Focus and Prioritize
|Above copied from the Inquirer|
The above situation, unfortunately, is not confined to one region in the Philippines. The lack of readiness is undeniable.
Incorrect prioritization not only leads to lost opportunities but also long term consequences. In every year that real problems are ignored, these not only linger, but also worsen. With lower infant mortality rates and higher fertility, the population of a country becomes relatively young. With this scenario, the future can indeed be bright with more productive citizens in the coming years. This demographic dividend, however, will fail to materialize if the necessary actions are not taken now. Each year adds to the age of a child. This can not be postponed simply because policies of public education and social welfare are not working. Failure in this regard has effects that can not be erased. Children who fall behind on important milestones in their physical development face long term impacts that are permanent and can not be rectified.
|Young Filipino children working in a landfill (Photo courtesy of Manny Olalia Quemuel)|
|Above figure captured from "Food for Thought"|
- score 7% lower on maths tests
- are 19% less likely to be able to read a simple sentence aged 8, and 12% less likely to be able to write a simple sentence
- are 13% less likely to be in the appropriate grade for their age at school.
One must keep in mind, however, that the window of opportunity to resolve the problem is limited. Priorities.... Food for thought....
The video above talks about a valedictorian candidate from an elementary school. The principal is worried that even the top student from this primary school may find high school difficult. With the lack of learning materials and equipment, grade school children are not being prepared for high school. For example, there are more than six hundred elementary school students that share one computer. Most of the time, students see these learning facilities only in pictures. Even the libraries are empty. Thus, it is not surprising that most students do not pass achievement exams. Teachers emphasize that elementary schools really need better facilities. DepEd responds that this lack in elementary schooling will be addressed by the enhanced K to 12 curriculum.
The picture looks even worse when one considers the Quick Counts Data of DepEd on elementary and high schools. High school has less teachers, less classrooms, less desks. Take, for example, the case of Paete, Laguna. The town has three public elementary schools in its poblacion, but there is only one public high school and it is not as big as the three elementary schools combined. At the national level, the number of teachers in elementary schools is approximately twice the number of teachers in high school. If problems in elementary schools are not addressed at the earlier stages, one may guess that problems would only get worse in high school. And if problems remain in high school, we will do remediation in college. Do we know remedial education? The following is a good place to start:
If we are thinking about remedial education in high school, we probably should look at: