I briefly experienced part of my childhood here in the Philippines. It was around kindergarten by the time my father relocated to another middle eastern country, securing a job and a home for our family. Since the transfer, I was supposed to start my pre-elementary education but ended up advancing through primary school and remained in the same academic institution until the end of high school. During that span of ten years of living in the Middle East, I made friends who studied in institutions that catered mostly to the Filipino community. Comparing their school with the Philippines’, it’s suffice to say that they have it better.
Public schools here in the Philippines have insufficient rooms and faculty to accommodate students. It was even reported in an article that the teacher-student ratio last year was at most 1:45, which is not conducive for learning, especially when the classroom is jam-packed and lacks proper ventilation. As shared by friends who graduated from public schools, students have to work harder in their academics compared to their private school counterparts because it consists of mostly part-time teachers, who do not have enough time to ensure that the students have properly absorbed and understood the lessons being taught. On the topic of public schools, considering that there is a large number of enrollees in public schools, there are morning and afternoon sessions implemented that would alternate between sections from elementary up to the high school level. With classes that start at 7 AM and end at 5, with 7 PM being the latest dismissal, it gets monotonous considering that there are several requirements due within a week or so. From what I have observed during my years spent studying in this institution, some (or most) schedules are planned out to make room for the subjects that have only a limited number of teachers who are usually available at later hours due to them being only part-timers.
The government should also give more importance to teachers
Faculty are spread too thin, handling two or three subjects that are taken by almost all sections in their respective college departments. Taking into consideration that instructors, especially those teaching in public schools, are underpaid, it makes sense why many opt to work overseas to seek better opportunities. Different from the schools here in the Philippines, schools in other countries have shorter hours: starting from 8 AM and ending at 2 PM, having classes that each lasted for an hour at most.
Despite these shorter school hours, the overall performance of students are relatively better while also having time to rest and partake in recreational activities. An article that was recently published had brought to light the problem that had long since arisen in the Philippines; the measures taken to ensure that proper education being given to the youth is lacking. Statistics show that the Philippines has notably scored the lowest in reading comprehension and second-lowest in mathematics. It is undeniable that the social standing of an individual is a big factor when it comes to receiving quality education. Program for International Student Assessment 2018 profile of the Philippines showed that the socio-economic status accounts for 18% of the contrasting reading performance.
On the other hand, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries had an average of 12%. Students coming from families that are financially disadvantaged have been reportedly performing poorly in contrast to those who come from economically stable families.
As a student who has experienced two different academic curricula, dare I say that the education system in the Philippines is inefficient for both the faculty and their students when it comes to providing adequate hours for their lessons while also having enough time to rest. The government should also give more importance to teachers to be able to at least increase the number of full-time faculty members that can sufficiently provide lesson plans covered by part-time faculty members. If executed properly, students might just be handled better by respective subject teachers and maybe that’s when we’ll be able to say that we’re well equipped enough to be considered “globally competitive”.