Government flunks global education test

By Estrella Torres, BusinessMirror

Posted at Nov 22 2012 07:45 AM | Updated as of Nov 22 2012 03:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A study by Southeast Asian Ministers of Education said the Philippines is failing on its commitments in the global Education for All (Efa) agenda because of low budget spending in education.

A preliminary report on Efa said the Philippine government failed in its global commitments to address problems in basic education because it is spending only 2.12 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in spite of a commitment to allocate 6 percent of GDP as of 2012.

The report issued by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Center for Education Innovation and Technology (Seameo-Innotech) said the Philippines still suffers from high rates of truancy and dropouts in the elementary level because of a number of problems, including hunger and poverty that prevent school-age children from going to school, and lack of school buildings and classrooms in remote barangays.

“Recognizing the gap in education financing in the Philippines and the enormous backlogs in achieving Efa 2015, an Efa Financing Plan should be developed to be attained by 2020,” said the Seameo-Innotech report issued this weekend.

The educators’ group also noted “there should be a massive campaign and advocacy to increase government financing in education to 6 percent of the GDP.”

Noting the high cases of dropouts among elementary pupils in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, the educators’ group said the government should also set up an Efa Catch-up Plan, similar to the Bangsamoro Transition Fund.

The preliminary findings of the Efa goals of the Philippines showed that at least 37.35 percent of six-year-old children did not enter Grade 1, while 10.11 percent of children 6 to 11 did not have access to elementary education.

The report also said that 38.74 percent of high-school children 11-15 years old did not have access to secondary school.

The assessment report also raised concern over the high rates of truancy and dropouts in elementary levels mostly in Grades 1 to 3 due to lingering poverty, lack of interest in education, child-labor problems and the absence of schools in remote areas.

It noted that at least 6.26 percent of pupils in elementary left school, with the highest proportion of dropouts in Grade 1.

At the same time, 2.10 percent of pupils in elementary repeated a grade level, with the highest proportion of dropouts in Grade 1.

Low completion rate is also noted in both elementary and high-school levels. The report said that 27.89 percent of elementary pupils did not complete their education, while 24.94 percent of high-school students did not complete their education.