Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is Education in the Philippines Inferior to US or Canada?

UP Diliman (Quezon Hall)

Today, I was reading a discussion in the internet magazine on the quality of education in the Philippines versus that to US or Canada. One of the commentators said that a bachelor's degree in the Philippines today is almost useless . This comment attracted so much discussion that this prompted me to update my knowledge of the educational system in the Philippines. I started on reading what Wikipedia has published on the subject.Here's a short summary:

"During the period of colonization by the United States, Education in the Philippines changed radically, modeled on the system of Education in the United States of the time. After the Second World War, changes in the US system were no longer automatically reflected in the Philippines, which has since moved in various directions of its own.

Filipino children may enter public school at about age four, starting from Nursery up to Kindergarten. At about seven years of age, children enter elementary school (6 to 7 years). This may be followed by secondary school (4 years). Students may then sit for College Entrance Examinations (CEE), after which they may enter tertiary institutions (3 to 5 years). Other types of schools do exist, such as Private schools, Preparatory schools, International schools, Laboratory High Schools and Science High Schools. Several ethnic groups, including Chinese, British, Americans, and Japanese operate their own schools.

Elementary schooling is compulsory, but 24% of Filipinos of the relevant age group do not attend, usually due to absence of any school in their area, education being offered in foreign languages only, or financial distress. In July 2009 DepEd acted to overcome the foreign language problem by ordering all elementary schools to move towards mother-tongue based learning initially. The order allows two alternative three-year bridging plans. Depending on the bridging plan adopted, the Filipino and English languages are to be phased in as the language of instruction for other subjects beginning in the third and fourth grades.

Secondary schooling is compulsory, and is of four years duration only.

The school year in the Philippines starts in June of one year and ends in March of the next, with a two-month summer break for April and May, one week of semestral break (the last week of October), and a week or two of Christmas break.

In 2005, the Philippines spent only about US$138 per pupil compared to US$1,582 in Singapore, US$3,728 in Japan, and US$852 in Thailand.[2]

One of the most serious problems in the Philippines in the 1980s and early 1990s concerned the large number of students who completed college but then could not find a job commensurate with their educational skills. If properly utilized, these trained personnel could facilitate economic development, but when left idle or forced to take jobs beneath their qualifications, this group could be a major source of discontent.
A recent article by Chito Salazar published at the Daily Inquirer dated 8/28/10
discussed the importance of the 12-year basic education such as we have here in US
I am posting an excerpt of the article as follows:
12-year basic education: a quality imperative

"THE MOVE to expand our basic education to 12 years from the present 10 is not about quantity versus quality. It is about quality, period; or, more accurately, it is about the low quality of our education system. Philippine education is plagued by two major ills—the high attrition rate of our students and their low achievement rates. Simply put, too many of students leave school early, around a third before graduating elementary school, the largest chunk dropping out before Grade 4.

However, those who stay in school are only just a bit better off, receiving a substandard education with more than 90 percent failing our own National Achievement Tests. The majority of students are reading below their age and grade levels; and our high school graduates proceed to college with barely a Grade 6 reading competency.

What accounts for this low quality? Years of neglect; much, much lower than needed budget allocations; teaching quality; incentives and performance measures; the lack of classrooms, textbooks and desks; and, a short basic education cycle. The problems are complex and the causes are interconnected.

While teacher quality is central to the solution, our teachers, no matter how good, cannot teach well in a crowded classroom, without the proper books, or even a proper room. Similarly, our teachers, no matter how good, cannot teach well, with an overcrowded curriculum, when they are being required to teach more than their counterparts anywhere in the world, in a significantly shorter period of time. Nor can our students learn properly, when we are asking them to learn too much, too soon. What students in other countries are expected to learn in 12 years, we are asking our students to learn in 10. Consequently, more often than not, our students are being forced to learn concepts more complex than their developmental profile permits. It is then no wonder that our students cannot read properly nor pass our own diagnostic exams.

This brings us to the problem of government resources. It is true that there are limited funds and we must prioritize. However, the difficulty is the opponents of the move to a 12-year system are making this a choice among education goods—better teaching quality versus the expansion or more classrooms versus more years. However, should this not be about quality education versus losing more revenues to smuggling or uncollected taxes; or about education quality versus special education funds being spent on basketball courts, boy scout jamborees or sports fests; or should this not be about education quality versus expensive meals abroad, pork barrel or the intelligence funds of GOCC executives? The families of our children graduating with minimal learning are paying a very expensive price for an underfunded education system.

The proponents of the 12-year basic education cycle insist that the additional two years be added to the elementary and/or high school levels; not to tertiary education, nor purely as a pre-university requirement. The addition must be to basic education because that’s precisely what it is and where it needs to be. A 12-year basic education is the minimum, fundamental education everyone must receive to have a decent opportunity for a good life. As such, as the Constitution declares, it must be a right, and it must be free.

Finally, ironically, despite all the opposition, the best basic education schools in the country (e.g., Ateneo and La Salle) already follow an 11-year system at least. These are the premier schools that parents would want to send their children to if they could afford the tuition. Children who attend schools like these usually have had three years of pre-school before they even step into the first grade. Yet, for whatever good reason, some would rather deprive the majority of Filipinos of these additional years—please note, a total of 14 to 15 years of basic education—that a fortunate minority already receives. So which program is truly anti-poor?"

Personal Note: The quality of education one receives in the Philippines depend on the school where the degree was obtained. The success of the individual is not based on the number of degrees he or she has completed, but on his fortitude and ambition and outlook in life. Getting a good job also depends on your social networking skills and connections as well as the skills that you have learned from college, both in undergraduate and graduate schools. There are more than a couple of excellent schools in the Philippines, but also several diploma mills whose main purpose is to make money, not to educate its students.

May I proudly say that the University of the Philippines in Diliman( UP) is one example of an excellent school during my college years (mid 1950's). However, I am not sure of the quality of education one can get from UP today. Comments will be appreciated.

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