The Draft Constitution Fails to Address Problems in Basic Education

Decentralization may indeed be beneficial for the Philippines as the individual regions are freed from an Imperial Manila. Unfortunately, The draft constitution, with all its attempts to decentralize the administration, keeps basic education under the proposed federal government. The mere fact that one Department is responsible for nearly 30 million pupils, about 1 million teachers, and one hundred thousand schools is truly daunting. While analyzing how education reforms in Thailand have failed to materialize, Fry and Bi use the Philippines as an example to explain what is happening in Thailand: "Problems in implementing reform in the Philippines mirror those in Thailand. The implementation of reform in the Philippines has been adversely affected by a large bureaucratic highly centralized hierarchical Department of Education resistant to change." Most successful educational systems in the world demonstrate a diffusion of leadership from the center to local levels. After all, educational needs and circumstances are often local. The mother tongue, for instance, is one specific item that differs from region to region in the Philippines, yet, those who are advocating for federalism fails to see that basic education in the Philippines must be among the first to be decentralized.

Above copied from
Politics and the Bureaucracy

Without decentralizing basic education, the proposed federal government in the Philippines remains a behemoth. The budget alone speaks volume on how much really remains under the federal government. For 2018, the budget of the Department of Education is 550 billion pesos, which is second only to the budget of Department of Public Works and Highways.

Above copied from
GMA News Online

Amending the Constitution and dramatically changing the political system of a country is expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, it only warrants that such change addresses pressing issues. I am reminded of a statement published by the Philippine Institute for Developement Studies a decade ago on why reforms in education fail in the Philippines: "The present institutional culture of DepEd is such that no one down the line moves unless there is an explicit instruction or memo from the higher offices." The draft constitution does nothing to decentralize basic education in the Philippines.


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