Hostaging Highlights Worsening Education System

Mar. 28, 2007

This Is the State of RP Education — in the Toilet. Public schools around the country are like this restroom in a Metro Manila school. (Bulatlat photo by Trina Federis)

It’s as predictable as it is insensitive — the Arroyo administration’s reaction to the hostage drama involving Jun Ducat, an owner ot a daycare center in Manila who took hostage 32 of his students and two teachers and complained about corruption in the Philippine government and the failure of the administration to provide adequate education. According to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, the incident puts the country in a bad light, blaming the intense media coverage of the situation.

Never mind that the drama actually highlights one of the more depressing aspects of the Philippines — the deterioration of its education system and the sheer inability of poor Filipinos to send their children to school.

Check out this Davao Today story on the subject. Check out, too, our coverage of education issues, as well as this package of stories from Bulatlat.

Finally, this Associated Press report provides some background:

The Philippines once was acclaimed as a highly educated country, thanks to American missionaries and the US colonial government that introduced the English-language and public education system after the turn of the last century.

But starting in the late 1980s, as late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law period drew to a close, the quality of education began declining, coupled with a deteriorating economic situation.

Millions of Filipinos started seeking jobs abroad, in part to finance their children’s education back home. Today, about 8 million expatriates send home more than $10 billion annually.

In the 2003-04 school year, only 20 percent of grade six pupils and less than 1 percent of high school seniors had mastered the basics of key subjects, said the study cited by the World Bank.

Last year, as more than 17 million students trooped to public schools, many in dilapidated buildings with leaking roofs, the education secretary drew the president’s ire by saying there was a shortage of almost 7,000 classrooms, with 45 pupils to a room.

[tags]davao today, philippines breaking news, hostage, philippine education, arroyo[/tags]

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