Reflecting hard times, 2 million Filipino children dropped out of school in ’06

Jun. 02, 2007

MANILA — Worsening economic conditions in the Philippines have denied millions of children the right to a decent education as shown by increasing dropout rates, according to independent think-tank Ibon Foundation.

Data from the Department of Education show that dropout rates, which had been steadily improving during the 1990s, have reached 10.6% in the elementary levels and 15.8% in the secondary levels in school year (SY) 2005-2006. Comparing these rates to enrolment in the same year, as many as 2.4 million children may have dropped out of school last year.

Majority of those who dropped out came from public schools as indicated by sharp falls in enrolment there. Enrolment in public elementary schools fell by 106,903 in SY 2005-2006 while that in public secondary schools fell by 64,746.

Many of these children might have been forced to leave school to earn a living. In 2006 some 2.5 million children aged 5 to 17 were working either to augment family income or simply to survive. The number of children in school is also dropping: in SY 2005-2006 only 84% of children aged 6-11 was able to attend elementary school, a sharp decrease from 90% in 2001-2002.

The declining number of children able to go to school reflects their vulnerability to economic times which have been getting harder under the last six years of the Arroyo administration. Among the countrys basic sectors, the biggest number of poor is found among the children, with some 14.1 million of them considered poor.

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