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Prospects of Achieving the Philippine Millennium
Development Goals in Education

In September 2000, 147 heads of State and Government, and 189 nations in total drafted the

United Nations Millennium Declaration in which they committed themselves to making the right

to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want. The

Declaration calls for reducing to half by the year 2015, the number of people who live on less

than one dollar a day. To accomplish this, specific goals were formulated which became the

Millennium Development Goals or Targets by 2015 shown below:

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Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Goal 8: Develop global partnerships for development

Goals 1 and 2 pertain to education and are closely linked with the Education for All (EFA)

movement began in 1990. In 2000, different countries adopted the six EFA Goals to which the

Philippines also committed. The six EFA goals are: expanding early childhood care and
education; providing free and compulsory education for all; providing learning and life skill to

young people and adults; increasing adult literacy by 50 percent; achieving gender equality by

2015; and improving the quality of education.

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The goal by 2015 is to ensure that children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to

complete a full course of primary schooling. Over-all, there has been a positive trend in the

elementary education participation rate.However, the growth rate has been slower than desired

and the current assessment is that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) set by 2015 may

not be achieved. In the 2010 UN EFA Global Monitoring Report, the Philippines has already

reached the one million mark, twice as much as Indonesia whose population is even almost three

times as ours and four times as much as Cambodia and Thailand.

The report cites the Philippines as one ³particularly striking example of under-performance´ in

educational reforms. Even though it has an average income four times that of [African countries]

Tanzania and Zambia, it has a lower net enrollment ratio compared to these countries that have

steadilyincreasing net enrollment ratios. The progress of a country in terms of its Education

MDG¶s is monitored using the following indicators:

(1) (    c *( c+,Total enrolment in a specific level of education,

regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the eligible official school-age population

corresponding to the same level of education in a given school year.

(2) -   c*- c+: Enrolment of the official age group for a given level

of education expressed as a percentage of the corresponding population.

(3) #%&&c *c+: Percentage of a cohort of pupils (or students) enrolled

in the first grade of a given level or cycle of education in a given school year who are expected to

reach successive grades.

(4)  '  c  * 'c+: Percentage of pupils (or students)enrolled in the first

grade of a given level or cycle of education in a given school year who finish or complete the

given level or cycle.

(5) '%c *'c+: Percentage of pupils (or students) enrolled in a given grade

or level of education who do not finish or complete the grade or level for a given school year.

This also includes those who failed to enrol in the next grade or level the following school year.


From the, the GER is still above 100% showing a very high number that is receiving primary

education. The NER in elementary education had a declining trend from 90.3% in 2002 to 83.2%

in 2006-2007. However, there has been a positive trend since that: 84.8% in 2007-2008 and 85.1

in 2008-2009 (Figure 1). However, this progress is rather small and will not be sufficient to reach

the goal of universal primary education. If this two-year trend (0.95/year) continues, the expected

NER in 2025 will only be at about 92%, way below the target of 100%. In 2005-2006 the

country already missed its national target of 91% (Figure 2). At the current trend the country

may again miss its 2010- 2011 national target of 93% (DepEd and NSCB, 2009).
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The cohort survival rate (CSR)has shown a fluctuating but a generally positive trend since the

lowest rate at 63.5% in SY 1999-2000 (Figure 3). If we take the 4-SY average increase since the

70% in 2005-2006 (about 1.8% per year), the expected CSR by SY 2014-2015 will be at 85.6%

which is within the targeted level at 84.7% (MDG National Report 2010). The completion rate

(CompR), which represents the percentage of Grade 1 pupils who were able to complete the
elementary cycle, has shown a general positive trend as well from 1991 to 2008 from its lowest

level of 65.3% in SY 1993-1994 to its highest level so far at 73.3% in SY 2008-2009. Similarly,

if we take the average annual increase in rate from 68.1% in 2005-2006 to 73.3% in 2009-2009,

the expected CompR in SY 2014-2015 will be 83.5% which is above the target of 81.0% (MDG

National Report 2010).

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The drop-out rate is not as encouraging though since the latest data show a still relatively high at

6.0% (Figure 4). The five year trend has been generally downwardbut still higher from the

targetted level (Figure 5).When we look at the total drop-out picture, the actual drop-out rate is

actually is about 25% by the time students finish Grade 5. The drop-out rate for boys is about 1.5

times higher than that for the girls.

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" 13.1 3.8 2.7 2.7 3.7 2.8 6.0
$  14.6 4.6 3.3 3.4 4.6 3.4 7.1
Ö   11.5 2.9 2.0 2.0 2.8 2.2 4.9
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The drop-out of students in the primary level is caused by several factors, namely lack of

personal interest, high cost of education, inability to cope with school work, and being too young

to go to school, among others including minors needing to work to help augment family income.

One strategy that has been pointed out that might help decrease the drop-out rate is greater access

to early childhood education (ECE) and care. Children that can avail of ECE and care will have

greater ability to cope with school work once they get into elementary level.

In the 2010 UN EFA Global Monitoring Report and UNESCO Institute of Statistics, the latest

pre-primary Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) of the Philippines is 51%, 49% and 47% for 2009,

2008 and 2007, respectively. From the DepEd data, the pre-primary GER are 21.54% in 2007

and 24.7% in 2009. The pre-primary Net Enrollment Ratio (NER) for the Philippines is 37% and

31.8% for 2007 and 2005, respectively.

The GER and NER data above indicate a positive trend which points to an expanding pre-

primary education in the country. Using the UNESCO data, the expected GER by 2015 will be

5. if the same trend continues. Using the DepEd data, the GER will be .. The NER in

2015 will be . if the trend for 2005-2007 continues.

The goal of universal primary education by 2015 is still a daunting task based on the latest

figures. There is a general positive trend of growth although there is a slight dip last SY 2009-

2010 where the participation rate was 85.01% compared to 85.1% in the previous school year. In

terms of percentage of population who finished primary education, the percentage of elementary

graduates improved to 84.1% in 2008, representing 49.6 million of the 59 million individuals

aged 15 and above (Figure 6). Despite such improvement, the figures reveal that there are still

9.4 million Filipinos who were not able to finish elementary education.As the 2010 UN EFA

Global Monitoring Report indicates, the Philippines is in ³real danger´ of missing its target of

providing universal primary education by 2015. Many efforts are being done to move the country

closer to achieving its MDG of universal primary education. The task is daunting and the current

status is bleak but concerted efforts from both government and non-government agencies can be

the wedge for a breakthrough. The government should also decide how much priority they will

put on education for this country starting by evaluating the meagre share of the DepEd¶s budget

from the national budget and the GDP (in 2007) which remains low at 15.9% and 2.7%,

respectively which the UN report cites is one of the lowest in the world. Studies show that the

expenditure in education correlates with participation rate (³Measures for Assessing

Basic Education in the Philippines´ by Maligalig and Albert, 2008).

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The MDG # 3 call for the elimination of gender disparity in primary and secondary education, in

all levels of education no later than 2015. In the 90¶s the elementary participation rate of boys

were higher than that of girls (Figure 7). Over the last ten years though, the girls have exceeded

the boys. In 2008, the ratio of girls to boys was 1.02 in primary education, 1.20 in the secondary

education and 1.23 in the tertiary education. The disparity increases toward tertiary education

where more females (32%) are enrolled than men (26%) in 2008. In the secondary level, the

NER for boys in 2008 was 55% compared to 66% for girls. The ratios were essentially the same

the previous year. The gender disparity in education in the country is also reflected in the 2008

CSR, CompR and DrpR (Figures 7 to 10). In the primary level, the CSR for boys and girls were

71.54% and 79.68%, respectively. The survival rate is thus 11.4% more for primary girls than

boys. In the secondary level, the CSR are 75.46% and 83.93% for boys and girls, respectively.

The survival rate is 11.2% more for secondary girls than for boys. The primary CompR for boys
and girls were 70.44% and 79.94% for boys and girls, respectively. Comparatively, the chance of

girls completing elementary level is 13.5% higher than boys. In the secondary level, the chance

of girls completing high school is 12.7% higher than boys. From Figure 4 above, the chance that

boys will drop out of elementary is almost 40% higher than that for girls.

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The over-all picture of gender equality for education in our country looks bright as determined

by the participation ratio over the last two years (SY 2006-2007 and 2007-2008). However,

looking at specifics such as CSR, CompR and DrpR, leave us to conclude that the male populace

are at a disadvantage than their female counterparts. One of the most cited reasons behind this

gender disparity ineducation is that males tend to get out ofthe system because they either need

to workto help augment their household income or they just had lower motivation in going to

school than females (³Measures for Assessing Basic Education in the Philippines´ by

Maligaligand Albert, 2008). Unless something is done specifically to address the issue, the goal
of gender equality in education will not be a reality by 2015. Government and non-government

agencies must work hand in hand to encourage greater participation of the male population to get

and finish education. The prevalence of malpractices in child labor, for instance, must be

addressed to increase the percentage of male students to complete their education in the primary

and secondary levels.

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1. UN 2010 EFA Global Monitoring Report; ³Reaching the Marginalized´; downloaded January 31, 2011.

2.Statistical Indicators on PhilippineDevelopment (As of July 2009); National Statistics

Coordination Board;;
downloadedFebruary 1, 2011.

3. UNESCO National Education Support Strategy (UNESS) Philippines 2009;;downloaded February 1, 2011.

4. UN 2008 EFA Global Monitoring Report; ³Education for All: Will We Make It?´; downloaded February 1, 2011.

5. Maligalig, D.S. and Albert, J. R. G., ³Measures for Assessing Basic Education in the
Philippines´, 2008;; downloaded
February 1, 2011.

6. The Philippines Millennium Development Goals Indicators (As of September 2010); National
Statistics Coordination Board;; downloaded
February 2, 2011.

7. UNICEF, Division of Policy and Practice, Statistics and Monitoring Section,, May 2008, www.'' .pdf; downloaded
Feb. 4, 2011.

8.Department of Education Factsheets 2010 (As of September 2010);; downloaded
February 4, 2011.

8. Education in the Philippines; UNESCO Institute of Statistics;
g&BR_Country=6080&BR_Region=40515; downloaded February 4, 2011.