Disaster Mitigation and Education Reforms
|Photo downloaded from Typhoon Bopha/Pablo Donations Facebook page|
Typhoon Bopha Leaves Hundreds Of Fishermen Missing In Philippines
There was no doubt in the forecasts made. The image below leaves no doubt on how powerful this typhoon was:
|Forecast and Graphic by: Naval Maritime Forecast Center/Joint Typhoon Warning Center|
And yet, hundreds of fishermen went out to the sea.
There are things that can be done before disaster hits to soften its blow. Yet, we seem to act more readily after and not before the fact. Basic education reform in the Philippines is very similar. The forecasts are unequivocal. Teacher quality and early childhood education are important ingredients for good basic education. And we ignore this. Some politicians are happy to place their names on school buildings that are being constructed. They do this with the same amount of eagerness as they distribute relief goods to places hit by a disaster. The eagerness in taking proactive steps, sadly, is missing.
Anne Lan Candelaria shared the following pieces data in her article, "Poor Education as a Threat to Society":
According to the latest data from the Department of Education, nine out 10 children ages 6 to 12 are currently in school while only six out of 10 teens ages 13 to 16 are enrolled in the public high schools. Among those enrolled, only about seven out of 10 are expected to complete Grade 6 and year 4. Meanwhile, dropout rate among elementary school children stands at 6.29% while the high school dropout rate is at 7.79%.
Should these numbers be a cause for alarm? I believe they should, especially when we realize that there are 13 million children enrolled in the elementary schools and 5.5 million students in high school. A dropout rate of 6.29% and 7.79% means that by the end of the school year, we expect 817,700 elementary school children and 428,450 youth to be invisible from the education reform battlefield, with the possibility of going back to school becoming less and less as they linger longer outside the educational system.For every year that problems in the early stages of education are not addressed, schools will produce a generation of problems. Limited resources should be placed where both need and impact are greatest. DepEd's K to 12 exactly does the opposite. The consequences will be as harsh as those of disasters.