Literacy rate in the Philippines has improved
a lot over the last few years- from 72 percent in 1960 to 94 percent in
1990. This is attributed to the increase in both the number of schools
built and the level of enrollment in these schools.
The number of schools grew rapidly in all three
levels - elementary, secondary, and tertiary. From the mid-1960s up to
the early 1990, there was an increase of 58 percent in the elementary schools
and 362 percent in the tertiary schools. For the same period, enrollment
in all three levels also rose by 120 percent. More than 90 percent of the
elementary schools and 60 percent of the secondary schools are publicly
owned. However, only 28 percent of the tertiary schools are publicly owned.
A big percentage of tertiary-level students enroll
in and finish commerce and business management courses. Table 1 shows the
distribution of courses taken, based on School Year 1990-1991. Note that
the difference between the number of enrollees in the commerce and business
courses and in the engineering and technology courses may be small - 29.2
percent for commerce and business and 20.3 percent for engineering and
technology. However, the gap widens in terms of the number of graduates
for the said courses.
|TABLE 1: TERTIARY ENROLLMENT AND GRADUATION
BY FIELD OF STUDY. SY 1990-1991
|FIELD OF STUDY
|Arts and Sciences
|Teacher Training & Education
|Engineering & Technology
|Medical and Health - related Programs
|Agriculture, Forestry, Fishery,
and Veterinary Medicine
|Religion / Theology
On gender distribution, female students have very
high representation in all three levels. At the elementary level, male
and female students are almost equally represented. But female enrollment
exceeds that of the male at the secondary and tertiary levels . Also, boys
have higher rates of failures, dropouts, and repetition in both elementary
and secondary levels.
Aside from the numbers presented above, which
are impressive, there is also a need to look closely and resolve the following
important issues: 1) quality of education 2) affordability of
education 3) goverment budget for education; and 4) education
The following are some of the reforms proposed:
- Quality - There was a decline in the quality of the Philippine
education, especially at the elementary and secondary levels. For example,
the results of standard tests conducted among elementary and high school
students, as well as in the National College of Entrance Examination for
college students, were way below the target mean score.
- Affordability - There is also a big disparity in educational
achievements across social groups. For example, the socioeconomically disadvantaged
students have higher dropout rates, especially in the elementary level.
And most of the freshmen students at the tertiary level come from relatively
- Budget - The Philippine Constitution has mandated the goverment
to allocate the highest proportion of its budget to education. However,
the Philippines still has one of the lowest budget allocations to education
among the ASEAN countries.
- Mismatch - There is a large proportion of "mismatch"
between training and actual jobs. This is the major problem at the tertiary
level and it is also the cause of the existence of a large group of educated
unemployed or underemployed.
- Upgrade the teachers' salary scale. Teachers have been underpaid; thus
there is very little incentive for most of them to take up advanced trainings.
- Amend the current system of budgeting for education across regions,
which is based on participation rates and units costs. This clearly favors
the more developed regions. There is a need to provide more allocation
to lagging regions to narrow the disparity across regions.
- Stop the current practice of subsidizing state universities and colleges
to enhance access. This may not be the best way to promote equity. An expanded
scholarship program, giving more focus and priority to the poor, maybe
- Get all the leaders in business and industry to become actively involved
in higher education; this is aimed at addressing the mismatch problem.
In addition, carry out a selective admission policy, i.e., installing mechanisms
to reduce enrollment in oversubscribed courses and promoting enrollment
in undersubscribed ones.
- Develop a rationalized apprenticeship program with heavy inputs from
the private sector. Furthermore, transfer the control of technical training
to industry groups which are more attuned to the needs of business and