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Filipino Learners Lag Behind: Since When?

Pandemic, a repeatedly mentioned reason that points out to the learning gap of learners, justifies the low scores of students in different national and international assessment, does it?

According to 2022 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Philippines ranked 77th out of 81 countries globally in the student assessment conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for 15-year-old learners. The country scored approximately 120 points lower than the average scores, with scores of 355 in Math, 347 in Reading, and 373 in Science.

Truly, the abrupt shift of educational setting in pandemic contributed much on the learning gap of learners, but that is not all. Wayback before pandemic, in the 2018 PISA ranking, the Philippines was reported to have ranked lowest in Reading Comprehension and second lowest in Mathematics. Thus, this reveals an existing dilemma that needs to be addressed in the education system until now.

Looking back to the Philippine history, nation’s education system, at one time, sets a high bar for the country. After World War II, the public school system was rebuilt by launching the Philippine Community School Program and received a worldwide recognition. As early as 1953, the educational development in the Philippines drew attention from neighboring Asian countries, with several Asian educators visiting the country to observe and study the vocational industrial school. This only shows that Philippines is once model and a best representation of good education system.

Jumping to the present time, changes were made, not just in education system but in all aspect of life as people walk through in the 21st century. Science and technology, values and health education, generation differences and other trends made an impact to the learner’s education.

Given the different data and studies of the current Philippine education, the Department of Education (DepEd), lead by Vice-President Sara Duterte, conceived different programs for the learners. One of which is the National Learning Recovery Program (NLRP) that spreads out to National Learning Camp (NLC), National Reading Program (NRP), National Mathematics Program (NMP), National Science and Technology Program (NSciTP), and other related programs that seek to help bridge the learning gaps among learners.

Another is the latest implementation of Catch-up Fridays which intensifies Values, Health, and Peace Education in the curriculum. Nurturing discipline and values anchor good education of the students. Reviewing the past, the process of disciplining in the year 1990s compared to the 21st century is way far different to the current moment. But seeing the products of early education, most of the students before shows a great success and resilience in their life displaying also good manners and right conduct that is seen in the society.

Reviving values education to the modern generation hopes to dream up a job ready, active, and responsible citizens in the Philippines.

In addition, the endeavor to help teachers to focus only on teaching anticipates to produced well trained, taught, and knowledgeable learners to be a great asset in the future.

All these programs of DepEd were made with the ambition to build a world class competent Filipino citizens to keep up with other neighboring countries. But DepEd could not achieve this goal on its own, the education system needs stakeholders that shares same vision for the betterment of the students. The education system needs parents who support the administration and teachers in discipling and teaching their children. The education system needs all round cooperation of public and private entities to serve the advancement of young learners’ instruction. The education system needs you. The only question now is, will you be a part of this call?

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