The Can we not do something about it?

The Philippines has been combating problems which are also products of the system itself.  Being in the field of education, I see sorts of situations related to education or that education could be a key to resolve.  To illustrate my point, a child that does not say po or opo, a child that fights back to elderly, a teenage mom, a father that is jobless, a politician who engages in corruption, an ordinary employee that bribes to get money, students that keep on failing, students with low performance, and many more are just a common sight in the Philippines. Can we not do something about it? Was cleanliness not taught by the teachers? Was our education really a failure in transforming its citizen to become morally upright? socially responsible? Intellectually apt?  I believe the answers can be found from the very beginning. Sadly, it seems to appear that the focus of education and Filipinos falls in academic achievement which is just a cognitive aspect and to land a job after graduation. As del Rosario (2017) said in his column that we all want an education system which helps every Filipino to succeed in the 21st century.  He further commented that kids are not learning and the youth not earning.  The education system has improved, but two major problems remain in student achievement and graduate employment – this is an understatement. Looking at the contents and goals of the curriculum would be enough to tell that problems in all aspects are addressed, however the materialization of that paper probably faces numerous and intertwining problems and sub-problems. Starting from Universal Kindergarten, DepEd has aimed to effectively promote their physical, social, emotional and intellectual development, including values formation so they will be ready for school. Further, it fosters development of positive experiences to ascertain school readiness, encouraged to create and discover, becoming willing risk takers, self-esteem, vision of the world and moral foundations for holistic development of children. Straight its way to Grade 1 to 12, the curriculum thought of the contents of each developmental domain.  These are characterized by learning expectations such as: (1) Values Education to nurture positive self-concept, respect and concern for self and others, how to follow and behave appropriately in various situations and places, manifest love of God, country and fellowmen; (2) Physical Health & Motor Development where children are expected to develop both their fine and gross motor skills to be able to engage in wholesome physical and health activities; (3) Socio-Emotional Development for the development of emotional skills to relate well with others and appreciate cultural diversity among the school community and other people; (4)Social Development to develop basic concepts pertaining to her/himself and how to relate well with other people in his/her immediate environment and demonstrate awareness of one’s social identity;(50 Language, Literacy and Communication to provide opportunities for self-expression through language using the mother tongue; (6) Mathematics to understand and demonstrate knowledge in identifying numbers, as well as concepts of length, capacity, mass, time and perform simple operations using concrete objects; (7) Understanding of the Physical and Natural Environment where children are expected to demonstrate basic understanding of concepts pertaining to living and non-living things including weather and uses these in categorizing things in his/her environment.It also addresses the development of 21st- century Skills where the students can possess highly developed intrapersonal skills, high interpersonal skills, able to participate actively in community involvement, committed to care and protect the environment, actively participate as a citizen, develop deep sense of nationalism and national identity, knowledge and practice of civil and political rights, and corresponding responsibilities, skills in resolving and managing conflict peacefully, develop a sense of global awareness, appreciation of diversity, and solidarity. ALS learners are part of the design to and have the same track, only different in face on the intent to be part of an increasingly globalized world, it is important that out-of-school youth and adult learners can see things through the hearts, minds, and eyes of others, and understand the impact of regional and global issues on their lives and the lives of the members of their family, community, and country (DepEd curriculum framework)Reviewing of all these, it seems that our curriculum is an effective tool to rectify students’ physical, social, emotional and intellectual development, including values formation problems. Nevertheless, the products would tell us if these came into reality. The manifestations tell us otherwise, especially in public schools, that these are almost only on paper. Below the expected results in terms of academic achievement, socio-civic accountability, technological adeptness, moral uprightness and more are the seen results of our curriculum innovation.  But, probably these are effects of greater issues in education.  According to Lagon (2010), the macro-level educational issues and concerns mentioned above can be better understood when the micro-level concerns – mainly curriculum issues – are put into the equation. He cited, Perter Oliva’s Developing the Curriculum revealed 12 curriculum issues. These are (1) Academic Area Initiatives, (2) Alternative Schools, (3) Bilingual/Bicultural Education, (4) Censorship, (5). Gender, (6) Health Education, (7) Diversity, (8) Privatization, (9) Provision for Exceptionalities, (10) Religion in Public Education, (11) Scheduling Arrangements, and (12) Standards and Assessment. While in Bilbao’s book list Poor Academic Performance of Learners, No Sense of Ownership, Curricular Bandwagons Only are the punitive to curriculum effectiveness.  Some of the critical issues to be resolved in our educational system to realize the effectiveness of any of our curriculum are: (1) government budget for education, (2) affordability of education (3) the quality of education, and (4) education mismatch.  One major issue which should be given priority is the budget. Without budget, the implementation of the curriculum is compromised and the effectiveness of it may be depleted. However, among the ASEAN countries, the Philippines still has one of the lowest budget allocations to education (La Consolacion College – Bacolod, 2012). Budget cuts would affect all areas in education, particularly the teachers – their salary and support for their continuous professional development. In 2005, according to the data of worldsalaries.org, teachers in the Philippines had a net income of 237USD or equivalent to around P9000 for a 40-hour work weekly. Compared to Thailand which had 388USD or around P15000 for a 38-hour work weekly. South Korea had 2096USD or around P80000 for 39.7 hours, Canadian teachers earned 2236USD or P85000 for a 31.1 hour, USA had 4055USD or P155000 for a 36.6 hour weekly. It showed that the Philippines had the longer teaching hours and had the lowest salary among the mentioned countries. Budget cuts has a significant impact as well in the condition of schools in terms of classroom facilities, instructional and learning materials, technological and media upgrade, techvoc laboratories are inevitably affected by the budget adjustment, apart from the teachers’ salary. It also means that the problem for decades -class size will continue, and this largely affect the teaching-learning productiveness of teachers and students. In 2011, though DBM increased the Department of Education’ Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF) by 54.28 percent, from P11.3 billion to P17.4 billion, there seems to be no news recorded about a great breakthrough in education (Jorge, 2011). Duterte’s “Budget for Real Change,” provided P543.2 billion ($10.97 billion) to Department of Education (DepEd). This budget will be used to improve basic educational facilities, give financial assistance to students, purchase instructional materials, and fund teachers’ wage (Rappler, 2017). Second major problem in our system is the affordability to acquire good education. The disparity in educational achievements across social groups posted wide gaps (La Consolacion College – Bacolod, 2012). Those who are wealthy and can afford go to prominent schools to advance their education where state-of-the-art and complete school amenities that can boost and assist learning are paid for.  In the Philippines, Cebu City-based Centre for International Education British School is the most expensive higher education institution in the Philippines with a tuition fee of P330,000-420,000 every year; second is Enderun College in Taguig City with a yearly tuition fee of P360,000; De La Salle University-Manila takes the third spot as the most expensive institution for higher learning with a P210,000-225,000 tuition fee every year (GMA News Online, 2015).  The highest rank private schools will cost parents about P210,000-225,000 above every year and only 1 % of the world’s population belong to affluent society that could perhaps spend for education. Private schools which are lower in rank or semi-private offer lesser fees but still, only a small proportion of the population can manage to afford fees at this level and this vast number of private schools have varying quality. Further, given with the unstable economic condition, though there are fees which are low, parents are still struggling to shell out the continuous expenses (Wootton, 2017). While most students, who come from the less fortunate families and belong to the greater curve, go to public or state universities where the condition is miserable for it is dependent on government’s decision on distribution of budget. Enviously, unlike in the Western world where education is very important and is seen as the responsibility of the state manage to provide a very good quality education is free of charge like in Nordic countries, Germany, Brazil, the UK and Argentina and some others (Wootton, 2017). Unfortunately, records admit that our government cannot provide completely the high expenditure of delivering basic education to 27 million Filipino learners and college education to 4 million students (Estrada, 2017). Now under the K-12 system, enable for families to get a good education under the K-12 system at one of the best Philippine schools would consume about 8 or 9 years of an average Filipino income.  Getting into university or college is another expensive step.  Expectedly, Filipino families around would be forced to drop their children out due to the inability to continue to pay the fees (Wootton, 2017). Dependent on the budget and support of the government would be the level of quality our education may have. Although seen with a slight improvement recently, a drastic reform must be undertaken immediately. Based on the data of Paglinawan (2014) presented in his report, the quality of education in elementary and secondary levels declined according to the results of the national examinations. Maligalig, D. & Caoli-Rodriguez (2010) in their paper said that the National Achievement Test (NAT) is the primary indicator of school effectiveness. The comparison of NAT results from 2002 to 2007, so as results from 2005 to 2010 reflected the mediocre quality of education among our primary students (Ronda, 2011). NAT among elementary and high school students and NCAE were below the target mean score based on the pupil and student scores in subjects like language, science, and math. For the elementary achievement test results, MPS results recorded minimal increase with 64.81 percent in 2007-08

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