By the numbers: state of RP education

June 16, 2008 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

1. Enrollment

1995 to 2002 — enrollment grew at an average rate of 1.98% yearly
2003 to 2008 — enrollment declining at an average rate of 1% yearly

2. Drop out rate

Grade 1 – 100 students enter school
Grade 6 – 65 students graduate (35 did not reach Grade 6)
High School IV – 43 students (22 did not reach Year IV)
College 1st yr – 2 students (41 did not enter college)

3. Exodus of those who finished their schooling

9% – of Filipinos are college graduates, and
51% – of OFWs are college graduates creating wealth for their host countries

If you go by the numbers above as taken from the Manila Times report, attached, it is a hu hu hu. But if you go by the speeches and press releases at and, it is a Go! Go! Go! Take your pick.

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Manila Times
Increasing dropout rate destines more millions to endless poverty

IF there is one set of statistics to show that the Philippines is largely dirt poor—despite the life of luxury and conspicuous consumption exhibited by the 2 percent of the population that sustains the elite department stores and expensive restaurants—it is the annual decline of basic-education enrollment and the annual increase of dropouts.

From 1995 to 2002, school enrollment grew at an average rate of 1.98 percent yearly. Since 2003 to the last enrollment week, enrollment has been declining by almost 1 percent—even if you count the new batch of 6-year-olds that have been allowed to enter Grade 1.

The national dropout rate average is staggering. Of every 100 children who enter Grade 1, only 65 reach Grade 6, only 43 finish high school and only 2 enter college.

The dropout rate is much higher in the poorest provinces. About one-fourth of the students enrolled in Grades 1 and 2 drop out. This results in one-fourth of the population of our poorest provinces not getting any formal education whatsoever.

Perpetuating poverty

The social and political analyst Juan T. Gatbonton writes:

“School ‘dropouts’ make up our biggest social problem because they perpetuate poverty. Dropouts make poverty a generational problem, because they cannot function in the modern economy. They cannot fill the jobs the modern economy creates. For instance, the voguish ‘call centers’ apparently hire at most 5 percent of all the people they interview.

“Parents who drop out of school raise children who drop out in their turn, and children who drop out raise grandchildren who drop out, too. Despite our enduring myth of the school dropout who makes good, only 3 percent of farmers’ children ever become modern professionals, according to the sociologist Gelia Castillo.

“In 1999, the Jesuit educator Bienvenido Nebres called our inability to provide adequate elementary education to the great majority of our people ‘our immense and largely invisible failure.’ The term is appropriate. The economist Cielito Habito in August 2006 noted that education’s share of the budget had continued to fall continuously, since the financial crisis of 1997.

Brain drain complication

“And now our dropout problem is being complicated by a ‘brain drain.’ The composition of our OFWs is changing in educational terms. While only 9 percent of Filipinos are college graduates, 51 percent of all those leaving for foreign jobs are college graduates.”

This means we have only a few college graduates left with us now, because more than 60 percent of them have left to work abroad. No wonder, not only call centers and other business process outsourcing companies here (most of them foreign companies) are finding it hard to hire young, better-than-average accountants and computer technicians.

With the inflation and the crisis of surging food and commodity prices, the dropout rate is sure to increase even more.

The statistical 35 percent of the population who are supposed to be poor will no longer be able to afford having children at school—even if President Gloria Arroyo has ordered public schools to make school uniforms voluntary.

Paying parents

The departments of Education and Social Welfare have a collaborative project to “pay” parents to keep their children enrolled. Rice for the family and some cash are given to the poor. How long will they be able to maintain this program considering that inflation, corruption and mismanagement make government projects run out of money fast and inexplicably, like the billions lost in the fertilizer scam and by the Department of Agrarian Reform?

Gatbonton also writes: “We must accept that education in the poor country is not a mechanically moving staircase that effortlessly conveys children between floors of schooling until they all get to the top floor. There are also those who get no further than the mezzanine.

“Certainly we should try to keep pupils in their classrooms—through school-feeding programs and ‘wages for learning’ schemes, just as the Latin-American states do and the DepEd-DSWD are trying to.

“But we must accept that public education in the poor country should in fact be geared primarily to the needs of those who have only a minimum number of years to spend in school. Our iron circumstances suggest that we return early public education to the basics—to reading, writing and arithmetic—to making the experience of book-learning, no matter how brief, as nearly complete and as useful as possible.”


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Quote for the day, June 16, 2008 Letter of a Math teacher to a graduating student

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