Press Release
December 12, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara underscored the need to establish a 12-year basic education program in order to comply with international educational standards and ensure that our graduates are competitive in the global arena.

Angara delivered the keynote address at the K-to-12 Pre-Summit Conference held earlier today.

The forum, which gathers stakeholders from Region 4A, 4B and NCR, is tackling the proposed extension of the current 10-year basic education curriculum.

"From an international perspective, if we don't add the two years to our basic education program, the Philippines will remain one of only three countries in the UNESCO with less than 12 years of education--the others being Angola and Djibouti," he explained.

"For as long as we retain our 10-year curriculum, our nurses will remain nursing aids abroad, our engineers will remain assistants. All of our qualified professionals will be treated like second-rate workers," he stressed.

The former UP president explained that even our country's top universities still struggle to compete with educational institutions in our neighboring countries.

"Today, education and training are being judged based on international standards. We might have good universities but institutionally and as a country, we are looked down upon by the world education leaders," he lamented.

"None of us here will argue against the need for reform," said Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture. He enumerated the two major areas which need improvement.

"We must face the fact that our current educational system is dysfunctional. First is a physical deficiency as we have chronic shortages in classrooms, seats, books, even in hygiene facilities, as well as qualified teachers for the millions of students in the country," he said.

"Equally important is the problem with the current curriculum: Our professionals are undertrained, with companies complaining that they have to re-train the graduates they hire. There is a mismatch between the academic programs being offered and the market demand for various skills in the different industries," Angara added.

Praising Secretary Armin Luistro's "alacrity and dynamism", Angara explained that reform will be quicker and will take root if it starts with consultations, rather than the usual top-down approach because stakeholders feel a sense of inclusion.

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