BEYOND providing access to education, an advocacy group is urging the government to decentralize Philippine education and overhaul teacher development to address the inefficiencies in the country’s current education system.
The Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) stated the problem lies with the systemic issues of the Department of Education (DepEd) as a highly centralized system.
“For one, our basic education system of 28 million learners, 800,000 teachers and 75,000 schools is too big for one agency to manage centrally. It’s no surprise then that inefficiencies and wastage continue to plague the system,” PBEd Chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr. said in a news conference in Pasig last Wednesday, July 5.
A study found about a quarter of resources do not reach schools that need it most in a centralized system.
“A study on basic-education delivery supported by the World Bank and Australian Embassy found that in 2013, 23 percent of the budget maintenance and other operating expenses got lost along the way as funds moved from the central office to the schools,” PBEd Executive Director Love Basillote said.
Three years of school-based management can increase achievement test scores by 4.2 points on average, according to a World Bank study.
Aside from the DepEd’s concentrated structure, teacher quality also raises concerns on their limitations as educators. PBEd aims to improve training and certification among teachers to make them better educators.
“Our teachers need a lot of help. Their poor contact knowledge at practically every area speaks volumes,” Basillote said.
Basillote added the Board Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers (BLEPT) is a poor measure to gauge teacher competence.
“It is no wonder that teacher quality is poor when the tool intended to separate the grain from the chaff is marred with questions that frankly do not make sense,” she said, citing sample questions from BLEPT, which she claimed do not reflect the supposed competence of a teacher.
World Bank data revealed investment in teacher development is not enough to close the gap.
“If our teachers are to do their jobs well, we must provide them with targeted, customized and relevant professional development,” Basillote said.
The appropriated budget for education has been increasing since 2010, data showed. In 2017 Congress allotted P543.2 billion to the DepEd, up from 2016’s P433.38 billion.
The 2016 rankings of the World Economic Forum placed the Philippines at 73rd out of 140 countries in terms of primary-education quality. Meanwhile, it ranked 46th out of 50 in QS rankings of higher-education strength.