/ 6 January 2021

THE PHILIPPINES’ top business leaders expressed alarm over the learning crisis in the country saying that Filipino learners consistently rank low in international assessments.

The Philippine Business for Education, a non-profit organization composed of CEOs, said that the pandemic will worsen the state of learning in the country.

“If the success of a society is measured by how well it invests in its children, then the Philippines is failing. Our students, as reported by various international assessments, are ranked among the lowest in the world in terms of science, mathematics and reading competency,” PBED said in a statement.

“Many of our children are malnourished, if not stunted, and thus are not ready to learn. The protracted school closure and uncertainty in the safe and equitable reopening of our schools will further worsen the learning losses, especially for the 2.7 million unenrolled K-12 students this school year. What’s more, we have yet to see a clear plan to bring our students back to school safely. We are now at the eleventh hour and we are sounding the alarm,” the group added.

PBED called on Congress to pass Senate Joint Resolution No.10, convene the Education Commission, and draw up urgent, systemic, decisive, and targeted reforms for the education system.

“The Education Commission 2021 must be guided by national development goals and must consist of representatives from government, the private sector, civil society, and top educational institutions. Its recommendations must urgently stem the learning crisis by targeting early-age and grade nutrition, equitable access, increased resources for education, localized and shared accountability, and data-driven learning policies,” the group said.

PBED noted that stemming the learning crisis is a gargantuan task and requires leadership and bayanihan. It added that the government must take the lead in building an education system that Filipino learners deserve —  one that realizes their full potential.

“Stakeholders and organizations in education must work with the government to find and implement solutions to this crisis,” it said.

“We call on all Filipinos to take this learning crisis seriously and demand that all leaders make education their number one priority, for our present and future depend on an Education Nation,” the group added.