Press Release
June 3, 2011


Achievement and survival rates among Filipino elementary and high school students are falling at an alarming rate, warranting sweeping reforms that would lift our educational system out of its present dismal state, said Senator Edgardo J. Angara at the recent National Education Forum.

To improve student outcomes, Angara called for reforms in the curriculum and other education standards; expertise and qualifications of teachers and school administrators; reward and compensation system for the teaching workforce; and quality data generation to guide educational planning and policymaking.

Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro himself pointed out at the said forum, where Angara was a resource person, that the root cause of our failings in education are the program and curriculum.

"Through our failure to adequately invest in our educational system, we are perpetrating a vicious cycle of graduating students who are less than competent, lacking the mastery of skills and abilities needed to become competitive," Angara said.

He noted that human development, mainly through education, is at the heart of competitiveness. "However, our human development index has not been going up. It has not even plateaued out. Instead, it has been declining rapidly. That's why we have great cause for apprehension and most importantly, urgency."

Angara cited a study saying three events could trigger systemwide reforms: "First is a political or economic crisis gripping the nation. Second, the presence of an energetic and visionary education or political leader who will steer reform. Finally, a dramatic, high profile paper on the dismal state of education in a country, which will impel our policymakers into swift action."

He said two of these are present in the country now - Sec. Luistro as a dedicated and passionate leader and a global economic crisis that did not spare our country - making the time ripe for reform.

"We used to be the teachers of practically all Asians. They used to come here to learn from us all the sciences and disciplines of knowledge, but now we go to them with a begging bowl. The sense of outrage must compel us to move fast and urgently," Angara said.

Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, sponsored the Kindergarten Education Act and the Early Years Act, which was passed yesterday on third and final reading. He also supports the addition of two more years to basic education to bring our country on par with international standards.

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