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   Philippines
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Reading/Writing

Nationwide, the percentage of pupils mastering reading/writing increased from 59.0% in 1995 to 61.6% in 1998. Males and females had essentially the same rate of increase between 1995 and 1998), but the percentage of females (64.4% in 1995 and 66.9% in 1998) was greater than that of the males (53.4% in 1995 and 56.2% in 1998) during both years.

There was practically no improvement in the urban areas; in contrast, there was a significant improvement in the rural areas. In terms of the percentage of students mastering reading/writing, the urban areas nevertheless had an edge over the rural areas in 1995 (urban:64.2%; rural:51.7%) and in 1998 (urban:64.5%; rural:57.7%).

Females performed better than males in the urban areas in 1995; however, the situation was reversed in 1998 owing to the combination of the increase in the percentage of males and the big drop in the female percentage between the two years. Although males and females posted increases between 1995 and 1998, females maintained their edge over the males (Figure III-37).

Figure -1: Percentage of Primary Pupils Mastering Reading/Writing Competency

The national mean for reading/writing mastery rose from 58.6 percent in 1995 to 62.2 percent in 1998. There was very little variation across and within regions during those two years, although there was a slight increase in the standard deviations (Table III-48 and Figures III-38 and III-39).

Table -1: % of Pupils Mastering Reading/Writing Competency, Means & Std Deviations

 

Figure -2: % of Pupils Mastering Reading/Writing Competency, Regional Means

Figure -3: % of Pupils Mastering Reading/Writing Competency, Regional Means

Mathematics

Nationwide, the percentage of pupils mastering mathematics increased from 67.7% in 1995 to 78.2% in 1998. Males and females had essentially the same rate of increase between 1995 and 1998), but the percentage of females (71.8% in 1995 and 81.6% in 1998) was greater than that of the males (63.3% in 1995 and 74.7% in 1998) during both years.

The rural areas experienced a higher increase (76.3% in 1998 vs. 63.1% in 1995) than the urban areas (79.7% in 1998 vs. 71.0% in 1995). In terms of the percentage of students mastering mathematics, the urban areas nevertheless had an edge over the rural areas in 1995 (urban:71.0%; rural:63.1%) and in 1998 (urban:79.7%; rural:76.3%). However, the urban-rural gap has narrowed in 1998 (Figure III-40).

Females performed better than males in the urban areas in 1995; however, the situation was reversed in 1998 because of the combination of the large increase in the percentage of males and the very small increase in the female percentage between the two years. Although males and females posted laudable increases between 1995 and 1998, females maintained their edge over the males.

Figure -4: Percentage of Primary Pupils Mastering Mathematics Competency

The national mean for mathematics mastery rose from 67 percent in 1995 to 77.6 percent in 1998. There was very little variation across and within regions during those two years, although there was a slight increase in the standard deviations (Table III-49 and Figures III-41 and III-42).

Table -2: % of Pupils Mastering Mathematics Competency, Means & Std Deviations

Figure -5: % of Pupils Mastering Mathematics Competency, Regional Means

 

Figure -6: % of Pupils Mastering Mathematics Competency, Standard Deviations

Life Skills

Nationwide, the percentage of pupils mastering competency in life skills decreased from 61.7% in 1995 to 60.9% in 1998. Test scores from the science and HEKASI (Geography, History and Civics) were used to form the measure for life skills, these subjects being the closest proxy available in the NEAT. There was no change in male performance between 1995 and 1998; however, female performance deteriorated, causing the overall decrease in life skills competency among pupils. Nonetheless, the percentage of females (66.5% in 1995 and 60.9% in 1998) was greater than that of the males (56.7% for both 1995 and 1998) during both years.

While urban performance declined (67.2% in 1995 vs. 64.9% in 1998), the rural areas experienced a slight increase (55.6% in 1998 vs. 54.5% in 1995) In terms of the percentage of students mastering life skills, the urban areas nevertheless had an edge over the rural areas in 1995 (urban:67.2%; rural:54.5%) and in 1998 (urban:64.9%; rural:55.6%). There was also an appreciable narrowing of the urban-rural gap in 1998 (Figure III-43).

Females performed better than males in the urban areas in 1995; however, the situation was reversed in 1998 because of the substantial increase in the percentage of males combined with the decrease in the female percentage between the two years. However, the difference narrowed in 1998 due to the increase in the male percentage and to the unchanged female percentage between 1995 and 1998.

The decreased level of performance in life skills has been attributed by the DECS to the inadequacy of inputs to support the component subjects, particularly science. This subject is resource intensive, and because of the continued migration of erstwhile private school pupils into the public schools, resource levels were strained. There was not enough funds to hire new teachers and provide adequate textbooks, teaching aids and classrooms.

Figure -7: % of Pupils Mastering Life Skills Competency

The national mean for life skills mastery remained constant at 59.7 percent in 1995 and 1998. There was very little variation across and within regions during those two years, although there was a slight increase in the standard deviations (Table III-50 and Figures III-44 and III-45).

Table -3: % of Pupils Mastering Life Skills Competency, Means & Std Deviations

Figure -8: % of Pupils Mastering Life Skills Competency, Regional Means

Figure -9: % of Pupils Mastering Life Skills Competency, Standard Deviations

Literacy Rate of 15-24 Year-Olds

(Core Indicator 16)

There was only a very slight increase in the nationwide simple literacy rate among 15-24 year-olds between 1990 (96.6%) and 1994 (97.3%). For both years, the gender parity index stood at almost 1.00, although female literacy levels were slightly higher than that of males’ (see Table II-51 and Figure III-46). As early as 1994, the Philippines had already posted a substantial achievement in pushing universal literacy in this age bracket, but even the seemingly small percentage of illiterates still translated into 392,000 persons at that time.

Table -4: Literacy Rate of 15-24 Year-Olds, National Aggregates

Figure -10: Literacy Rate of 15-24 Year-Olds, National Aggregates

There was no appreciable variation in literacy levels among and within regions. For 1990 and 1994, the standard deviation among regions had been minimal and the variation within regions (among provinces), while generally higher than the variation among regions, was likewise insignificant for the two years (Tables III-52 and Figures III-47 and III-48).

Table -5: Literacy Rate of 15-24 Year-Olds, Means & Standard Deviations

Figure -11: Literacy Rate of 15-24 Year-Olds, Regional Means

 

Figure -12: Literacy Rate of 15-24 Year-Olds, Standard Deviations

Adult Literacy

Literacy Rate & GPI of 15+ Year-Olds

(Core Indicators 17 & 18)

There was virtually no change in the nationwide simple literacy rate among 15+ year-olds 1990 (93.6%) and 1994 (93.6%). For both years, the gender parity index stood at almost 1.00, although male literacy levels were slightly higher than that of females’. (Table III-53 and Figure III-49). Although this literacy level among adults can be considered high by developing country standards, what is worrisome is the absolute number of the illiterates within this age bracket, which stood at 2.7 million persons at that time.

Table -6: Literacy Rate & GPI of 15+ Year-Olds

 

 Figure -13: Literacy Rate & GPI of 15+ Year-Olds, National Aggregates

There was no appreciable variation in literacy levels among and within regions. For 1990 and 1994, the standard deviation among regions had been minimal and the variation within regions (among provinces), while generally lower (except for four regions) than the variation among regions, was likewise insignificant for the two years (Table III-50 and Figures III-50 and III-51).

Table -7: Literacy Rate & GPI of 15+ Year-Olds, Means & Standard Deviations

Figure -14: Literacy Rate & GPI of 15+ Year-Olds, Regional Means

Figure -15: Literacy Rate & GPI of 15+ Year-Olds, Standard Deviations

The State of Primary Education towards the End of the EFA Decade

Early Childhood Care and Development

Child Survival. The infant mortality rate for the Philippines went down from 57 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 47 per 1,000 in 1996. Despite this positive development, the country had the highest mortality among five ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Nutrition. Malnutrition prevalence rates declined from 9.9 percent in 1992 to 8.4 percent in 1996 for underweight children.

Participation in Pre-School Programmes. By 1998, the gross enrolment ratio in public pre-school programmes had risen to 14.0 percent or about 1.75 times that of the 8.0 percent level in 1990 with a gender parity index close to 1.0. Despite this positive change, the actual magnitude of participation was very low. There was a great improvement in urban-rural parity, even if gross enrolment was dominated by the urban areas. In 1998, the national UPI was 0.45 compared to the severely urban-biased 1990 UPI of 0.28. However, there were regions that did not go with the trend. Region X was decidedly rural-biased with a UPI of 1.71, while ARMM had a near-parity level of 1.09.

The DECS 1999 survey found out that the percentage of new entrants to Grade 1 with some form of earlier ECCD exposure declined to 70.6 percent in 1999 from its 72.5 percent level in 1995 (with a gender parity index of almost 1.0). In1999, there is still a very much higher proportion of private school enrolees who have had previous ECCD experience, and this gap had widened between 1995 and 1999.

Universal Primary Education

Access to Grade 1. In 1998, the Philippines continued to provide an even higher level of access to primary education. The apparent intake rate (AIR) for new entrants into Grade 1 rose to 138.1 percent compared to the 134.2 percent level in 1990. However, the net intake rate (NIR) went down to 71.6 percent in 1998 against the 1990 figure of 79.8 percent. The nationwide gender parity index for the AIR stood at 0.97, not much different from the 0.95 GPI for 1990. However, there was a significant change in gender orientation of the NIR; in 1998, the GPI for NIR was 1.04, which shifted from the 0.95 GPI in 1990. There seems to be a trend emerging towards greater female participation at the right Grade 1 entry age. What is notable about the drop in the NIR was that it was characterised by severe drops in the participation of males, especially those coming from the urban areas. This may be indicative of the worsening economic situation among the urban poor and the expansion of work opportunities for small children.

Access and Participation in the Primary Cycle. There was an even much higher participation in 1998 for the entire primary education cycle. The nationwide GER rose to 118.8 percent from the 106.8 percent level in 1990 and the net enrolment rate (NER) increase to 95.7 percent from the 84.6 percent in 1990. These increases were accounted for by parallel improvements between genders and between urban and rural areas. Compared to the situation in 1990, there were practically no gaps among these categories in 1998. The biggest import of the very positive development in the NER is that there is now an emerging tendency for primary cycle enrolment to normalise in terms of pupils’ ages. However, it was accompanied by a shift in gender parity towards a male bias. There also was a shift towards a rural bias in the NER.

Spending Levels on Primary Education. In 1998, the primary level absorbed over one-half (52%) of total public current expenditures on education, up from the 40.1 percent it got in 1990. This was equivalent to a near doubling of its share in GNP, which rose to 1.93 percent in 1998 from the 1.18 percent level in 1990. Translated into per pupil basis, the primary level’s share of funds amounted to 11.3 percent of per capita GNP in 1998, having risen from the 7.01 percent level in 1990. However, the Philippines has not yet approximated the levels of investment committed by many Asian countries to their educational systems even as early as the late 1980s.

Teacher Academic Credentials. In 1998, the percentage of teachers who possessed the required academic qualifications remained at 100 percent with an urban-rural parity of 1.0.

Teacher Certification. In 1998, the percentage of public primary school teachers who were certified to teach according to national standards was 100 percent with an urban-rural parity index of 1.0. The corresponding figure for 1990 was 93.6 percent with an urban-rural parity index of 0.98.

Pupil-Teacher Ratios. Towards the end of the decade, the pupil-teacher ratio in public schools was 35:1 (1998), a slight increase over the 1990 ratio of 33:1. The private sector maintained its 35:1 ratio. However, the proportion of non-teaching teachers in the public sector had increased, pulling up the net pupil-teacher ratio to 45:1 as against the 41:1 ratio that obtained in 1990. The uneconomical use of teacher resources seems to have proliferated, rather than abating.

Internal Efficiency. The 1998 average repetition rate in the public primary schools was 1.97, up from the 1.96 percent level in 1990. However, the male repetition rate had climbed to 1.7 times more than the female repetition rate. The corresponding figure for 1990 was only 1.5. The rural repetition rate remained at a constant 1.4 times that of the urban rate. The average repetition rate for 1998 translated into about 246,000 repeaters for that year, the increase in absolute numbers over the 1990 figure being brought about by the increase in enrolment as aggravated by the increase in the GER. Wastage in education resources was therefore still quite substantial. The incidence of repetition in Grade 1 rose some more to 4.1 percent in 1998, from the 3.5 percent level in 1990.

There was a small improvement in the cohort survival rate. In 1996, the CSR was 65.0 nationwide, up from the 1990 level of 62.7 percent, with females having a 67.3 percent rate and males having a rate of 62.7 percent. In contrast to the situation in 1990, survival rates were higher 1996 for both males and females in the urban areas. Within each locale, however, females remained to have consistently higher rates of survival than males. There was a higher coefficient of efficiency in 1996, which climbed to 80.6 percent in 1996 from 77.3 percent in 1990. Nevertheless, there has been a sharp reversal in the coefficient of efficiency between the urban and rural areas. In 1996, efficiency in the urban areas was already higher than the efficiency in the rural areas.

Learning Outcomes

In 1998, the percentage of primary school pupils having reached Grade 6 who mastered basic competency in Reading/Writing, Mathematics and Life Skills were 61.6%, 78.2% and 60.9% respectively. Reading/Writing and Mathematics competency increased between 1995 and 1998, but there was a decrease in the percentage mastering basic competencies in life skills/others. Females generally did better than the males. The urban areas had a better performance than the rural areas. There was only a very slight increase in the nationwide simple literacy rate among 15-24 year-olds between 1990 (96.6%) and 1994 (97.3%). For both years, the gender parity index stood at almost 1.00, although female literacy levels were slightly higher than that of males’.

Adult Literacy

There was no change in the simple literacy rate among 15+ year olds. The level remained constant at 93.6 percent for 1994 and 1990. However, there was an improvement in the gender parity index, which rose to 0.998 in 1994 from the 0.991 level in 1990.

Comparing the State of Primary Education at Baseline and at Assessment

Comparison Methodology

A comparison of the state of Philippine primary education before and after nine years of implementing the EFA programme shows essentially the same picture, and the general image that appears is one of high levels of participation and access (excepting pre-schools) but of low levels of internal efficiency and learning outcomes.

The comparison was achieved by using a number of selected characteristics of Philippine performance along the 18 core EFA indicators. These characteristics are meant to provide differentiation to the measures that summarise the status of certain aspects of primary education.

Tables III-55 and III-56 on the following pages were prepared to graphically summarise the state of primary education at the beginning and towards the end of the EFA decade. Table III-55 contains the characteristics of the baseline data (1990 mostly, some are later), while Table III-56 presents the same characteristics for the latest data available. The main difference between the two tables is that the latter contains the characteristic of the change between 1990 and 1998 or other latest data). Other than this, the two tables contain common characteristics consisting of: (1) magnitude of the measure, (2) gender difference, (3) urban-rural difference, (4) variation among regions and (5) variation within regions.

The identified characteristics, while perforce are givens owing to the structure of the collected data, nonetheless serve the purpose of quickly isolating on a broad scale the aspects of the primary education system that may be at risk. The categorisation scheme espoused by the two tables is founded on the underlying EFA goals of increasing participation, enhancing efficiency and outcomes and effective elimination of gender and locational disparities. Indications to the contrary would then have to be considered as aspects at risk, since the probability of attaining EFA goals would be lessened.

The magnitude of the measure classifies the numerical value of a relevant indicator as high or low in terms of the system’s capacity, participation, openness, priority of education, availability of inputs, quality of the pedagogical environment, internal efficiency or level of outcomes, as the case may be, for each of the indicators.

Gender and urban-rural disparities classify indicators for which this differentiation is applicable either as male or female-biased or urban or rural-biased such that indicators where biases appear are at risk. Past strategies to address such differences may have been ineffectual, necessitating the formulation of new ones.

Variations across and within regions classify indicators as either high or low. Indicators that exhibit wide variations would be at risk since there are advantaged or disadvantaged areas depending on the nature of the indicator.

It cannot be denied that there may have been qualitative changes, positive or otherwise, such as improvements in education system management through decentralisation or attitudinal changes in teachers through in-service training, that have not been captured by the core EFA indicators. However, the performance indicators are bottom-line measures that have been conceptualised to ultimately reflect the impact of interventions. Therefore, while a core EFA indicator conveniently conveys either an effectiveness or efficiency outcome, its correlates may not be throughly identified and measured.

Aspects of Primary Education at Risk

At Baseline

At baseline (mostly 1990 figures), there were seven indicators that were at risk, as indicated by the gray-shaded rows on Table III-55. These are further classified into high or level risks depending on the number of offending characteristics present in each. At baseline, therefore, there were four high-level risks and three low-level risks, as follows:

High-Level Risks

Percentage of Pupils mastering Basic Learning Competencies – Low magnitude, female-biased and urban-biased (for all three major areas, viz.: Reading/Writing, Mathematics, and Life Skills).

Gross Enrolment Ratio in ECCD programmes – low magnitude, heavily urban-biased, and wide variation across and within regions;

Survival Rate to Grade 6 – Low magnitude, rural-biased and minimal variation across and within regions (signifying commonality of problem nationwide);


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