‘Philippines education needs curriculum overhaul’

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
�Philippines education needs curriculum overhaul�
Undated photo shows a Grade 10 student does her schoolwork inside her home in an informal settlers area in Malabon City. A year after the COVID-19 pandemic sent the Philippines into a months-long lockdown, classrooms across the country remain empty and children are still stuck at home.

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education needs to initiate what a key official of the House of Representatives described as a “curriculum overhaul” after the World Bank (WB) reported that 80 percent of Filipino children suffer from literacy problems.

Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, vowed to revive calls “for an overhaul of the country’s curriculum and a focus on functional skills, critical thinking, and good citizenship.”

“We will get through this pandemic. Economic crises come and go. But literacy and its permanent effects on growth and intergenerational poverty stay. That is why this report is alarming,” the Albay congressman said of the adverse WB report.

He said that unless the Philippines makes drastic changes, “our actual economic growth will always be much less than our potential. And poor kids will likely have poor families and have poor kids.”

According to the WB, “only 10 to 22 percent of Grade 4, 5, and 9 students in the Philippines posted scores at or above minimum proficiency” when they conducted tests across the three global assessments.

“The lack of usable skills, especially in this hypercompetitive global economy, is a life sentence to poverty. We can’t let this pass,” Salceda said, noting that the “problem is fundamental.”

A former National Economic and Development Authority chief, Salceda said “our learners are stunted and undernourished. Our learning materials are substandard. Our curriculum is impractical. Our teachers are overworked. Our schools are underequipped.”

“These were the problems we sought to solve with the Comprehensive Education Reform Agenda,” Salceda said, citing his bills on universal school meals, an overhaul of the K-12 system and a renewed focus on technical and vocational skills and improved school facilities.

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