A Decade and Billions Lost

Silander and Välijärvi conclude in their chapter in a book on PISA assessment, "An evident strength of the Finnish basic education system is attributable to teachers’ high professional competence and their strong ethical commitment to their work." Sahlberg's "What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?" frequently highlights the view that the Finnish main advantage in education is the quality of its Finnish teachers. Having excellent teachers, however, does not grow on trees. It took Finland a decade of education reform. First, a single, mixed-ability, nine-year comprehensive basic education for all children was introduced. Second, teacher training was removed from colleges and transferred to universities. Third, reform in higher education placed research on top. The results are clear. While maintaining above-average performance in PISA exams, Finland also demonstrates equity in basic education.

Above copied from
Finland - Country Note - PISA 2018 Results

The Philippines went through an education reform during the present decade. Unfortunately, the reforms have nothing to show. The Philippines ranked either at the bottom or near the bottom in reading comprehension, math and science. Years of education reform have been spent on a new curriculum on basic education that included tracking of students in separate tracks at the end of high school. A large amount of money have been spent on a new curriculum and seminars for teachers with no good results. Philippine basic education, as seen through the lens of PISA 2018, provides poor learning outcomes through a system characterized by high inequity. A decade and billions in funds have been wasted on an education reform that does not recognize that the most important factor in any educational system is the teacher.