DepEd says some PISA takers lacked basic computer skills

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
DepEd says some PISA takers lacked basic computer skills
Stock image of keyboard
Image by Simon from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — A number of Filipino students who answered the PISA assessment in 2022 did not know how to use computers and struggled to learn amid an inadequate number of equipment in their schools, two Department of Education regional offices said on Wednesday.

During a Senate hearing on the country’s PISA 2022 results, the DepEd regional directors of CAR and CALABARZON said that several schools also had to borrow or crowdsource computers from nearby schools and non-government organizations to accommodate all their PISA takers on exam day.

Just less than a quarter of 15-year-old Filipino students who took the computer-based exam in 2022 reached the minimum level of proficiency in all three subjects of math, reading and science, the latest PISA scores show.

Similar to the 2018 cycle, the Philippines performed worse than the global average in all categories, with its placement in the country rankings moving up by just a few spots.

DepEd CAR director Estela L. Cariño told senators that several PISA takers in two public schools in their region — considered “Last Miles” schools due to their location in a marginalized and geographically distant area — were unfamiliar with using computers as they had yet to learn to use these in school.

These are Sagpat Integrated School and Apayao National Industrial School, located in remote areas in the provinces of Benguet and Apayao, respectively.

“Some didn't even know how to open (the computers),” Cariño said, adding that most students in the two schools come from families below the poverty line.

The DepEd official explained that some of the PISA takers aged 15 were “still in Grade 7” and had yet to take a computer class, while others were still in elementary.

Cariño added that due to the lack of computers in the two public schools, the local governments of Apayao and Benguet and other donors stepped in to provide or lend computers.

“After finishing the exam we had to bring back the computers to the schools where they belong,” the DepEd official said.

“When some NGOs knew that they didn't have computers, some of them donated to Sagpat Integrated School. But of course, they (still) need more,” Cariño said.

Loida N. Nidea, DepEd CALABARZON assistant regional director, said that this was the same case for PISA takers in Region 4A.

“We also tapped private and nearby public schools because of the need for the computers,” Nidea added.

Around 7,000 students from 188 schools – which were randomly selected — took the test in 2022. This includes a mix of public and private schools.

In Metro Manila, out of the 21 schools that participated in PISA 2022, only six schools reached the minimum proficiency level or essentially passed the exam. Broken down, five are private schools while one is the Benigno Aquino High School in Makati City.

In a 2022 study, state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) flagged the "huge" problem that DepEd schools continue to face with having enough computer packages. 

The issue involves the non-achievement of targets on computer package delivery to public schools and the lower internet access rates in all school levels. 

This, PIDS said, suggests that there are "public investment problems" and an uneven implementation of DepEd's computerization and internet connectivity initiatives.

Based on the latest DepEd data presented in the PIDS study, 18% of elementary schools, 15% of junior high schools and 18% of senior high schools have no access to computers for pedagogical purposes.


Editor's note: The initial photo depicting Philippine Science High School students has been removed as they are not participants in the PISA examination.

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