Philippines Education System Faces Scrutiny After 2022 PISA Results

Manila, Philippines (February 12, 2024) – The Philippines faces renewed scrutiny over the state of its education system as it once again falls below the global average in the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results. The report, released recently has stirred concerns among policymakers, educators and the public alike regarding the effectiveness of the country’s educational strategies.

The 2022 PISA rankings which evaluate the reading, mathematics and science skills of 15-year-old students placed the Philippines at 77th out of 81 participating countries and economies. With average scores of 355 in mathematics, 347 in reading and 373 in science, the country significantly lags behind the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 472, 476 and 485, respectively.

Despite marginal improvements compared to the 2018 PISA results, where there was a 2-point increase in mathematics, a 7-point increase in reading and a 1-point decrease in science, the Philippines remains among the lowest-performing nations globally.

Key findings from the report highlight several critical issues:

  • Significant performance gap: Filipino students scored approximately 120 points lower than the global average across all three subjects, indicating a substantial learning lag compared to students in more developed countries.
  • Socioeconomic disparities: Students from disadvantaged backgrounds fared even worse, underscoring the urgent need for equitable access to quality education across all demographics.
  • Gender gap: Unlike global trends where boys tend to outperform girls in mathematics, the Philippines showed an inverse pattern with girls scoring higher than boys in this subject.

Reacting to the concerning results, the Department of Education (DepEd) acknowledged the need for improvement and outlined various initiatives to address the challenges. These include enhancing teacher training, improving learning materials and resources and promoting early childhood education. However, experts and advocates argue for more concrete, data-driven solutions advocating for systemic reforms to tackle issues such as overcrowded classrooms, insufficient teacher salaries and high dropout rates.

The dismal PISA scores serve as a stark wake-up call for the Philippines to prioritize education and implement effective reforms. Only through such efforts can the country ensure that its students are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to compete in an increasingly globalized world.

The 2022 PISA results also shed light on specific challenges faced by individual schools. Benigno Ninoy Aquino High School (BNAHS) in Makati emerged as the sole public school in Metro Manila to surpass the minimum proficiency level in the assessment. This achievement was lauded by Makati Mayor Abby Binay, who attributed it to effective collaboration between local government and DepEd officials.

However, concerns persist regarding the lack of access to resources, including computers in many schools. Reports indicate that a significant number of Filipino students taking the PISA assessment in 2022 struggled due to inadequate equipment and unfamiliarity with computer-based testing.

To address these systemic challenges, stakeholders emphasize the need for decisive action and sustained investment in education to ensure the future success and competitiveness of Filipino students on the global stage.

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