The Department of Education was questioned about its efforts in raising the quality of education in the Philippines during the budget hearing in the Senate on Thursday.
Senator Imee Marcos asked Education Secretary Leonor Briones the status of the proficiency rate of the Filipino students and the department’s target functional literacy rate for 2020.
Literacy target rate
Based on its 2013 data, DepEd targeted a 90.3 percent literacy rate, which is one of the lowest rates in Asia according to the senator. She also urged the department to raise it to 100 percent.
“We have been passed by Malaysia and Thailand who started much later, ” she said.
Marcos was also alarmed of the department’s lack of effort to improve the literacy rate in the country.
No national effort
“I find it alarming that there seems to be no national effort to finally end illiteracy in this country when in fact we started public education way before anyone else in the ASEAN, ” she said.
Secretary Briones believed that the country’s educational system is incomparable to other countries. She stressed that changes in teachers training will help especially in the practice of their profession.
Senator Win Gatchalian also expressed his shock over the 24.07 percent turnout of “frustrated readers” in the country. Students who fell into the category have comprehension levels below 50 percent.
Secretay Briones said its draft memorandum “Hamong Bawat Bata Bumabasa” will create literacy and reading programs for Filipino learners.
Gatchalian asked the Budget department to allocate more funds for classroom construction. The Budget department only approved P36 billion, which can build 8,000 classrooms contrary to DepEd’s original proposal of 64,000 new classrooms or an amount of P200 billion.
DepEd’s budget proposal of P551.72 billion is the largest allocation among all government agencies. The 1987 Constitution provides that “the State shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education.”
Source: CNN Philippines