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THE REALITY OF EDUCATION IN THE PHILIPPINES

posted Jul 10, 2017, 1:21 AM by Jose Dasig
by: MICHAEL JUNE P. ALEGRE

Compared to education systems in other Southeast Asian countries, access to higher education in the Philippine education system has traditionally been widely available. However, at the primary and secondary school levels, access and completion rates have been declining significantly in recent years. The universal primary enrollment achieved in 1970 has been on a long-term deterioration in quality, with the national figures obscuring wide regional differences.  In Manila, close to 100 percent of students finish primary school, whereas in Mindanao and Eastern Visayas less than 30 percent of students do.

The United Nations’ The Millennium Development Goals Report 2006 reported that the Philippines was the only country in the Southeast Asian region for which the youth literacy rate decreased between 1990 and 2004, from 97.3 percent to 95.1 percent.  Meanwhile, between 1992 and 2009, the nation’s net primary enrollment rate dropped by a significant margin from nearly 96 percent to just over 88 percent. Although the 2013 level of 95% signaled a rise to its near 1992 levels, the elementary completion rate was less than 74% in 2013, indicating a significant drop-out at the elementary level.

To help address these issues, the country began the implementation of major structural and curricular reforms with the Kindergarten Act of 2012 and the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, extending formal education from just 10 years to 13 years (K-12, or mandatory year of kindergarten and two years of senior high school).  Designed to stem the high dropout rates that have plagued the system for decades, the reforms address the need to make students better ready for postsecondary training.

            The transition period began with the enrollment in 2012-13 of the first cohort of grade 1 students who will graduate, after 13 years, from the entirely overhauled education system. In 2017–2018 the first cohort graduates from the new primary and junior high cycles. Those graduating from the four-year junior high cycle will be the first in the nation to undertake the new two-year senior high school curriculum.

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