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I. The State of Basic Education
The Department of Education (DepEd) aims to systematically improve the state of basic education by 2015 through the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA). BESRA is anchored on the World Declaration on “Education for All” of which the Philippines is a signatory with other 155 UNESCO-member countries. BESRA has the following goals and objectives:
All Filipino adults (i.e. aged 25 above) should be made functionally literate All children aged six (6) should be in school and prepared to achieve the required competencies for Grades 1 to 3 instruction All children aged six to fifteen (6-15) should complete elementary and high school with satisfactory achievement levels at every grade/year. The government together with the civil society, media, business, and other institutions and organizations should be committed to attaining basic education competencies for all.
At the core of these objectives is the institutionalizing of the people’s full, democratized access to quality basic education. However, recent data from the United Nations, National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB), and even the Department of Education itself expose that the Philippines is far from reaching these targets.
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Table 1. Access and Efficiency ELEMENTARY ACCESS SY 0708-09 09-10 08 1. gross enrolm’t rate Public and 102.05% Private Public 91.13% 92.80% 2. participation rate Public and 85.12% Private Public 75.55% 76.87% EFFICIENCY 1. completion rate Public and 73.28% Private Public 63.34% 63.47% 2. drop-out rate Public and 6.02% Private Public 8.85% 8.84%
SECONDARY 08-09 09-10
82.92% 64.16% 67.91% 60.77% 45.59% 48.65%
Source: DepEd Briefer, Aug. 2010
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As table 1 shows, while the enrollment rate has increased in 2009, the dropout rate has not decreased the same year. The low completion rate also indicates that a considerable number of enrollees are unable to finish schooling. Both dropout and completion rate therefore cancel out whatever “good” the slight increase in enrolment rate has. The United Nations also underscores that the national average of the enrolment rate should not make us lose sight of the fact that poorer areas in the country, especially in Mindanao, have a low enrolment rate. In Sulu, for instance, only 62% of the children
are enrolled in public elementary schools. Moreover, the gross enrollment rate (i.e. the total number of enrollees regardless of age) and participation rate (i.e. the total number of enrollees based on official school age) in elementary are not carried over in the high school level. This goes to show that a considerable number of students in elementary are unable to continue to high school.
Table 2. Population, Enrolment and Out-of-School
SY 07-08 08-09 09-10
13,470,672 13,785,800 Waiting DepEd for
Enrolm’ t (6-11)
4,482,657 4,561,044 (54.4%)
Source: DepEd Basic Education Information System, 2010 Table 2 shows the increase in the number of out-of-school youth which totals to 7.93 million (35.77%) for both elementary and high school. Note that the number of out-of-school youth is higher in the high school level. In fact, more than half of the youth’s population which should be enrolled in high school is out-of-school (54.4%). Table 3. Quality INDICATOR ELEMENTARY
SY 2008-2009 SY 20092010
SY 2008-2009 SY 2009-2010
1. National Achievement Test (Mean Percentage Score) Public and Private Public Only Private Only 65.55% 66.33% 52.47% 68.01% 69.21% 46.71% 47.40% 44.17% 45.56% 46.38% 42.59%
2. School Readiness Assessment Results, % Gr. Assessed (Public) Pre-Assessment Ready Not Ready Post-Assessment Ready Not Ready 69.00% 31.00% 81.00% 19.00% 36.00% 64.00% 40.00% 60.00%
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3 Accreditation and Equivalency Results ALTERNATIVE LEARNING SYSTEM FY 2008 No. of Learners No. of Test Takers No. of Test Passers % Test Pasers based on Takers 319,200 210,726 5,219 26% FY 2009 332,500 120,741 25,487 21%
Growth rate in school age population for 2008-2009 is 2.04% (constant) based on 2000 CPH Growth rate in school population for 2009-2010 is based on regional growth rates based on 2007
Source: DepEd Briefer, Aug. 2010 Based on the National Achievement Test (MPS) in 2010, only an average of 68.01% and 45.56% of the test questions were correctly answered by elementary and high school students, respectively. The 2010 NAT was taken by Grade 3, Grade 6 and Second Year high school students in both public and private schools. It is used to determine the students’ knowledge based on their level. The 45.56% mean percentage score (MPS) of high school students is a clear failing grade. The 68.01% MPS of elementary students is also below the 75% passing rate. The data show that high school students in private schools got a lower score than those in public schools. While the difference between the scores of students in public and private is minimal, the results reveal the low quality of education in both public and private schools.
II. Basic Education Budget (2011)
As stated in his education policy, President Aquino vows to fix ten things in basic education: 1. Implement a 12-year basic education cycle 2. Ensure universal pre-schooling for all 3. Create a sub-system within the education system for all Muslim Filipino (“Madaris system”) 4. Bring back technical vocational education in high school 5. Ensure that “every child (is) a reader” by grade 1. 6. Improve science and math proficiency 7. Provide assistance to private schools as partners in basic education 8. Use the mother tongue as the medium of instruction from pre-school to grade 3 9. Improve quality of textbooks 10. Build more schools with the help of LGUs President Aquino himself admits that Philippine basic education is in crisis. Yet doubt is cast on his lack of commitment to alleviate the salient manifestations of this crisis. Based on its pronouncements and set targets for 2011, the Aquino gov’t does not intend to sufficiently address the existing shortages in
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basic education. Former Education Undersecretary Miguel “Mike” Luz, one of the education advisers of Aquino, puts it thus: spending money on shortages is “throwing money into the problem.”
Basic education budget and shortages
The 2011 budget for basic education is P207.27 billion. It grew by 18.46% (P32 billion) from the 2010 basic education budget of P175 billion. The allotment for basic education is 12.06% of the P1.645 trillion national government budget. The DepEd is the top department to receive the highest budget allocation. It is followed by DPWH (P110.6 B), DND (P104.7 B), DILG (P88.2 B), DA (P37.7 B) and DSWD (P34.3 B).1 Based on the P207.27 billion DepEd budget and the total number of school-age population (22.71 million, age 6-15), the government spending to basic education per student per day, in real value, is P24.97.2 On the other hand, the per capita per day spending, also in real value, is P5.79.3 Out of the P7.69 trillion gross domestic product (2009), only 22.42% of that amount is allotted for the total proposed national government spending for 2011 (P1.65 trillion).4 The basic education sector will get a mere 2.69% (P207 billion) share of the total GDP. Adding to this the share of tertiary education will make it a total of 3.0%, less than half of the 6% education budget recommended by UNESCO (P461 billion). The World Bank, on the other hand, recommends 20% as the average share of education budget in developing countries. 20% of the P1.645 trillion budget is P329 B.
Table 4. Budget, Shortages, Target, Deficit ITEM 2011 GROSS SHORTAGES* Budget** P1.65 Total: 103, 599 billion Teachers Elem 37,460 HS 66, 139 P12.45 Total: 152,569 billion Classrooms Elem 108,977
2011 TARGET** 10,000
DEFECIT 93, 599
Source: DBM budget proposal briefer, 2010
DepEd budget (real value) = total budget (P207 B)*100/CPI (2010=100) = 207 DepEd budget per school-age child per day (real value) = basic ed budget (real value)*1000/ total school-age population (22.71 million, age 6-15)
DepEd budget per capita per day = basic ed budget (real value)*1000/ total population (97.98 million as of 2010)
Source: Table B.7 of the 2011 Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF). Note: 2009 GDP was used since the 2010 GDP will only be completed at the end of the year.
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P1.15 billion Furniture/ School Seats Textbooks P1.78 billion HS Total: Elem HS Total: 43,592 13,225,527 10,272,007 2,946,565 95,557,887 1,168,608 12,056,919
1 million (GASPTE)
*source: DepEd Briefer, 2010 **source: DBM budget proposal briefer, 2010
At first glance, the P32 billion increase in DepEd’s budget would appear substantial in alleviating the woes of the Basic Education sector. Upon closer look, however, the increase in DepEd’s budget is grossly insufficient in addressing the shortages in Basic Ed as shown in Table 4. Former DepEd secretary Mona Valisno has stated that the current DepEd budget is P100 billion short of the amount needed to considerably lessen the shortages. Also, note that the scholarship program is for the Government Assistance to Students and Teacher of Private Education (GASTPE), which means that only students from private schools will be given this assistance. Be that as it may, the amount in nominal value is only P5830 (= P5.83 billion/1 M) per scholar, still insufficient to fully finance the tuition in private high schools. While it is true that a number of students enrolled in private schools belong to poor families, the fact remains that majority of the student population is enrolled in public schools, also belonging to poor, even poorer, families. Although tuition is free in public schools, other school-related costs include food, transportation, school materials, school/miscellaneous fees, etc. Based on the Aquino gov’t’s 2011 target (Table4), the shortages in 2011 would remain as it is now -- dismal. What the poor target of Aquino gov’t means for the 14.23 million students enrolled in basic education is they would still have to make do with crowded classrooms and makeshift seats; teachers would still have to juggle numerous classes, some would even have to handle two or more classes at the same time; the 7.93 million OSY would have to wait for their chance to study as the 1 million scholarships are clearly insufficient even for a band-aid solution. The Aquino gov’t considers addressing the shortages low priority, as if an education system can properly function with a skimpy number of the necessary infrastructures and materials. Indeed, the education sector is in dire need of more budget. To this, the Aquino gov’t replies: we do not have enough funds. But, is this really the case? A quick detour to the proposed budgetary allotment to the military and foreign debt is necessary to reject this claim.
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National Government Expenditure, 2011e (PhP billion)
900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0
38.6 Education Health
77.5 5.7 Housing Defense Debt service (interest & principal)
Source: IBON, 2010
The huge budgetary increase of debt servicing and defense cannot but appear as a clear case of the Aqunio gov’t’s wrong priority setting. The 2011 budget for the interest and principal amount of the country’s foreign debt is 21 times larger than the budget for health while the budget for defense is 2 times larger. The budget for social services such as education, health and housing has either decreased or remained deficient. The P551.6 billion difference between the budget proposal for debt servicing and education is incontestable evidence that the Aquino gov’t has funds to possibly allocate to basic social services, only if it sets its priorities straight. What is more, the amount is enough to also increase the measly budget of other social services such as health and housing, to name but two. To illustrate how the amount could benefit the basic education sector, let us refer to table 5 below.
Budget Rechanneling: A Modest Proposal
2011 TARGET** 10,000 Amount to eradicate shortages (proposed rechanneling from debt servicing)*** P13.79 billion DEFECIT
Table 5. Debt service budget rechanneling ITEM 2011 GROSS Budget SHORTAGES* P1.65 billion Total: Elem HS Total: Elem HS 103, 599 37,460 66, 139 152,569 108,977 43,593
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School Seats / Furniture P1.15 billion Total: Elem HS Total: 13,225,527 10,272,007 2,946,565 95,557,887 1,168,608 P10.71 billion zero
1 million (GASPTE)
TOTAL P 140.43 billion *source: DepEd Briefer, 2010 **source: DBM budget briefer, 2010 *** [(2011item budget/2011 item target) X (Gross shortages – 2011 item target)] – 2011 item budget = amount to eradicate item shortage
Rechanneling P140.43 billion (17.05%) from the P823.3 billion budget of foreign debt will completely eradicate the shortages in the basic education sector, based on the standards of the DepEd. P34.58 billion of that amount can also provide much-needed assistance to the 7.93 million out-of-school youth in both elementary and high school. Should this amount be rechanneled, the “scholarship” program, which connotes scarcity and competition among vying applicants, would less to exist as such. It will then be replaced by much more democratized program to finance the access to basic education of all school-aged youth for elementary and high school. Rechanneling part of debt servicing budget to other basic social services will also be considerably enough to fill in the needs of the latter. Lacking in political conscientiousness, the Aquino gov’t treats the primacy of debt servicing as an unquestioned truth. If the Aquino gov’t would only remain faithful to its supposed commitment to making education the central strategy to empower the youth, rechanneling part of the debt servicing budget to education and other basic social services is a modest, doable act. However, instead of decisively addressing the urgent needs of Basic Ed the Aquino gov’t plans to…extend the number of schooling to two years! Much opposition to the K-12 framework (kindergarten to grade 12) has been voiced by students, parents, teachers, educators and legislators. The terms are well-known: two years is added burden to students and parents.
K-12: a step in the wrong direction
Ideally, added learning and training period in elementary and high school would be beneficial to students. The K-12 proposal, however, is rendered problematic by the context within which it is set to be implemented and the direction it intends to take.
• Shortages vs. K-12
9 Basic Ed Budget Briefer The Aquino gov’t has yet to present a convincing programme to remedy the existing shortages of the education sector. Without first addressing these problems, the K-12 proposal would inevitably appear as a giant step in the wrong direction. How can basic education qualitatively function in the context of the dire shortages? What benefit would K-12 bring if students, in the first place, have no sufficient classrooms to study in, chairs to seat on, teachers to learn from, and textbooks to read? • No place for out-of-school youth K-12 is also hinged on a blind premise which considers the 2 more years in schooling as the key for students to undergo “quality” education. Students at present are already having much difficulty finishing the 10-year cycle of basic education. In SY 2009-2010, 41.95% of students enrolled in public high schools failed to complete their schooling while 54.40% of high-school-aged youth are out-of-school . It is not because they are inherently lazy or lacking in determination as some commentators naively suggest. How can students finish school if school-related necessities like food, health, sufficient wage (of parents), transportation, housing… are not met? Given the financial demands of education, two more years in basic education is an added burden to poor families which comprise majority of the population. • Labor-export policy intensified The Aquino administration also cites as reason for K-12 the need for students to be prepared for work and be globally competitive. What does becoming “globally competitive” effectively mean in this light? It means producing a pliant work force to fill in the global demand for semi-skilled and cheap labor. With the absence of national industries and sufficient jobs, many are forced to work abroad. DepEd’s plan to introduce vocational and technical courses in high school, using as argument the so-called “fact” that students no longer want to finish college, is essentially an endorsement for those students unable to enter college to make do with the voc-tech training and become “for export” laborers. The inclusion of voc-tech training in high school portends to the long-standing labor export policy which aims to swiftly generate semi-skilled workers to be sent to countries in need of such. • Insufficient education budget Already under budgeted, the education sector is expected to experience another blow of budgetary deficit should K-12 push through. It can be remembered that President Aquino, during elections, promised budgetary increase to education to 6% of the gross domestic product, a prescription of the United Nations. Now, it has ruled out the possibility of such promise, touting instead the much familiar line that the money saved from corruption will finance the proposal. What begs to be questioned and reversed is the very framework the government follows in terms of budget allocation to basic social services. The Aquino gov’t should decisively redirect the budget from debt-servicing – which has historically received the largest chuck of the national budget– to social services like education.
IV. Corruption cases
Even with insufficient budget, the DepEd has managed to earn a record riddled by corruption cases. While these corruption cases transpired in the previous administration, the current DepEd leadership should still be pressed to solve these cases and hold
10 Basic Ed Budget Briefer accountable whoever was responsible to their occurrence. So far, the current DepEd has not yet initiated an investigation to solve these corruption cases. • Noodles scam
From 2004 to 2009, the feeding project of the DepEd had only one supplier - Jeverps Manufacturing Corporation (Jeverps). In 2007, Jeverps was awarded the contract to supply for DepEd’s “Fortified Instant Noodles with Fresh Eggs” and “Fortified Instant Noodles with Fresh Eggs and Malunggay.” From 2004-2009, the total amount of DepEd’s partnership with Jeverps is P695 million. The agreements, especially in 2007 and 2009, were anomalous due to: 1) 100-gram pack requirement for instant noodles is not in accord with standard local industry specifications pegged at 55 grams. 2) Product did not contain “Fresh Eggs,” only egg powder. 3) The pricing of one pack at P15, without freight, and P18, including freight, is grossly disadvantageous to the government. Supermarket price is P5/pack, including freight, for a 55-g. pack. There is a computed difference of around P10/pack. 4) Price of P22 for one pack of noodles has an P11 difference with supermarket price of instant noodles. If malunggay powder was indeed added, that would amount to at most an additional P2/pack. 5) Jeverps had only been the sole supplier/winning bidder for all bid/awards for feeding projects called by DepEd from 2004-2009. After being exposed, the anomalous contracts between DepEd and Jeverps have been cancelled. Whatever happened to the P695 million remains a mystery. • Textbooks scam
In 2006, textbook contracts valued at P542,394,628.94 were awarded to Vibal Publishing, Watana Phanit Printing and Daewoo International Corporation. These contracts were supposedly for the supply and delivery of public elementary school districts and high schools of 17,307,234 copies of textbooks in Sibika 1-3, Hekasi 4-6, and Araling Panlipunan I-IV. The contracts were anomalous because: 1) An advance actual payment of 90% of the contract value was opened as letters of credit for Watana and Daewoo even before the delivery to and acceptance by DEPED of the contracted textbooks, violating government regulations prohibiting the advance payment of undelivered goods. It was later found that the money used to fund the letters of credit are LGU funds and NOT government proceeds from the WB loan. 2) the delivered books, especially Sibika 1-3, contained defects such as factual errors, inverted and missing pages, mislabeling of textbooks, poor binding or untrimmed pages, etc. 3)the unfair competition in the award of contracts under the Department of Education’s textbook procurement program and possible. violation of procurement laws. This anomalous textbook deal was scrapped by Malacanang and DepEd in June 2007. Whatever happened to the 90% advance of the actual payment? How will the current DepEd ensure an honest procurement procedure this time around? • Dental needles, otoscopes, citronella shampoo scam
There was a discrepancy between the quoted price per piece of the item “Disposable Dental Needles” of DepED and other companies. The range of the three companies' lowest-price
11 Basic Ed Budget Briefer quotations is Php 2.80 to Php 4.75 while DepED's Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) set theprice at Php 11.00 per piece. The DepED's price for “500 set(s)” of Otoscopes was pegged at Php 1,00,000.00 or, according to the calculated price per piece/item, Php 2,000.00/set. Meanwhile the quoted price per piece of two companies were Php 120.00 and Php 135.00 only. The number of citronella shampoo was changed from 150,000 sachets (December 5, 2007) to 75,000 sachets (Augest 3, 2009). Despite the difference in number, the price of the bundle remained P900,000. The price of each 10ml sachet was P12 each, almost 3 times more expense than the P4.50 average sold in the market.
Definition of indicators:
Gross Enrollment Rate - The total enrolment in a given level of education, regardless of age.
Note: The indicator is used to show the general level of participation in elementary and secondary education. It is used in place of the Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) when data on enrolment by single year of age is not available.
Participation Rate/NER - The ratio of the enrolment for the age group corresponding to the official school age in the elementary/secondary level to the population of the same age group in a given year. Also known as Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) Cohort Survival Rate - the percentage of enrollees at the beginning grade or year in a given school year who reached the final grade or year of the elementary or secondary level. Completion Rate - The percentage of first grade/year entrants in a level of education who complete/finish the level in accordance with the required number of years of study Dropout Rate - the percentage of pupils/students who leave school during the year for any reason as well as those who complete the previous grade/year level but fail to enroll in the next grade/year level the following school year to the total number of pupils/students enrolled during the previous school year Mean Percentage Score (MPS) - indicates the ratio between the number of correctly answered items and the total number of test questions or the percentage of correctly answered items in a test.
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