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The State of Philippine Education: a View from a Filipino Youth

The latest report by the National Statistical Coordination Board, recognizing that one in six school-age-children is deprived of education, tells us of what is in store in our country’s future. The enrollment rate in our primary school five years ago, was 90 percent. Last year, it dropped to 83 percent, and the number is rising.

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The situation is worse for secondary education, where enrollment rate has been steady at only 59 percent over the same period. Unfortunately, this has been going on in decades.Past government administrations are equally guilty ofnegligence to check the increasing numbers of illiterate Filipinos. Illiteracy to me, means the difficulty of a person to read and write, and even if he or she can read or write, the comprehension is low and have difficulty following simple written instructions. Education has been in the backburner and no serious effort was made to make it a major strategy for our progress. Education has a dramatic effect on economic development and growth.In fact, other countriesare starting to realize how drop-out rates affect to their economies. In the Philippines, nobodyknows the extent of its effect. It appears that we lost sight of the implications of this issue, because there is no statistical data toshow how much was lost in terms of peso value due to school drop-outs and illiteracy. What I amsaying is that, it is not only lost opportunity to get better income, but the government also lost taxrevenues from a productive and competitive population.School non-completion affects so many things. It increases criminal activity, and adds to cost of prison and welfare services. By simply following a simple linear cause and effect analysis, they have lower lifetime earnings, which reduces buying power, lowers tax revenues for governments and reduces economic growth. When you extend your analysis, it results to decreased health status, more criminal activity, higher rates of teen pregnancy and single motherhood. Wherever you look at it, just higher costs all around.Aside from those stated, the education system has direct effect on future economic growth. A major consideration of a business to invest in a country or in a community, is the economic impact data. Part of this data is the education achievement of the community, along with items such as transportation and workforce development. With the present condition, we can’t hardly make the first cut because companies will see they don’t have a pipeline to supply them with the workforce they need.We can no longer deny that the manufacturing sector cannot sustain the rising need for employment, and high-tech jobs are coming on. It is expected that majority of the jobs created over the next 10 years will be high-tech. How can this country compete if many of our population didn’t even finish elementary school? We are already seeing economic development pass us. The issue at hand should not only be viewed from the perspective of children dropping-out of school and the inability of their parents to find better jobs.It is about lost opportunities – lost lifetime earnings of those who were deprived of education, lost revenues for the government, and lost opportunity for this country to catch-up with our already developed neighbors. We need not fight over it now. The government should take the lead, to bring all the players tothe table and define a strategic education plan. Other sectors are waiting. I am sure the businessleaders are hungry to know what they can specifically do to help. http://www. scribd. com/doc/16466469/State-of-Philippine-Education for comments, e-mail to [email protected] com