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The Third Elementary Education Project

The "enhanced" K to 12 curriculum of the Philippines' Department of Education (DepEd) is estimated to cost PhP 150 billion. More than ten years ago, the Philippines embarked on a project called the Third Elementary Education Project (TEEP). This project was about PhP 10 billion. First, the project identified the 23 most depressed provinces, which are shaded in the following map:
Above map copied from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00220388.2012.700395

A large scale intervention in elementary schools in these poor provinces was funded under the TEEP project. Izuru Kimura of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, which funded about 40% of the project, wrote the following to describe TEEP:
TEEP’s approach was to improve comprehensively the educational environment in the target provinces by providing various inputs. Aiming to improve quality, access, and management of elementary education, TEEP’s inputs were categorized into three major components: (i) education development; (ii) civil works; and (iii) finance and administration. In concrete, each component had the following inputs: 
  • Education Development Component: This component provided (a) in-service training of education staff (school head, teacher, DepEd administrative staff), (b) the School Improvement Innovation Facility (SIIF), a grant facility for funding specific school improvement initiatives, (c) textbooks and supplementary materials, (d) school kits, (e) equipment, (f) and furniture. After the mid-term review in 2001, School-Based Management (SBM) was added to this component. 
  • Civil Works Component: This component provided classroom and DepEd administrative office facilities. Almost all schools in the target provinces were planned to have at least one classroom facility constructed or repaired by TEEP. TEEP required ten-percent of LGUs’ equity for the school building program.
  • Finance and Administration Component: This component provided teachers and staff of DepEd and LGUs with technical assistance to improve their management of procurement, finance, and project monitoring. It also provided the Education Management Information System (EMIS) to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation function of DepEd.
Kimura also added the following to demonstrate what TEEP has achieved:
After the completion of TEEP, it was reported by the World Bank (2007) that 5,397 classrooms were constructed, 17,110 classrooms were repaired, and 62,251 teachers, school heads, and district supervisors underwent various in-service training. Physical accomplishment of TEEP is visible everywhere in the target provinces, but more remarkable result was the impact on students’academic achievement and completion. TEEP schools performance in the learning areas tested (English, Math, Science, Filipino) in Grades 2, 4 & 6 improved significantly as measured in the National Sample-Based Assessment (NSBA) between its baseline year (1999) and final year of implementation (2005). The completion rate likewise, improved significantly from baseline compared to the rate of the country as a whole. 
The following table summarizes the improvement in the learning areas in schools under TEEP:
Above table copied from http://www.waseda-giari.jp/sysimg/imgs/20080717_paper17_Kimura.pdf
Futoshi Yamauchi of the World Bank and Yanyan Liu of the International Food Policy Research Institute provide a deeper assessment of TEEP in their article, "Impacts of an Early Stage Education Intervention on Students’ Learning Achievement: Evidence from the Philippines", published in the Journal of Development Studies:
ABSTRACT
This article examines the impact of a large supply-side education intervention in the Philippines, the Third Elementary Education Project, on students’ national achievement test scores. We find that two years’ exposure to the programme significantly increased test scores at grades 4 to 6 by about 4.5 to 5 score points. Interestingly, the mathematics score was more responsive to this education reform than other subjects. We also find that textbooks, instructional training of teachers and new classroom constructions particularly contributed to these outcomes. The empirical results also imply that early stage investments improve student performance at later stages in the elementary school cycle, which suggests that social returns to such an investment are greater than what the current study demonstrates.
Part of the analysis of the program presented in this article is an examination of the time it took for the project to be implemented. The following table, for example, shows how fast or how slow some of the inputs reached the elementary schools in the Visayas region:

Above table copied from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00220388.2012.700395
Yamauchi and Liu also performed a component analysis to determine which of the inputs had greater impact on the observed improvement in the learning outcomes. These are their findings:
  • For the textbook eect, earlier stage investments seem very important in determining later stage outcomes. Grade 4 textbook affects student outcomes from grade 4 to grade 6 onwards. This finding is consistent with the recently well established view on the cumulative process of human capital accumulation.
  • New classroom construction significantly helps improve their performance. The effect of renovations is also significant, although it has a much lower magnitude.
  • Instructional training seems to have a greater positive effect on student performance than subject-wise training (mathematics, English and so forth). The latter has a negative effect on student performance, at least in the short run, probably because teachers have to use their teaching time to receive training.
Based on the above, the authors concluded:
...early stage investments improve student performance at later stages in the elementary school cycle. The distribution of grade 4 textbooks is shown to increase subsequent student test scores more than grade 5 or grade 6 textbooks do. This is not surprising due to the cumulative nature of knowledge acquisition (not just in education), but this dynamic production cannot be identified without exogenous variations in the inputs. Our results imply that improved educational quality at the elementary school stage has positive impacts on progress at later stages. The above findings, when combined with evidence in the literature, imply that public investments in elementary education likely have positive longer term impacts on education performance at the subsequent stages: for example, progression to high schools and colleges and academic performance. If so, social returns to an early stage investment can be greater than what the current study seems to show. This argument justifies large public investments to improve school quality at the early stage of public education, because the cumulative benefits are gradually realised at later stages in the education system and labour markets.
So why is the Philippines DepEd spending PhP 150 billion for the additional two years in high school? Is the enhanced DepEd K to 12 curriculum driven by research? The answer is clear.... Economist Raul V. Fabella answered it in the following introspective:


IntrospectiveBusiness World, 12 March 2012

The Philippines has embarked on an enormous P150-billion project — the K to 12 — that is set to add as part of the basic education a mandatory kindergarten and an additional two years to the high school. The mandatory kindergarten is not contentious because there is empirical evidence that it does improve learning outcomes. It is the learning outcomes that should concern us here. I still have to see evidence (perhaps I did not look hard enough) that the additional two years of high school will improve learning performance....



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