DepEd wants World Bank apology over report on Filipino students

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2021 02:38 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2021 02:54 PM

DepEd wants World Bank apology over report on Filipino students 1
Rachel Senolos assists her 2 sons, grade 5 student Billy John Salvane and grade 2 student Neil John Salvane, in their online classes as public schools open amid the COVID-19 pandemic on Octo. 5, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Department of Education said Monday it "expects and looks forward" to an apology from the World Bank over its report that about 80 percent of Filipino students fall below the minimum level of proficiency for their grade levels. 

"Since the country was insulted, was shamed, and so on, we expect and look forward to a public apology, lalo na iyong hindi pagsabi sa 'min na naglabas sila ng ganoong datos na lumang-luma," said Education Secretary Leonor Briones.

(We expect and look forward to a public apology, especially for their failure to inform us that they released those outdated data.) 

The report was based on the 2019 Program for International Student Assessment, said Briones. 

"Lumang na 'yang data nila dahil since 2019, marami nang nangyayari," she said in a Malacañang press briefing. 

She said the Washington-based lender failed to follow protocol by providing an advance copy of its report to the Philippine government before releasing it to media. 

"Malaking kakulangan ito," said the official. 

(This is a big shortcoming.)

The World Bank has lent the Philippines some $300 million since 1981, Briones noted. 

"Hindi natin masasabi na kung may pagkukulang sa edukasyon ng Pilipinas, gawa-gawa lang ito ng Pilipinas. Ito ay nag-i-involve ng mga partners. Ang isa sa pinakamalaki… ay sa World Bank," she said. 

(We cannot say that when there is a shortcoming in Philippine education, that this is the sole fault of the Philippines. This involves partners, and one of the biggest is the World Bank.)

Video courtesy of PTV

According to the report, around 80 percent of Filipino students fall below the minimum level of proficiency for their grade levels.

The Philippines was rated last in reading, and second-to-last in science and mathematics, among 79 countries that participated in the Program for International Student Assessment.

In the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study in 2019, the country placed last in both mathematics and science among 58 countries in the fourth-grade assessment.

The Philippines was also in the bottom half of the 6 countries in reading, mathematics and writing literacy in the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics in 2019.

The World Bank has yet to comment on DepEd's apology demand.