- October 4,2013
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English and Philippine Education: The Good and the Bad
Education is highly crucial in making a student of any age and level more globally competitive, just like professional skills training to an employee of any rank and designation. Being well-educated and well-skilled at the same time is what the world demands for an ideal workforce, and for survival.
The quality of education in the Philippines has deteriorated over time due to lack of resources vis a vis the continuously growing number of enrolled young individuals — an ongoing challenge to the nation despite its economic progress, the increase in foreign investments, and considering today’s business practices and lifestyles heavily influenced by modern technology.
It has experienced a slump between 2010 and 2011 unlike other Asian countries, according to the WEF Global Competitiveness Report covering the years 2009 to 2013. Included in the report are figures that translate to the national government spending a very low percentage of the GDP on education, making the Philippines second to the lowest in education expenditure since 1998. In terms of GDP spending per pupil from 2008 to 2011, as evaluated by UNESCO, the Philippines’ percentages per level are consistently low compared to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Therefore, the after-effects of Filipinos being deprived of strong education reforms are insufficient number of classrooms and teaching materials, higher pupil-teacher ratio, and the worst of all, inadequate opportunities for further training leading to incompetency of some teachers and graduates in skills such as communicating effectively in English – the universal language.
Two of the 12 recommendations in relation to strengthening English fluency among Filipinos enumerated by Arangkada Philippines, an advocacy paper focused on promoting speedy solutions to economic growth and development, as a necessity in school and in business are: To advance bilingualism, undertake a vigorous public campaign to emphasize the importance of English competency to entering and existing workforce members. (Immediate action OP, DepEd, NEDA, and private sector) Recognize high schools and tertiary schools and students who score well on English tests. (Immediate action DepEd and private sector) Moreover, humanitarian organizations such as the USAID Philippines and Phil-Dutch Educational Scholarship, Inc. aim to improve English teaching methods, administer English language proficiency training in higher education, and aid the underprivileged in being more equipped and confident to work in English-speaking companies.
The new K to 12 curriculum promises revised subjects for the first ten years and the last two years as added preparation time to polish their ability to communicate in time for college. All incoming college freshmen will also be required to pass the College Readiness Standards (CRS) by preparing two well-structured research papers (one in English, one in Filipino). However, these will only take effect in 2018. For now, students and teachers dealing with budget constraints can take advantage of complimentary English training programs as the initial step towards personal development.
Students will be able to familiarize themselves with tried-and-tested tips and techniques in oral and written communication created by native English speakers. Teachers, on the other hand, are to be given the chance to enhance their knowledge and literacy in the English language in order to contribute to the much deserved change in the national education sector, or if they choose to teach in countries where Filipino teachers are being seriously considered, such as Vietnam and the United States.
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