DepEd vows to address Filipinos' declining English proficiency


Posted at Nov 27 2020 01:25 PM

DepEd vows to address Filipinos' declining English proficiency 1
Teachers rush to bring school equipment indoors as rain start to fall at the Bote Integrated School in Bato, Catanduanes on Nov. 9, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) said Friday it has already introduced "deep reforms" in the agency as the country's global ranking in English proficiency further slid in 2020.

Speaking to ANC's "Matters of Fact," Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said they launched the "Sulong EduKalidad" program in February to address challenges in the quality of basic education.

"But quality interventions, the fruit of that takes time. We are determined to make significant strides in the education quality in the near and medium term," he said.

Through "Sulong EduKalidad," the agency will review the K-12 curriculum, improve learning environments, upskill and reskill teachers, and seek collaboration and support from stakeholders.

According to a 2020 report released last week by the international education company Education First (EF), the Philippines suffered a 7-spot drop in the English Proficiency Index. It is now ranked 27th. 

Over the past years, the country's ranking has been declining - from 13th place in 2016, 15th place in 2017, 14th place in 2018 and 20th place in 2019.

Though it posted a lower ranking in 2020, the Philippines' English proficiency remained "high," garnering a score of 562 out of 700. This meant that Filipinos were able to make a presentation at work, understand TV shows and read newspapers.

Part of the declining English proficiency, Malaluan said, may be attributed to the late interaction in digital platforms.

"We've also seen our students are able to handle, for example, a simple multiple-choice question but find difficulty in answering open-ended questions," he said.

Malaluan added, "We're also having difficulty in handling questions that are of higher cognitive requirements, as well situational or contextual questions."

In 2018, Filipino students ranked the lowest among 79 countries in a global survey on reading comprehension.

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