Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quality education lacks...

February 27| MAKATI CITY – In the fourth part of Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD) and the Probe Foundation’s Mulat Pinoy Kapihan Series, Dr. Zelda Zablan, University of the Philippines Population Institute, Willie Prilles, Planning and Development officer of Naga City and Trustee of the Synergia Foundation, Dr. Leonor Tripon-Rosero, former chairperson of the Professional Regulations Commission and Bangon Pilipinas Vice Presidential candidate Atty. Perfecto “Jun” Yasay joined the discussion on population and education.

Education plays a vital role in economic development, but in the case of some developing countries like the Philippines the idea of education compliments with the term privilege rather than rights. Aside from the problem on children going to school is the issue of deteriorating state of education where according to the Mulat Pinoy research the mean achievement test scores at the primary level is 50 percent, ten points below the passing grade of 60. On the physical aspect of education the growing population of the students can no longer contained by classrooms where its capacity is fifty students maximum and others were forced to study under trees or sheds inside the school premises which also includes shortage on educational facilities like books and visual aids. Problem on education is a major issue that everyone must be aware of it is alarming that despite of the high literacy rate of the country the number of drop outs increases along with the number of graduates vs the number of job opportunities available.

In line with the growing population is the mindset of most parents thinking that their children will help them to ease their current status, unfortunately they didn’t know that the bigger number of children in their family another issue arises aside from providing them proper education is they need to answer the initial needs and that is fulfilling the demand of a hungry stomach. Sometimes the family decides to let the eldest go to school while others wait for the support of the eldest once it finishes his/her studies and finally hired for a job. Here is the statement of Dr. Zelda Zablan connecting population with education.

In terms of quality education Dr. Leonor Tripon-Rosero emphasize that there is no problem in the numbers of teachers in the Philippines, there are lots of teachers in the country and the only problem is the quality of teaching, and there are incidents in some regions there are teachers who are not licensed but they are appointed by the local government to teach in public schools which sacrifices the quality of teaching. She also mentions that she is not against with the idea of brain drain in the country because other countries are doing the same. Here is the statement of the former PRC chairperson on quality education and brain drain in the country.

Alternative education became rampant in the society as support to the traditional education, socio civic groups that works on rural areas to extend help and teach children who could not afford to go to school, at the same time the birth of e-media came in where it helps the students in public schools, most in the countryside to understand their lessons well by means of visuals and other media platforms. Sometimes alternative education became an excuse of ailing state of traditional education.

Based on the report of United Nation Development Program (UNDP) where education is included on the UN Millennium Developmental Goal where it is number 2, the literacy rate of the country stands on 93.9 percent but only 70% of those who enrolled grade 1 reaches grade 5. Universal Primary Education may increase 7% with 20 years but on the way to 2015 as projected by world leaders during the development of Millennium Goals it is only half of what should be achieved.

With the proposal of adding to years in the curriculum of either primary or secondary education, will it answer the issue on quality education? Or we are missing the point here Dr. Zablan states that there is a connection in the mindset of Filipino family under poverty line that they need to prioritize the eldest to go to school with a hope that he or she will be helping his or her siblings in the future, it will take 16 years for the next sibling to wait if he or she can go to school. Dr Leonor assures that there is no shortage on teachers; the only problem is we are lacks good teachers to teach students properly. How about revisiting the budget allocation for education to provide proper classroom along with one book one student policy in all public schools, there are lots of news telling that some books have errors in information I think Department of Education should look on it. With thousands of schools in the country that needs decent classrooms, educational facilities and on time salary for teachers but with a not so big percent from the national budget maybe Dept Ed should rethink a proper allocation of funds to schools along with effective and useful projects that students would benefit.

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