The Philippine education sector has long faced hurdles, which the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated. At the top of these are students’ job-readiness, access to quality education especially in remote areas, and access to learning technologies.
The Department of Education (DepEd) would need P25 billion a year in the next three to five years to recover from the setbacks students and teachers have suffered since 2020, Education Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said last December.
In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. breezed through the education sector, identifying only five general changes he wanted to implement for learners and teachers in the country. This is a task Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio took on as Education secretary.
Six months after Duterte-Carpio was named concurrently as DepEd chief, she zeroed in on several pain points that students and teachers suffer under the current state of Philippine basic education. “Filipino learners are not academically proficient,” Duterte-Carpio said in late January, when she presented DepEd’s Basic Education Report 2023.
The report underscored the need to upskill both students and teachers and to build more “calamity-proof” school buildings. The Education secretary explained that only 32%, or 104,536 out of 327,851 school buildings in the country, are in “good condition” and that over 17,000 classrooms need to be built in the wake of the damage from Typhoon Odette in December 2021.
“Oftentimes, Filipino learners experience emotional abuse and exhaustion. Some Filipino learners suffer from psychological fatigue. And being academically insecure, many of them may fail to meet the standards of the demanding and competitive world. These are caused and triggered by conditions present at home, in our communities, and even in our schools as a result of problems ingrained in our system,” explained Duterte-Carpio.
She stressed the need to draft new curricula that are inclusive for all learners, including those with disabilities, and can improve students’ job-readiness.
However, aside from brick-and-mortar progress, the DepEd is setting its eyes on the digitization of the education sector. For this reason, the agency increased its target beneficiaries for its computerization program from 44,569 schools to 59,090 schools for 2022.
By the end of 2023, it aims for full distribution of information and communication technology packages to all target schools. Each package contains at least 46 laptops, one smart television, one wireless router, and two charging carts in Regions I, IV-B (MIMAROPA), VIII, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Here’s how the president fared in his promises on education, as seen in strides DepEd took over the last year:
Find out how Marcos Jr. fared in other sectors
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CNN Philippines, Expert: Education woes didn’t happen overnight, Aug. 16, 2022
Asian Development Bank, Here’s How Pandemic School Closures Worsen Asia’s Educational Divide, July 7, 2022
CNN Philippines, Solon: K to 12 not producing enough job-ready graduates, April 27, 2023
Asian Journal of Distance Education, Difficulties in Remote Learning: Voices of Philippine University Students in the Wake of COVID-19 Crisis, 2020
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Situation Analysis on the Effects of And Responses to COVID-19 on the Education Sector in Southeast Asia: Sub-regional Report, October 2021
Business World Online, Fix for education setbacks during pandemic expected to cost P25B each year, Dec. 12, 2022
Business World Online, Sara to be named Education chief, May 11, 2022
CNN Philippines, Sara Duterte to become DepEd chief under Marcos admin, May 11, 2022
ABS-CBN News, Sara Duterte agreed to become education secretary: Marcos, May 11, 2022
Department of Education (DepEd) Official Facebook Page, Basic Education Report 2023, Jan. 30, 2023
Office of the Vice President of the Philippines, Basic Education Report 2023 Speech, Jan. 30, 2023
Department of Education (DepEd), Department Order No. 78, s. 2010, June 1, 2010
DepEd Region I, Regional Memorandum No. 1191, s. 2022, Oct. 17, 2022
DepEd MIMAROPA, Division Memorandum No. 000385, Oct. 17, 2022
DepEd Region VIII, DEPED COMPUTERIZATION PROGRAM FY 2022 AND FY 2023 ALLOCATION AND RECIPIENT SELECTION, Sept. 21, 2022
DepEd CAR, Regional Memorandum No. 514, s. 2022, Oct. 17, 2022
On return to face-to-face classes
- Department of Education, Department Order No. 034, s. 2022, July 11, 2022
- Department of Education, On the issuance of an Amendatory DepEd Order to DO 34, s. 2022, Oct. 17, 2022
- Department of Education, Department Order No. 39, s. 2022, Sept. 19, 2022
- CNN Philippines, DepEd to allow voluntary wearing of face masks in classrooms, Nov. 1, 2022
- GMA News Online, DepEd allows optional masking in classrooms, Nov. 1, 2022
- Philstar.com, DepEd lets students drop face masks even indoors, Nov. 1, 2022
- Philstar.com, Sidelined DOH urges use of face masks, distancing to prevent COVID in schools, Nov. 2, 2022
- Inquirer.net, Optional masking in schools brings fears of COVID spread, Nov. 3, 2022
- Official Gazette of the Philippines, Executive Order No. 7, Oct. 28, 2022
On review of K-12 school system viability
- Department of Education, Memorandum No. 28, s. 2023, May 11, 2023
- CNN Philippines, DepEd completes K-10 review, to launch new curriculum in ‘a few weeks’, July 11, 2023
- GMA News Online, DepEd: New K-10 curriculum to be launched in a few weeks, July 11, 2023
- Presidential Communications Office, Press Briefing of Ms. Daphne Oseña-Paez with Commission on Higher Education Chairperson J. Prospero de Vera III and Department of Education Undersecretary Michael Poa, July 11, 2023
On instituting refresher courses
- Office of the Vice President of the Philippines, Basic Education Report 2023 Speech, Jan. 30, 2023
- Department of Education, Early Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (ELLN), June 2020
- Department of Education, Creation of the National Education Portal-Technical Working Group, Sept. 29, 2022
On ending poor quality of educational materials
- GMA News Online, Some teachers returned DepEd-provided laptops, says coalition, Sept. 29, 2022
- Inquirer.net, Group says most teachers returned DepEd laptops due to specs issue, Sept. 29, 2022
- Manila Bulletin, ‘Outdated’ laptops issued by DepEd rejected, returned by teachers — group , Sept. 29, 2022
- Department of Education, Memorandum No. 104, s. 2022, Nov. 8, 2022
On internet and electronic connectivity
- Manila Bulletin, NDC and DepEd team up with Filipino tablet manufacturer to boost digital learning, May 17, 2023
- Daily Tribune, Local tablet provider digitizing students, May 17, 2023
- Philstar.com, NDC taps Filipino tablet provider to digitize Pinoy students, May 19, 2023
- Department of Education, Programs and Projects Beneficiaries for Fiscal Year 2022, May 4, 2023
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