Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Rizal Day Should Be In June, Not December

MOVE RIZAL DAY TO JUNE! Every year on December 30, the citizens of the Philippines celebrate José Rizál Day by killing their National Hero all over again. Every year, in a strange official holiday celebration, they imitate the Spanish Taliban of the 19th Century and execute José Rizál on Bagumbayan Field (also called the Luneta) for the Nth time since that day in 1896 when the tradition was indeed, established. The "First Filipino" -- as the national hero has been called -- was in fact the first Filipino to suffer capital punishment for writing blasphemous fiction and refusing to retract his heresies and apostasies. It is a truly embarrassing fact, lil mentioned if at all in polite society, that the Philippine national hero was, and still is, an excommunicant from the Catholic Church. It was, I believe, Pope Pius IX (Pio Nono) who made membership in Masonry a cause for automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church, as were Rizal and most of the Philippine Revolution's leaders. If his case had been adjudicated by the Spanish authorities in an earlier, more strictly incendiary age, Rizal might have been burned at the stake instead of being felled by musket shot in the back -- though there WAS an apocryphal twist insisted upon. But no matter how one looks at it, after more than a century, Rizál Day in December is a morbid commemoration on a day that always falls between Christmas and New Year. I think it is time to move the present Rizál Day celebration to June 19, and begin to celebrate José Rizál's brilliant and patriotic life in addition to his noble and tragic death. Historian Ambeth Ocampo considers the accusation that Rizal was an American-made hero in Soul of the Revolution. Since the academic school year also begins in the month of June for many schools all over the Philippines, especially the public schools, the June 19th Birthday of José Rizál could get things off to a good start every year. (And even if the schedule is moved to start in September, as it does in most of the Western Hemisphere, that would still mean graduations in the month of June, and thus a guaranted exemplary role for Rizál.)

This is a question that gets debated a lot around the time the kids go back to school in the Philippines. The answer given by virtually everybody trying to reform the education system is a resounding NO. But it seems that whatever the diagnoses of what is wrong with the education system someone comes up with, it also requires a cure that will cost a lot more money than what is being appropriated now. I think this usually leads to an intellectual dead-end for the analysis and proposed solution because I think the problem lies not in the amount we are spending, which has always increased in absolute terms, if not in per capita terms. I think the problem lies in HOW the money is spent, and on what: It goes mostly to salaries with little left over capital expenditures on school buildings, desks, computers, libraries and books.

Yet, the Education already gets "the highest budgetary priority" per the 1987 Constitution. To this point, I've been reading a very interesting document generated by the Congressional Planning and Budget Department An Analysis of the President's Budget For Fiscal Year 2006 (PDF). It's amazing what a treasture trove of information about the government and its spending habits such a document is.
For fiscal year 2006, the education sector will receive P146.45 Billion or 8.12% increase from theprevious year. Over the past years, the education sector continues to be the priority of the government as it receives a significant portion of the national budget, second to debt servicing. Apparently, the percentage share of education to total budget has been decreasing—from 14.85% in 2004 to 13.90% of the proposed 2006 budget. On the other hand, the share of debt servicing has jumped from its 2004 level of 30.90% to 32.28% in 2005. There was a 20% jump in budget for debt servicing while that of education had only a 5.17% increase.
Most illuminating is Table 8.7 on page 93 of the PDF, titled Deped Budget By Object of Expenditure, in which we find that the Department of Education (Deped) is programmed to receive 119.9 billion pesos in the 2006 fiscal year, of which 100.9 billion will go to salaries ("personal services") of the 400,000-strong national bureaucracy of teachers, principals, superintendents, directors, assistant-, under-, and acting secretaries, who by the way, also count the votes in our elections as Comelec's indentured and endangered, servants. It seems to me that the education budget is basically a hidden subsidy for the Commission on Elections.

I guess my answer is also, NO, we are not spending enough on EDUCATION as such, even if we are spending about 101 billion pesos this year on SALARIES. Any dispassionate analysis of the education system must face this fact. It is not so much an education system as it is a giant employment and welfare program in support of the manual election process. The share devoted to salaries in the budget far exceeds regional standards, and that given to capital expenditures such as school buildings, textbooks, computers, libraries, laboratories, etcetara, gets a miniscule 3.86 percent of the total budget. It's like running Fedex with 400,000 truck drivers you cannot fire, but without trucks, planes, computers, telephones or running water in the offices -- or even offices!

As members of the Republic's Board of Directors, citizens really ought to be asking why we should this year give 119.9 billion pesos of the public's meagre treasure to the largely faceless bureaucracy of politicians and their appointees and the rest of those government functionaries somewhere in Pasig. Why should we spend our money on them? Why DO we spend so much money on public education? Are we getting our money's worth? It does not seems so when Deped's own figures show that an inexplicable 2% (1 in 50!) graduates of the public schools were able to pass the standardized National Elementary and Secondary Assessment Tests (NEAT, NSAT) and that was with a passing grade of 50%! Moreover, it has been publicly admitted by the Deped that no one ever fails or is held back for academic nonperformance in the public schools. You either pass or drop-out. Is that an education system, or an aging vat?

Ah, but why are private school tuition fees so high?

I think it is because the "free public schools" have WARPED the education market. By offering free tuition at public schools, the government has taken over the lion's share of the education burden. Because its resources are necessarily strapped and limited, that education of a far lower quality than optimal or even acceptable by international standards. This durable ideology of "free universal public education" in a country like the Philippines, has only led to a ghettoization of the Have-nots and their children into the substandard public school system. Meanwhile the Haves, who groan and complain about exorbitant tuition fees in the private schools, nevertheless send their kids to them if their economic circumstances at all permit. Conversely, more and more people are moving their children to the public schools, when they cannot afford the high private school tuitions. But I don't believe that the largely religious Christian private schools are interested in MAXing out their tuition fees so they can repatriate obscenely large profits to their Mother Houses in Rome. I think it is akin to the situation that would certainly develop in the fast-food market if let us say, the government were to announce that henceforth, hamburgers will be free at all Jollibees restaurants because of a new government subsidy. People would still go to MacDonolds, KFC, and Chow King and even pay more for their non-subsidized food.

I think that by largely monopolizing the available market for students by offering tuition free public schools, the government is unfairly competing with the private school sector. I think giving even a billion pesos each to say the De La Salle Brothers, the Ateneo Fathers, the nuns of St. Theresa's and St. Scholastica's, and yes, even Assumption Convent, Ayala Corp., the Lopez Foundations, and the rest of the private sector would result in significantly more EDUCATION being delivered to the Filipino youth than what Deped, Ched and the national government have been able to accomplish under an essentially socialist education system.

Deped has a new logo. The website is highly functional and mostly up-to-date. Here is the Calendar for the 2006-2007 Academic School Year. Our best women--mothers, sisters, daughters--largely comprise the public school teaching corps. It is my belief that they are locked up in a system that is not designed, organized or run as an educational delivery system. Rather it is an adjunct of the traditional political system of patronage and the manual electoral system that is at the heart of Democracy's rot in the Philippines. I also believe that this sector of Philippine society, its teachers and nurturers of the hearts and minds of many, are the key to a new Revolution among Filipinos that will cast away the chains that bind them still, after centuries. There is no more grievous emotional loss, a famous philosopher once said, than that of an excuse for ones failures in terms of the actions of another. We have had no such excuse for over half a century, yet excuses are redolent in all of our Media.

I really think it is time for the Government to phase out of the education business and give the private sector a shot at illuminating the future of the Filipinos. Why should we give almost P120 billion to the government for educational purposes, when whoever runs the government only uses it for other things? Why should the public schools have an unfair, dare I say, unwisely granted advantage over the private schools to deliver education?

The national government has to get out of something at which it has been largely a monumental and historic failure, and the expenditures from the public coffers mostly a humongous waste. The hardest thing to change will be the utterly politically correct ideology of "free universal public education." Like in Cuba, or Russia, or China? Like most goods and services, I think most people would settle for education at the right price, even if it's not. zero I mean would you eat or support government-subsidized hamburgers at Jollibees? There are 18 million kids in the Basic Education sector, an overwhelming percentage of whom are in the public schools. But if government were not in the education business in such a big way, private school tuitions would go DOWN as economies of scale cut in. It is those economies of scale, competitive pressures, and enforced efficiencies, quality and productivity that a government-run education program, with its bureaucracies and monopoly position, simply cannot do very well at all.

Government should get out of education. It is unfair competition from the public schools that causes high tuition fees in the best schools in the country, not greedy nuns and priests who've taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the very service of education. I say, privatize education.

UPDATE BREAKING NEWS: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reportedly asked the Palace Media to leave this morning's Cabinet meeting after Deped Officer-in-Charge, Dr. Fe Hidalgo, opened her presentation by saying there is currently a shortfall of 7,000 classrooms just two weeks ahead of School opening. I heard the taped exchange in which the President sounded really cross and "corrected" Dr. Hidalgo on her formula for computing the shortage in classrooms, just before she asked the media to leave. Poor Fe! I'm sure her ears are still ringing from what the President said after the cameras were turned off....Resigned Education Secretary Butch Abad came to Dr. Hidalgo's support however, saying that the government simply has not prioritized the building of these facilities. I agree! We are running a Fedex without any trucks or planes or computers. Oh well. She's good earnest person, but I never expected Dr. Hidalgo to get the Education post, which will surely be given to a POLITICIAN ahead of the real work of Deped next year: the 2007 national elections.

QUESTION: If you didn't have to turn it over to the Gang of Four Hundred Thousand in Pasig, what would YOU do with P149.9 Billion Pesos of cold hard cash every year to educate 20 million kids?




You are right that the government should subsidize ALL institutions of learning (even the "private" ones).

Tuitionless education should absolutely not mean crap education.

What is happening in the current education set up in the Philippines is a perpetuation of a set of double standard of learning which is absolutely so backward that it impacts negatively on society.

You cannot expect to have a strong "educated" middle class when you have on one side, sub-standard centers of learning albeit for "free" and on the other side, an elitist form of education that's only available to those with money.

You will find it quite the opposite in France - surprising really but those that are kicked out of public schools because of poor or miserable performance in state-run lycées (high schools) end up in small, privately-run schools that are considered below par by any educational standard here. It is kind of humiliating for a high school student to be kicked out of say, Lycée Charlmagne (a public high school) and for parents to dole out thousands of Euros a year in a "boite à Bac" or a shoddy private paying school.

My children all attended public schools in France when we were living there and I would have never imagined putting them in a purely "private" school even if I could afford to pay the tuition fees simply because state-run schools have far more excellent teaching staffs than in purely "private" learning centers. Why? Because the government pours MONEY in state-run schools...(same thing for hospitals - I would not dream of going to a privately-run hospital because state-run hospitals have the latest equipment and employ the best professors of medicine on their staffs.)

France has what we call "écoles libres" which, contrary to what "libre" means, are heavily subsidized by the govt too but they are usually religion orientated schools and require parents to pay reasonable tuition fees. Many of these ecole libres, however, are good schools but still are not at par with many of state-run schools. Government pays its teachers very well here and offers great civil service perks which cannot be met by private institutions!

The University of Sorbonne and 99.5% of universities in France are tuition less insitutions of learning. Children don't pay to learn there - our exorbitant taxes pay for them. The government pours in enormous amount of subsidies to make sure that French faculties are at par with their counterparts elsewhere.

This is democracy at work - top notch education is accessible - EVERYBODY, poor, not so rich, rich, millionaires, etc. have access to good education. All students who go to French universities, in principle must have access to the same set of teachers, instructors, corps of professors and their teachings - what students do with what they learn after university or thereafter is their business.

Filipinos have a great capacity and a natural aptitutde for learning but they must have access to quality learning otherwise what use will going to school be?

I also believe that it's time the education department revise the curricula - the Philippines must adopt the international western standard of a total of 13 years of primary and secondary education prior to going to university. Ten or 11 years of general primary and secondary education combined is definitely not sufficient for learning particularly when the teaching is substandard.



A nota bene: medical and law schools which are usually very expensive schools elsewhere are for free in France. A medical or a law student DOESN'T pay for his education here - there are no tuition fees in French medical or law schools. Taxpayers' money is what pays for our medical and law students' schooling.

So, perhaps Filipinos should start learning French to get admiited into French universities!

The education department in France has the highest cut of the state budget and is the BIGGEST employer in the country followed closely by the health department and really, that's what all governments should strive to do for its citizens.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

I beg to disaggree, Dean. Privatizing education will only worsen the problem.

Consider the following data: In the current scheme where basic education is supposed to be free, DepEd data shows that of every 100 that enters Grade I, only 66 eventually finishes Grade VI and 43 graduates from high school. That's already a very high ratio of non-completers. Even if economies of scale can theoretically bring down tuition, there will still be tuition to be paid and it will all the more exacerbate the situation.

My take is to decentralize education to cities and provinces, and make their elected officials accountable for education outcomes. Elections, ideally, should be decided among others on whether mayors and governors have been able to improve test scores (testing and quality assurance mandates should remain with DepEd) within their locality.

By the way, we've been experimenting on these in Naga City, but the centralist tendencies in the DepEd is proving to be a tough nut to crack.

Without Borders said...

in reality, a country's educational system should be a combination of private and public. and it should be very competitive by opening the country's educ system to foreign presence, 100 percent. as to subsidy to private sector, im not comfortable about it. money is scarce; its better used in improving primary education. then we should allow stiff competition in tertiary education.

Rizalist said...

Welcome to Philippine Commentary Willy. I guess I don't understand your objection. The cohort completion rate certainly leaves something to be desired. But what does that have to do with the wisdom of "free" public schools? In some ways a "free" public school means we are already "paying" people to go to school. Yet the drop out rates are, as you point out too high for comfort.

I would suggest that the data abundantly prove the people are not getting P120 billion pesos worth of education. Teachers are getting their salaries but that's about it.

I do agree with you on "decentralization" but the main question is this: How much should the government be involved in education at all?? I would say it should be responsible only for what it can do well. Which is almost nothing, but it is not nothing. It is not however, 90% of the whole burden.

Rizalist said...

Not too about to tackle also the Curriculum of the Public Schools. It's atrocious and congested and there will be many examples of violation of the Principle of Separation of Church and State.

DAVE -- Yes indeed, but a HEALTY mix is needed. The public schools here are CROWDING out the private schools, forcing them to charge exorbitant rates. It's part of our split level society, since the rich can afford to send their kids to private school. I guess for them it also keeps the riff-raff out!

But I think the private religious corporations would love to serve a much BIGGER market.

manuelbuencamino said...

I believe it's generally accepted, even in the most capitalist of countries, that education through high school must be made available even to those who cannot afford to buy a meal.

We should celebrate the birth and death of Rizal equally, just like we do Christmas and Easter. Specially if we believe that his death led to the birth of the nation.

If we had changed the name of our country to Rizal the celebration of his death would be even more meaningful. He would have become the goal for our citizens to attain. Unfortunately we chose to call ourselves after Spain's worst king.
Now we have an entire country trying to measure up to Felipe

Rizalist said...

MB: No one seems to disagree on the goal. All of us are against ignorance. But HOW do we get the job done in the reality of the Philippine archipelago in the here and now?

Is the govt the best vehicle for it? Is "free public education" really free at P119.5 billion thrown away into a futile enterprise.

Are we not maybe merely salving our conscience and covering up mental laziness by saying, "We are not spending enough!" Then wring our hands when nothing happens and the kids just fail all the tests miserably. Not that testing is good for its own sake. But it does tell us something about what we are getting for the money.

I guess what I am saying is, YES let's buy ALL the education we can afford. But why stick to this one vendor that has delivered a crappy product since time immemorial??

Without Borders said...

"I guess what I am saying is, YES let's buy ALL the education we can afford. But why stick to this one vendor that has delivered a crappy product since time immemorial??"

Could you please be specific by citing an example of countries doing this? My own take is that those billions are lost due to crowded curricula, too many teachers teaching crap, and not enough teaching materials and classrooms. If one streamlines curricula to the barest minimum, the the really ones that matter, you do away with crappy subjects being taught by stupid teachers. then you got lots of savings to improve elementary and secondary education. and maybe, with that savings, you could attract bright kids into the teaching profession. A P16,000 per month salary (basic) for teachers for instance (not really big money) would do a lot to attract bright young people the way call centers and BPO firms are having them now.

Rizalist said...

Without Borders,
The simple question really is this: If we are going to spend 120 billion pesos or so on "education" in 2006, who says it ought to be spent on that gang of 400,000 in Pasig??

My point is, there are many other organizations, including corporations and private schools that ought to get some of that money, because we the public might just get something more out of it than what we have been: cellar-dweller performance by the kids.

Why is is automatic that we give 90% of the budget to the members of the National Teachers Union and the bureaucrats that have made a life's career in the bureaucracy of Deped?

Just think of Deped as a special lil company that holds the monopoly on a P120 billion peso a year industry called education.

Why can't we hold a public bidding for who gets 120 billion pesos?

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Cohort survival is an access indicator Dean. And most often, it is the poorer students that drop out of the cohort in the supposedly "free" public school system of ours.

I think my point is clear: privatizing education will erect barriers to access, the economies of scale notwithstanding. In such a situation, you can expect cohort survival to further worsen. And society will suffer all the more.

On the other hand, I agree with you on the quality issue, that is why it is critical to exact accountability from the main service provider, which is DepEd. And in the absence of better alternatives, a national testing scheme done annually is the practical way to do it.

Up to what extent should government get involved in education? In Naga, we create additional classes so long as there is demand and justification (e.g., the target class size of 45 and 40 for high school and elementary, respectively) for it. But the highly centralized structure is giving me fits.

If education were decentralized to the city government, I am confident we will do a much better job because (1) we will test both private and public schools, and use results to reward good performance; and (2) if private schools are indeed doing a better job, we are willing to redirect excess enrolment in public schools to private to use their excess capacity instead of building new ones; and (3) we will bid out contracts for alternative learning classes to NGOs and the private sector that will capture dropouts from the formal school system.

But that can only happen if we assume control of the public school system, and that is not to the liking of both the national and local DepEd who still mostly see us as "meddlers."

Jego said...

How much do we spend per student? (I say 'we' because that's our money.) If we can figure that out, maybe we can get that money directly to the students in the form of cash vouchers that they can use to enroll in whichever school they want, public or private. Private schools can then compete fairly with the public schools for the 120 billion.

Is the budget submitted to Congress on a 'per student' basis, or is it based on the needs of the bureaucracy?

Rizalist said...

Regarding 'centralization' one cruel aspect is the fact that building projects may only be given to DPWH for completion. It's a built in payment of the government to itself, which however results in massive corruption, inefficiency, and the perennial shortage of school facilities. That is one example of a built in flaw to a system that accepts the government and its agencies are the MAIN education providers of a population. This has nothing to do with academics, but only with economics. Yet in results in the depressed state of education.

Thus it goes beyond the honesty and sincerity of teachers and administrators, even on the local level.

If we assume that it is a good thing for the govt to be in charge of education, we really have to establish that its agencies are the best providers for the component materials, services and personnel utilized for educating the public.

Are school buildings best supplied by the DPWH? Are textbooks best made by government-appointed boards or selected publishers? Is our money best spent on the gang in Pasig, and every other govt agency that gets portions of the Deped budget?

Lord Dracula said...

First weed out the unnecessary personnel in DepEd. Let's face it: even in best-run companies, salaries and wages take a high toll on budgets and incomes. So retain the essential personnel. I taught for three years in a private school. For a school to get the best teachers, it must be able to offer them good salaries. Look at UP. Look at our public school teachers. Look at most of our private schools, specially tertiary ones.

I think it would be best if education is also devolved to the LGUs. Insulate it from patronage politics.

I don't agree with subsidizing private schools. Most of them are just greedy. There's one school (I won't mention names) who still use Pentium S CPUs for computer lab classes. And to think they charge one of the highest tuition fees in the land.

I'm not sure, but I think we are barking at the wrong tree here.

And lastly, can we have two Rizal Days?

Rizalist said...

Taking off on the old idea of "bureaucrat capitalism" -- just think of Deped as DEPED INC., a company whose monopoly is enforced by law and whose budget is really none of its doing--it just arrives year in year out, bigger every year than the year before!

Now what company has it so easy in the private sector?

My basic thesis is that if people treat the govt like one of the possible service providers for their collective needs, and compare them with the possible competition, maybe we wouldn't be so eager to give 120 billion pesos to the gang of 400,000!

ALL the personnel at Deped are largely unnecessary to the concerns of a school -- a REAL school -- out in the sticks of Mindanao or on top of a mountain in the Cordillera, whose needs are probably best provided by a suitably connected private school run by priests and nuns!

One advantage of going private is that there would be no more shyness about "character and religious" education.

Though the latter could be the basis of a fresh objection to privatization -- that we could not guarantee equal education across religious faiths, since Catholics would naturally have an advantage.

manuelbuencamino said...


Okay. I get it. I'm with you.

Let's put aside a certain amount of taxes and buy the best education we can afford.

We will limit DepEd to setting standards. Let's leave it to the private institutions to qualify for funding. Let them build classrooms and hire teachers.

Or maybe the government can handle the building of classrooms but let's leave the hiring of teachers to private educational institutions

And screw the subsidy for the Comelec.

Sounds good to me.

Econblogger said...

Two possible reforms:

1. Devolution - devolve all schools to the local governments. Why the heck wasn't this function devolved in the first place, anyway?

2. Privatization (advocated by Philippine Commentary) - Replace the government-production system with the government-provision system through school vouchers, where benefits decrease with household per capita income. This way everybody becomes Iskolar ng Bayan, freedom of choice is maintained, and those that can afford education, must.

If no. 2 is too radical, we can always start with no. 1.



The problem in the Philippines is NOT private or public school education - the problem you have is your system, it's friggin absolutely gobsmacking CORRUPT!

The Dept of Education is ONE of the most CORRUPT departments in the country (100% kickbacks). Unless you clean it up, you will always have substandard education across the board!

How on earth can you expect to build school rooms, buy equipment, provide good teaching when the money is being paid into the private pockets of Dept Ed civil servants?

The friggin money should go to the education of STUDENTS and not in their pockets! Haven't they got that yet in the Philippines?

100 + billion pesos in education? Dean, that's a heck of a good budget for a 3rd world nation!

But we do know that at least 35 to 40% of that 100 billion pesos go to Dept Ed civil servants - that's goddamn LOTS of money taken out of the budget! How on earth can you build classrooms, provide euqipment, continuing education for teachers, etc. if the budget is always short in the end?

Dean, you have enough budget for a good start!

What you need to do is to tell those goddamn bogus, pseudo educators in the Dept Edu and in this friggin govt who are taking kickbacks, stealing the money from the backs of our burdened teachers to beat it!

So you can have better spending money for the education of your poor people!

Kickbacks, corruption, etc is what is killing education in the Philippines Dean not the exorbitant fees in private schools!


I just re-read the news report on taray enkantada's dressing down of Hidalgo:

1 classroom for 100 students?
or 50 students per shift? Jeez! 50 pupils in one class for a 4 hour learning period in the day? That's a joke!

Ugh! That is absolutely killing not only for teachers but also for the pupîls/students!

How can you dispense quality education with that kind of ratio?

What can 50 pupils learn in a half (morning or afternoon) learning session? Very little! Moreover, there's what... 10 or 11 years of a combined primary and secondary education ONLY? Gosh, it's worse than what I thought. There can be NO quality education given that kind of learning system.

I thought school kids should go to school at least till mid-afternoon! What do they do the rest of the time? Watch TV? Ugh!

Rizalist said...

There is no doubt that big time corruption occurs at Deped. But don't forget the numbers show one undeniable thing: P100 billion of the P119 billion will actually go to salaries. Most of that won't be stolen because people depend on it. However, the MOOE and capital expense portions are definitely a source of graft, both to Deped and DPWH and many other govt agencies that benefit. But even textbooks, the budget is a measly 1B.

There is just something inherently wrong with this that goes beyond corruption. It is a DESIGN and conceptual problem. While lip service is paid to education, what we really are buying is teacher employment. P100 billion worth of it.



There's nothing wrong with employing 300 to 400 thousand teachers but the question remains - the quality of teachers and the ratio! Simply staggering.

No teacher can impart learning for a measly 4 hours every day to a group of 50 pupils which if she's lucky only half are not hungry.

You are right! There is an education design problem here. There is no way you can produce a strong educated population with that kind of learning scheme... no way.

You have to re-design the entire teaching and learning concept -overhaul the entire education architecture.

As I've said and I've seen this lots of times in the Middle East where hubby's company employs a vast number of Pinoy technicians holding PI engineering degrees who unfortunately have to be re-trained to become engineers (because they are still short in terms of real engineering know how and skills): Pinoys have a natural capacity and a great aptitude for learning but teaching must be dispensed properly.

My hubby (a nuclear engineer) says that he would rather take and re-train 2 Pinoy technicians to become engineers than take on say 10 Sri Lankan, Indonesian or Pakistani "engineers" coz Pinoys are easy to teach and learn quickly!

Rizalist said...

The teaching force is divided up according to subject area. Tomorrow am going to post on the Basic Education curriculum, which determines the makeup of the teachers. lately there has been a proliferation of subjects, congesting the curriculum, but generating employment opportunities galore for all kinds of teachers in various subjects. It's endless...despite the recommendations for curricula to be decongested.

It's all needed of course in a real education system. I just don't want the govt in charge of it anymore. They've royally screwed it all up for over a century. It's time to move over and give the private sector a chance to do it.

All those high tech bloggers even and cell phone whiz kids...heck P100 billion would just about buy one $100 laptop for each of our 20,000,000 students! Might be a better way to spend the money!

Rizalist said...

I agree with devolution but the centralized nature of the deped is driven by political necessity.

Regarding school vouchers, there is already a multi billion peso program compoonent tha tputs public school students in private schools at P4000 per head.

But I think the very interesting concept is that public schools warp the economics of pricing education in the private sector.

Do you think the idea of economies of scale has merit? Would private school tuitions go up or down if their enrollments were ten times their current levels? Some administrators I've talked to say it should go down if the schools manage the income right and make the right investments.

Amadeo said...

My thoughts are similar with those of Econoblogger’s comments above, and these observations are based on actual discourses and experiences, though grudgingly stated, here in the US.

The Department of Education was a statewide agency before it was converted into a Federal agency several administrations past. Test scores have plummeted since while expenses soared. Thus, states make a better job at education

Secondly, the raging controversy in education here right now is the issue of school vouchers. And it is a controversy still only because the national teachers’ union is a very strong and rich political lobby group that will not allow its power and reach to be diminished. Again, in areas where school vouchers have been allowed, results have been more than promising. The system simply allows the parents of students the choice which school to put the allocated per capita expense – whether to a public or private school. Thus, no need for extra funding and definitely, no added layer of bureaucracy.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...


Education was not devolved precisely because of the "hidden subsidy" that Dean was talking about - their role in our electoral exercises.

When the 1991 Local Government Code was being crafted education was really being considered for devolution, but lawmakers had a change of heart because teachers count the votes at the precinct level during elections.

Unless our elections are fully automated, which should have been a long time ago, Congress will not dare devolve education to local governments. The downside is having a centrally managed system that is plainly unmanageable because of its sheer size and resource requirements.

Econblogger said...

Economies of scale? Hmm, let me see. Let the education metric be one contact hour per student per week. This is usually how matriculation fees are computed.
Yes there is scope for economies of scale - teachers (by raising the student:teacher ratio), facilities (raising the students:facilities ratio, where facilities = classroom, library, playground, auditorium, ...)

I doubt though whether the economies of scale would be significant. This deserves more careful study though.

Suppose government production of education is removed but the subsidy remains the same. I would think that, since the government is underproviding quality, the private sector would on average provide better quality education. This would likely come at a higher price. So out-of-pocket cost on average goes up. In the long run though this price increase would pay for itself through higher wages.

The challenge though would be to redesign the subsidy scheme so that the poorest would end up with more subsidy, while the nonpoor or even less poor would end up with less subsidy. Then the fixed subsidy pie (120 billion) is cut up in a better way.

Without Borders said...

"Why can't we hold a public bidding for who gets 120 billion pesos?"---Honestly, im not yet sure about it. if the soldiers and cops couldn't get the bad guys, are we supposed to bid out national security and police work to israeli mercenaries, and ex-navy seals? would ateneo which is charging 67,000 pesos per semester per child be willing to admit the boy from payatas who cant even afford a meal? you may have noticed that the ateneo or lasalle doesnt offer much science disciplines needed for national development? privatization is cute, im for it; but i havent seen any working model for education globally. maybe i lack data here. deped certainly has lots of problems; well, its the problem. lets have a deep look at it the way you are doing now. some recommendations are nice at the abstract level, but the devil is always in the detail and i want to see those details before well close down public schools and start calling in the jesuits.

Senor Enrique said...

Come to think of it, you're right! Rizal Day ought to be in June -- with the nation celebrating his great contributions.

As for education, when coming home to Manila after spending many years abroad, I was appalled to meet some public high school senior students who were unable to utter comfotably simple sentences in English. They're definitely at at a disadvantage compared to private school graduates with confident command of the English language. I'm reminded so much of Rizal's intense desire to have Spanish taught to every Filipino.

Rizalist said...

Welcome Senor Enrique!

Yes, that the Spanish Language was not gifted to us, was perhaps our greatest loss during those centuries, our worst deprivation!

Imagine if in the 1500s and 1600s, Spain had brought and shared with the indios her culture, her tongue. If throughout that long era we were already developing our Rizals and Cervanteses, our Nerudas, it wouldn't even have mattered that we were being exploited. For then the stars of dreams and the seeds of hope would already have been implanted, and in their ultimate flowering, there would also surely have come catharsis and gratitude toward Mother Spain.

I doubt very much that we would be Norte Americanos, as we are today, if we WERE Spanish speaking already for three centuries.

We are bound to the Anglosphere in ways that Spain can never claim or recover or even now establish. It's too late. we are irrevocably Norte Americanos now, with a cute accent and our own fate and destiny.