MANILA - Nearly 5 out of 10 Filipino households said they have children who are not attending school because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey by the Asian Development Bank Institute showed.
The ADB study said 46 percent of survey respondents in the Philippines have children not attending school due to the health crisis. This was the second-highest rate among 8 ASEAN countries surveyed, behind only Myanmar, which had a rate of 52 percent.
Among Filipino households surveyed whose schools offered online education, either fully or partially -- 35 percent of the respondents in the Philippines said they are not attending at all. This was the highest rate among countries surveyed.
In comparison, about 80 percent of families in Indonesia and Vietnam attended all classes offered online.
An ADB official blamed the Philippines’ internet connectivity problems and lack of affordable gadgets for the poor participation in schools.
“It’s most common in the Philippines, even though online education was offered, it was not taken advantage of. And the most common reason is not having computers or tablets, not having internet connections, or too slow or unstable connections,” said Peter Morgan, Vice Chair of Research at the ADB Institute.
Classes were supposed to open on Aug. 24, but the government moved it to Oct. 5 to allow more students to enroll.
The Department of Education said last month it expects 4 million out-of-school youth in the coming academic year, which will see schools shift from the traditional classroom instruction to distance learning because of the continuing COVID-19 threat.
The ADB survey also showed that households in the Philippines were among the hardest hit economically by the pandemic in the region.