standard entrance tests conducted among elementary and secondary students, as well as the tertiary levels. The results were way below the target mean score. High dropout rates, high number of repeaters, low passing grades, lack of particular language skills, failure to adequately respond and address the needs of people with special needs, overcrowded classrooms, and poor teacher performances, have greatly affected the quality of education in the Philippines.
- Affordability – There is a big disparity in educational achievements across social groups. Students from wealthy families have excellent educational background gained from exclusive private schools at the start of their education until they finish college. Unlike the students from the less fortunate families, wherein most of them could not even finish elementary nor secondary level because of poverty. They could barely afford to buy school shoes and pencils, not even the tiny amount of tuition fees from the public schools.
- Budget – The government was mandated by the Philippine Constitution to allocate the highest proportion of its budget to education. However, among the ASEAN countries, the Philippines still has one of the lowest budget allocations to education. This is due to some mainstream political issues and humungous problems that the government is facing specially corruption.
- Mismatch – There is a large proportion of mismatch between training and actual jobs. This issue arises at the tertiary level and causes a large group of unemployed and underemployed. This is very true nowadays because of the arising BPO industries particularly the call center companies. Hundreds of thousands of young professionals, graduates or undergraduates from college level settled at this type of company because of the attractive compensation that they are offering. Call center companies do not require a specific degree of education, what matters to them is the proficiency in the English language.
There are some measures that the Philippine government has looked into for the reformation of quality education. Technology use is starting to gain momentum in the overall education of this country. This helped improve the quality of education in the Philippines and to be globally competitive in this millennium.