Education in the Philippines, as Related in Cambodia News
|Real Independent Voices of Cambodian Journalists
Education in Cambodia and Philippines, the Long and Rough Road Ahead
...In the eastern Manila city of Marikina in the Philippines, going to school for eight-year-old Lawrence Legaspi depends on whether his mother, a single parent of three, has money on her pocket for a day.
“Sometimes I go to class. If Mama has no money for the day for my fares or school project, I just stay at home,” says the Grade 2 student at the Marikina Elementary School.
The school is approximately three kilometers from Lawrence’s home, and he just walks to and from school if he has no fares but needs to go to school for exams.
“Of course I hope to graduate from high school someday and go to college,” says the boy, “but it all depends if Mama has money to send me.” His father, he says, already left them for another family and his mother has no regular work.
Norma Pinero, 48 years old, still dreams of having at least one of her six children graduate from college. But the dream is becoming more and more elusive, because she only earns about USD 121 monthly as household helper, a pittance in today’s high school and college education fees. Three of her children are already contented with finishing high school because they had to work as well to augment income. Three are still in school – one in high school and two in colleges. “I take on double jobs just to earn the yearly tuition. We have only our determination and hope,” she says.
Pove and his younger sister, Lawrence, and Norma’s children are among the growing number of children in the same situation mainly because of lack of support from both governments to improve access especially by the poorest families...
...The situation is no better in the Philippines. In 2011, the lone party list representing the youth in the Philippine House of Representatives, the Kabataan Party List, gave a stark picture on the survival of children and youth in Philippine schools today: Out of 100 students entering Grade 1, only 21 will graduate from college, but are still not sure if they would land a job.
The 79 others usually become laborers, contractual workers, informal vendors, or worse, social outcasts such as drug addicts or prostitutes, said the party list in its statement...
...In the Philippines, high incidents of child labor are also directly linked to poverty in rural and urban areas. In central Philippines, for instance, children as young as six years old provide extra help for a poor sugar farm worker’s family either by selling charcoal or helping do some back breaking work such as cutting sugar cane and carrying them to trucks for milling...
...Low salaries and benefits for Filipino teachers also make the job less attractive at the cost of providing quality education. Similar to their Cambodian counterparts, many elementary school teachers especially in the provinces take on extra jobs just to earn income, such as selling food and gift items or insurances...
Inability for children to stay in school is not only linked to poverty, but also to the quality of education they receive there.
...In April 2012, Senate Education Committee head Edgardo Angara said in news reports that increasing state spending for education, not adding two more years in the education cycle, would help reform the country’s education system.
He was among several legislators from both chambers of the Philippine Congress raising apprehensions over the K-12 program which began in June 2012, adding two more years in school reportedly to improve quality of education.
With the K-12 program, says the Kabataan Party List and other critics, the DepEd is cooking its own “recipe for disaster” because it still needs about PhP 140 billion (USD 3.3 billion) just to wipe away the age-old shortages in classrooms and textbooks and to accommodate the growing number of children and youth not in school...._________________________________________________________________________________
So the question remains; Why is the Philippine government so determined in implementing its new K to 12 curriculum when there are children who really need assistance, when teachers cannot survive with their current pay? This is the question that critics of DepEd's K to 12 would like to be answered.
And for some children, it is not only a long and rough road...