|COUNTRY||SCIENCE-SCORE||RANKING (1 -38)|
|Philippines||345||36 (out of 38)|
|COUNTRY||SCIENCE-SCORE||RANKING (1 - 38)|
|Philippines||345||36 (out of 38)|
The Philippines repeated this dismal performance in both math and science in 1995, 1998 and 2003, being consistently dead last among the Asia Pacific Rim countries and always third from the last in the world. (Thank God for Haiti and Somalia!)
The major causes for low academic performance in math and science were identified by the survey sponsors after analyzing the data and working with the participants:
(1) Congested curricula have to be streamlined to focus on the the essentials so human and material resources can be devoted to key subject areas instead of a whole potpourri of curricular and extacurricular subjects and activities.
(2) Teacher training and instructional materials like textbooks and computers are needed to teach key subject areas like Language, Math and Science.
As full and active participant in the TIMSS process, the Philippines was well-informed of these findings, and they certainly applied. But as usual the Nationalists and Anti-imperialists in the Media and Gov't went to work soon after the 1998 Timss results were announced (which confirmed the 1995 findings) -- to suggest that the tests were flawed or biased (despite the fact that they were each conducted in the Philippines by Philippine authorities on 6,000 private and public school students).
jThe findings should've been a wake-up call to the Philippine Education establishment. Instead how did they respond to the international evaluation of our curriculum and teaching systems?
When Raul Roco took over at DepEd as Secretary of Education in 2001 in the aftermath of Edsa Dos, he brought with him a powerful cabal of Roman Catholic Church academicians and consultants, mainly from the University of Asia and Pacific and Jaime Cardinal Sin's version of the Roman Curia. They were determined to "fix" the Public School curriculum, which had been dangerously veering off into things like --gasp!--Sex Education in high school (where a lot of sex starts to happen). They were determined to "integrate" something called VALUES EDUCATION into ALL the subjects being taught at public school.
Together they came up with and implemented the 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum which covers the TEN-YEAR public school system (6 in Grade School, 4 in High School) and consists of FIVE SUBJECTS (Pilipino, Makabayan, English, Math and Science), under the 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum:
**The Science Subject was abolished at the Grades One and Two Levels in the 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum which was approved by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo while DepEd was under Sec. Raul Roco and the heavy political influence of the Roman Catholic Church.
In retrospect, the abolition of the Science subject at Grades One and two was a disastrous and destructive change. Not only did it represent a real reduction of 20% in the overall coverage of Science in the public school system, it also knocked the foundations out from under the whole structure because, as bitter experience is now demonstrating, graduates from the public Grade Schools are coming into high school with 33% less Science subject exposure!
How then can the High School system manage to teach a relatively rigorous course involving Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics when the graduates being produced by the Grade Schools only started learning Science in Third Grade?
It was literally impossible for the system to adjust to what might have seemed in the dim light of 2002 to be a small, minor change in the removal of the Grades One and Two science subject.
The disdainful thing about it is the sneaking suspicion that is daily confirmed by 20/20 hindsight that the Science subject was abolished for no other reason than to make room for the thing called Makabayan, which I must stress is not a single pure subject, but a hodge podge of many subjects.
So what was the Philippines' basic response to the TIMSS recommendations to decongest its curriculum and improve teacher training and textbook availability?
Well, the curriculum now in place has just as many subjects as before (except half of them are hidden away in "Makabayan"), and they abolished the Science Subject at the Root, thus killing the whole organism!
The Philippine Public School System is an altruistic and ambitious construct left over from Colonial Days. It pledges to give ten years of quality education, tuition-free, to every Filipino citizen born, of which two million a year are arriving every year in this epoch of 2% population growth rates and 30 year doubling times. In 2008 the Dept. of Education budget was 144 billion pesos, while State-run Universities and Colleges were allocated 19.4 billion pesos through the Commission on Higher Education (Ched). With Tesda's share, the Education sector got over 180 billion pesos out of the 1,227 billion peso 2008 national govt budget. Most of these allocations (85% or more) go to "personal services" that is, salaries.
EVERYONE knows the 10 year Public School System is woefully inadequate for maintaining the overall competitive stance of the Philippines in global employment and investment markets. A K-12 system such as in the more advanced countries, or as many privileged, private school kids enjoy even in the Philippines, would be a lasting social investment in the language, technical and scientific literacy of the Filipino work force -- as everyone agrees -- but the daunting challenge is pressure on scarce resources since the system must conceivably absorb up to two million new enrollees annually.
The US Census Bureau maintains a a very useful International Data Base on world population which reveals that the Philippines is currently the 12th largest country in the world by population. The website also contains animated population pyramids for the Philippines showing a ballooning structure in the age distribution diagram -- a veritable Baby Boom and Youth Bulge during the next few decades. Any plan to upgrade the quality of Philippine public schools, by going from a ten year to a twelve year long program or by increasing classroom instruction time must deal with sheer rising numbers that must be served.
The Philippines implements a 10-year public school system with 6 years in Grade School, 4 years in High School. Educators say that we really need a 12 year public school system in order to maintain a competitive, well-educated work force. Now if former Sen. Tessie Aquino Oreta ever becomes Secretary of Education, look for pre-school or kindergarten to be included in the mix of a dream system, K-12, just like in the US.
But with over 20 million school age citizens presently enrolled in the public school system, and 2 million being added to the population annually, it's hard to imagine how a 20% expansion in the system could be accommodated.
The dilemma that faces Education is that the people within it have always known what the right thing to do has been, but forces other than they control the system and powerfully distort what ought to be our greatest social investment in the Future--the education of the next generation!