Philippines spends little on education in Asean

Published by rudy Date posted on May 18, 2011

THE Philippines ranked second to Cambodia in spending the least on education among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), it was learned on Tuesday.

Ranking 162nd in gross domestic product per capita worldwide, the Philippines spent a total 2.5 percent of its GDP on basic education, a figure that is lower than the average—3.5 percent—spent by its regional neighbors.

GDP is the total value of goods and services produced in a country in a year.

“Evaluation of student achievement support claims that basic education in the Philippines is
deficient,” said the Congressional Research Department, a research group.

In an International Mathematics and Science Study, Filipino fourth-graders showed poor performance in these subjects, ranking 23rd out of 25 countries.

And according to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, the country “ranked 69th [out of 139 countries on quality education], just behind Thailand and Vietnam, but is declining and will remain the lowest-rated in the Asean-6 [comprising Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand] if it does not pursue strong educational reform.”

Asean also groups Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The figures indicated that Filipinodents were studying harder subjects than their Japanese counterparts because of an “overcrowded curriculum” and was thus identified as “a major cause of low levels of achievement among students.”

Only Mongolia, South Korea, and Thailand recorded higher-than-average spending, with 5.1, 4.4, and 4.3 percent, respectively.

Laos placed higher than the Philippines in education spending, registering a 3.2 percent figure.
Cambodia spent only 1.6 percent of its GDP for education.

K-to-12 program
“As a response, the government has made considerable efforts to embark on reforming basic education through the K-to-12 basic education program,” the Congressional Research Department said.

The program was proposed by the government to increase the 10-year basic educational cycle to 12.

Once the program is implemented, there will be junior (four years) and senior (two years) high schools.

Six years in elementary school and one year in pre-school, however, will be maintained.

Though kindergarten is not considered part of basic education in the country, this will be made mandatory in the program.

The program will be offered for free if it is passed in public schools.

The Department of Education estimated that a total of P43.67 billion would be needed for capital outlay from 2016 to 2018.

Most countries in ASean have six years of primary education and six to eight years of secondary education in their curricula. –ALEXANDRA B. TITO SPECIAL TO THE MANILA TIMES

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