Crisis in Philippines Education: Technology can be a solution
The August 2022 data from a World Bank report had some alarming statistics on the education crisis in the Philippines. 91% of children in the Philippines struggle with reading simple text at the age of 10. In fact, the Philippines scored highest on the Learning Poverty index in the list of countries in Asia.
Learning Poverty means the inability to read and understand short texts by the age of 10. No matter how minuscule this situation sounds, the situation of the education system in the Philippines is grave. The report also indicated a 90% learning deprivation rate. And more than 5% of children in the Philippines are deprived of school.
Education Crisis in the Philippines
Covid-19 has put many countries on the verge of economic collapse. Even the current economic climate, given the situation in Ukraine and Russia and its impact on the export and import of Asia and Europe, cannot be ignored when we talk about the crisis in the education sector of every country.
In a separate report by Inquirer.net, the World Bank identified two reasons for the high learning poverty rate. First, the share of out-of-school children is higher for boys which is 5.1% than for girls i.e., 4.8%. Meaning, boys are more likely to be deprived of school education than girls. Second, boys are more likely to achieve minimum proficiency at the end of primary school (91.7%) than girls (89.2%) in the Philippines.
Even before Covid-19, the state of the education sector in the Philippines was not that good. The country’s financial status is one of the top factors and still adds up to the growing education issues in the Philippines. Furthermore, after covid-19, more children, youth, and adults are seen deprived of learning.
Moving forward, we can see these issues becoming more prominent and worse over time with long-term effects if we don’t start acting now. As much as we delve deep into the current state, it becomes quite clear the battle is going to be prolonged, and it would require some big social and economic changes.
Education System in the Philippines
Undoubtedly, Covid-19 has increased the crisis and worsened the current state of the country. The sudden event has brought along with it some of the biggest challenges, such as health crises, and distance learning through the internet, TV, and more. Blended programs were launched in October 2022, and involved lessons through TV broadcasts and social media platforms. There were some schools that had the infrastructure to support systematic online learning. But, these new learning pathways rely on the availability of resources to teachers and students, which unfortunately is not there in the Philippines.
Although the government of the Philippines took some drastic steps to ensure education does not stop, they failed miserably because people lacked tools such as computers, mobile phones, internet access, and others to continue education through blended learning. In a survey, the top 5 concerns with digital learning among Filipinos were:
- No availability of digital tools
- No internet access
- Poor internet connectivity
- Lack of student engagement and focus in online learning
- Lack of education in parents to support children in their education
As per the DepEd, close to 4 million students were not able to enroll in school after covid. And the problem is – the number is not coming down. In fact, the issues are elevating and the situation is worsening making it difficult for the government to take any drastic measures to alter it.
Vision for quality education
Any country that is undergoing a major crisis would take many steps toward turning the situation around. Before people think, the Government of the Philippines is not doing anything enough, I would like to draw your attention to their efforts. The country is addressing these concerns in one of the key Programs that is set to come out. The country has seen children and people growing away from education. To counter that, they have made free compulsory education from TESDA that focuses on skill building, both vocational and technical.
Various government aid and grants are being provided to students, as the government wants people to take the charge of their education. They want people to understand the value of education and how it is not just a basic life skill but a human right that assures the quality of life of a person largely.
How can education technologies help in crisis management?
Drawing out from the above discussion, it is easy to identify the causes of the education crisis in the Philippines. Naming a few, it is clear that the education system in the Philippines needs drastic changes and requires to make social and economic efforts to stabilize.
Some other reasons such as lack of resources, lack of funding, mismanagement of funding, no data-backed decision-making, and no tools to analyze student performance on the go are some other challenges.
In countless studies, it was established that technology could have a positive impact on the education and the people of the Philippines. In many, reports it was found that education organizations that were technologically equipped did not get much affected by the worsening situation and other factors. It showed that students using digital tools in learning were able to grasp the curriculum much faster and had a better performance than students that had no access to digital tools and went through the traditional way of learning.
- Equipping students for their future careers
Using digital tools gives students time to become familiar with technology which opens a wider door for opportunities. As technology has become a backbone for all industries, students choosing career opportunities in any segment would be benefited through their advanced familiarity with tools such as the internet, mobile devices, computers, apps, websites, web portals, etc. No matter what sector they choose, today students need some basic computer skills to do well in their careers.
The country must not only prepare for the present challenges but should keep a futuristic approach in its countermeasures. Or else, these gaps would again expand and put the country in a crisis. The faster these gaps are filled and the more the country aims to bestow skills that give students international opportunities and stable career paths the better.
- Personalization of learning and teaching approaches
Meanwhile, personalized learning is not something new in the west, countries in Asia still struggle to have the basic infrastructure to support personalized learning and diverse teaching approaches. Every student has his or her learning style and the curriculum for any course must cater to the tools to support students rather than expecting them to fit in.
With technology, teachers can work on customizing learning for students. Also, it enables teachers to compare student performance in a quantified manner given tools such as student management systems have pre-built reports to track student performance, progress, and participation in classroom activities.
- Drives down the cost of education operations
True enough the technology tools are expensive, but what most education organizations fail to realize is that the initial cost is only a one-time investment and the benefits that you reap from the tools are long-term.
Using technology allows education organizations to reduce operational costs through automation and provides predictive analytics to boost market understanding and decision-making. Furthermore, paperless operations alone can save tons of money for all educational organizations.
Advanced education technology solutions such as Education ERP have inbuilt tools to manage all the internal and external operations in an education organization.
- Boosts teamwork, communication, and productivity
Not only do education technologies can help in improving the decision-making for the education authorities, but they also provide functionalities and features for all the stakeholders to perform their tasks on software. These are advanced solutions that allow automation in operations and increases accountability in people to boost productivity. Also, since things become so transparent and fast, people take decisions faster which makes the operations more seamless.
The way forward
The education crisis in the Philippines is demanding some serious measures. Technology can be a solution wherein it provides a robust infrastructure and aims at improving the accessibility of knowledge irrespective of the social and economic divide. Furthermore, education has become a luxury to students because education is becoming costly. It is very important to work on reducing the cost of education and this can only be done through educational technologies.