DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The country’s poor ranking in the recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) only validates the school problems that teachers have been raising.
These include the “faulty” Kindergarten-to-12 years (K-to-12) program, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said, in a statement on Thursday (Dec.5).
Results of PISA 2018 showed that Philippines ranked the lowest out of 79 countries for performance in reading, and second lowest in both Mathematics and Science.
In a statement, the Department of Education (DepEd) said that the Philippines joined the PISA for the first time in 2018 to be able to establish a baseline in relation to global standards and reforms for improvement.
The results, DepEd said, showed the urgency of addressing issues and gaps in attaining quality of basic education in the Philippines.
ACT, however, hit DepEd’s “now-we-know” stance in response to the assessment results, saying that the dismal quality of education has always been the concern of teachers.
The group pointed out problems such as overpopulated classes, lack of teaching materials and personnel, teachers’ overload work and meager pay, and “faulty” K-to-12 program.
“For a government that puts too much emphasis on being ‘globally competitive’, never has it subscribed to the international standard of allocating education budget equivalent to 6% of the gross domestic product as ours only account to 2–4% of the GDP every year, worse, the meager allocation is not maximized and big funds are misspent or left unspent due to inefficiency,” Martinez added.
She added that DepEd cannot expect a quality education in overpopulated, poorly-ventilated classrooms where students are wanting of books and teachers are overwhelmed with non-teaching duties “while both have grumbling stomachs.”
Despite the perennial problems among schools, the K-to-12 program rolled out in 2013 and already produced its first batch of senior high school graduates last year.
ACT said that the implementation of the K-to-12 program “only worsened the shortages”.
The teachers’ group also said that the program steered education to a wrong direction of producing cheap and skilled labor force for the global market.
“Primary education used to focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic but K-to-12 charged too many competencies while allotting shorter time periods for every subject,” Martinez explained.
In its efforts at attaining quality basic education, DepEd said it will implement reforms through its “Sulong Edukalidad” in key areas that include K-to-12 review and updating, improvement of learning environment, teacher upskilling and reskilling, and engagement of all stakeholders.
ACT, however, said DepEd’s strategy misses major concerns that have impact on quality of education.
“Actions to the K-to-12 program should not be limited to review and updating but a thorough assessment and evaluation to see if it really advanced the education objective for national development. If found ineffective, why repair a tool that’s not fit for the job?” asked Martinez. (davaotoday.com)