Even as the World Bank has already apologized for its report on the “poor” state of education in the Philippines, Education Secretary Leonor Briones tacitly admitted that they knew even before the report came out that it would give a negative perception of the country’s education system.
THE infamous World Bank 2019 report on the state of Philippine education was a major topic during President Rodrigo Duterte’s weekly broadcast on July 12.
The 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) report had caused a stir two weeks ago when it was released which showed that around 80 percent of Filipino students failed in minimum proficiencies for their grade levels.
Among the list of 79 countries who participated in the assessment, the Philippines tailed in reading and only second to the last in science and mathematics.
Immediately, Education Secretary Leonor Briones demanded—and received—an apology from the World Bank for the report.
The World Bank later removed the report from its website, saying that its release was “an oversight.”
However, Briones used her time during Monday night’s broadcast to give a backgrounder on the PISA report, admitting that the department had known about the results as far back as December 2019. “
Ngayon, lumabas ang result December 4, 2019, kasi 2018 ang exam,” Sec Briones said. “One day before, we already reported to your office, Mr. President, because we already knew at that time that the Philippines was not doing well.”
Briones reminded President Duterte that she had given a “full presentation” on the PISA results in February 2020, “with all the recommendations that should be initiated to mitigate the situation of the PISA results because we knew already even before the results came out that we were not going to do so well.”
Prior to that, Briones said that she had known that the state of education was not exactly stellar when she took on the appointment as DepEd secretary in 2016.
“At the time, 2016 pa, Mr. President, when you appointed me, I already said that we will join the international assessments, so we will see how we fare with the rest of the world. Kasi tayo, we have our own national assessments and we noticed that our national assessments, Mr. President, were not exactly very exciting.”
That said, Briones was adamant that the poor results should not be blamed on her or on the current administration.
Briones—who emphasized four times that she was “the seventh Secretary of Education” stressed that she was the only DepEd secretary to have consented to participation in the PISA study.
On a call for government to recognize a “crisis in education” as broached by Vice President Leni Robredo, Briones said “I don’t know who should judge whether we have a crisis in education or not. Kung sabihin natin we have a crisis in education, saan nanggaling ‘yung crisis in education after 123 years? After 47 secretaries of education? After seven secretaries of education who refused to participate in the international assessment?”
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