The Philippines began a new school year this month. Roughly 21 million children enrolled in a public school system. That after decades of deliberate starving of funds by successive governments is atrocious.
Newspapers reported that in Metro Manila. 82 percent of the 764 public schools in the metropolis congested and were conducting classes in two shifts. The first shift starts as early as 6 a.m. and the second ends as late as six in the evening. Reported to be as many as 80 students in each classroom. School authorities resorted to cutting classes in half and cramming the excess students into “science labs, libraries, corridors and even the principal’s office.”
According to the IBON research foundation. In 2011 the Philippine public school system was short 152,569 classrooms, 150,000 water, and sanitation facilities. 13.23 million school chairs. It lacked 95 million books. IBON reported a shortage of approximately 100,000 teachers.
These terrible conditions have taken a massive toll on the education of children. Only 68 percent of sixth-grade students nationwide achieved a passing score in Mathematics and Science, according to the government National Education Research and Testing Center. The results for secondary students were even more dismal. Only 50 percent passed in the same subjects.
Wracked by endemic poverty and a decrepit education system, children drop out of school at an alarming rate. 6 percent of students leave before reaching Grade Six. Eight percent left school before they reached their fourth year of secondary education.
The lack of books and other school materials compels teachers to shell out money. From their meager income to cover the cost of photocopying books for students. To purchase visual materials and even to buy chalk.
The average teacher to student ratio. Is one teacher for every 36 elementary students and one to every 35 secondary students. The Manila Bulletin, citing a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report, stated that classes in the Philippines had 43.9 students on average. This is three times the ideal class size.
The reality of public education in the Philippines is a nightmare for the working class and oppressed masses.
The state serves the ruling elite. In the 2014 national government budget of 2.3 trillion pesos. Debt servicing—and not education. Is the largest allocation 793 billion pesos. 35 percent of the budget. Is directly into the coffers of international finance capital. Part of the budget allotted for public education amounts to less than 15 percent.
Since the 2014 budget for education. Which Aquino presents as unprecedented generosity from the state. Amounts to an annual allocation of just 16,000 pesos for every student in the public school system. This is a daily allocation of 61 pesos. To put matters in perspective, a small cup of coffee at a local Starbucks costs 95 pesos.
I’m hoping the recently elected President Rodrigo Duterte can sort this out.
John is a very young 56 who has lived in the Philippines for over ten years and makes his living online as an SEO consultant and copy writer along with other onliner resources. John has lived in Davao, Manila and in Puerto Galera and has become an honoury Filipino. His hobbies include traveling and 1970s culture