Improving PH education for whose sake: Int’l rankings vs student welfare
Education, as what people always say, is the key to success. Without education, achieving our dreams is difficult. Education is a basic right of a person, which is why it is free for all. However, free education does not guarantee quality education if the system itself is not effective.
Being a student in the Philippines is not easy. With our current education system, students often experience difficulties in learning. The education system puts so much focus on students’ performance in school as basis for grades and ranking. This makes learners suffer under pressure because if they do not excel, they are treated differently. It also turns education into a competition when it should not be like that in the first place.
Other countries do not have standardized tests. Having multiple exams in a year does not guarantee excellent academic performance, nor does putting emphasis on rote learning without understanding or analyzing the context. The Philippines ranked lowest in reading in the Programme for International Student Assessment 2018. This only shows that Filipino students have weak comprehension, and the reason for this is they tend to “memorize” than analyze.
The Philippine education system must keep up with high-ranking countries, but how, when there is a lack of funds? Many schools and universities don’t have enough buildings and facilities. My own high school does not have its own building; it’s been almost six years since the school was given land, but construction has not started due to lack of funds and slow response from the government.
In addition, there are not enough textbooks for students in public schools, leaving students no choice but to share; at least two students share a single textbook. This affects the learning of students as they cannot use the facilities they need, such as a laboratory, and because of shared books, they cannot take them home for individual study.
Seeing how the education system of our country currently works, it’s saddening that people are contented with the bare minimum—having high literacy and completers. Why would we settle for something like this when we can do better and achieve more things under a better and improved education system?
Changes and adjustments in the Philippine education system must be done, not for the international rankings, but for the students.
April Faith P. Mantalab, University of the Philippines Los Baños
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