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Philippines faces a convalescent system educational


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Planeta Futuro - El País

Luis Alberto Brito Paoli

researcher junior at the Navarra Center for International Development at Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Navarra.

Javier Larequi Fontaneda

researcher predoctoral at the School of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Navarra.

In the midst of the pandemic, the least well-off families have had even more difficulty in providing schooling for their children. Now that schooling is being resumed, it is crucial to reduce withdrawal and improve quality in order to fight poverty.

The Philippines has returned to face-to-face classes two years after closing schools due to the pandemic. But only 24,000 of the 54,000 schools in the Southeast Asian country began classes last September with 100% face-to-face classes, while the rest are adapting to the new normal from a hybrid (digital and in-person) model .

According to the World Bank, when the pandemic began in 2020, only 50% of the Philippine population used the Internet, but the digital Education became the most common means of teaching . This figure is similar to that of countries such as Indonesia, but is far from other more developed countries in this area such as Malaysia. Considering that in the Philippines the Education digital has lasted longer than in most states in the region - despite the lack of connectivity and tools to do so - it is pertinent to ask how the Education is doing after two years with empty schools. And it is important to do so insofar as it suffers from some relevant problems in the field educational, such as being one of the worst in the world in reading comprehension, to cite a specific area .

Now, there is a risk that the improvement that the Philippines has seen in recent years in some educational indicators may be lost. In fact, the country recently made Education preschool (before the age of three) universal and compulsory and added two secondary school grades. The Pantawid Pamilya program has helped improve enrollment of children and adolescents, as well as health care for beneficiaries. This is critical, as access to these services (and their quality) determines future success and contributes to inclusive growth.

The researcher at Economics of development of the University of Oxford, Claire Cullen, explains that "despite the fact that Filipino children have forgotten part of what they knew and have stopped learning new skills (as a result of the closure of schools) Education remedial programs can help them catch up". One of them may be the one promoted by ProFuturo, from LaCaixa and Telefónica foundations, which since 2017 has trained 83,931 students and 2,588 teachers in digital Education and is present in 226 schools in the Philippines.

Unequal access to technology

Unequal access to a computer and the Internet has meant, for example, that during these two years the Education of a rich child in Manila, the capital, has not been the same as that of a poor child on the island of Mindoro. High educational technology based on complex computer programs is not always equally useful for all geographic areas, and not everyone has access to it. In fact, the Philippines is quite advanced in terms of access to leave technology systems and, according to the World Bank, in 2020 it had 137 cell phone lines per 100 people, a figure that is even higher than that of European countries.

Implementing remedial programs through telephone tutoring may be more accessible and helpful in making the technology gap as small as possible. A recent article published by Noam Angrist, Peter Bergman and Moitshepi Matsheng in Nature Human Behavior found that weekly one-to-one telephone training calls in Botswana, conducted by the NGO Youth Impact through the ConnectEd program, significantly improved learning.

After observing this initial improvement in the African country, the NGO Innovations for Poverty Action and the Philippine government's department of Education teamed up with Youth Impact to test whether this initiative could be effective there. "A large-scale test of telephone-based math tutoring proved to be extremely effective when the sessions were delivered by government teachers or NGO assistants," explains Claire Cullen, a researcher at Oxford University. The proportion of children who knew how to divide tripled so that "the program helped students acquire the equivalent of four years of high quality in just eight weeks of calls," she continues.

It should be remembered that the continuity of Education in the Philippines also depends on natural disasters, such as typhoons and tropical storms, like the one that recently caused at least 45 deaths and more than 40,000 evacuees.

The 2018 World Bank study graduate Making Growth Work for the Poor analyzes the country's socioeconomic status . The secondary school enrollment rate five years before the pandemic was 67.4%, data worse than Malaysia (68.5%), Indonesia (75%) and Thailand (82.6%), according to the paper. With the educational system in place on a face-to-face basis, as many as one-third of young people likely to attend secondary school were not enrolled; now, the digital Education has therefore become an even greater challenge.

What's behind withdrawal school

But why do one third of young people not attend secondary school even under normal conditions? The aforementioned study explains that the main reasons for the withdrawal schooling of 12 to 15 year olds are the high cost and the economic needs of the family. They are closely followed by the lack of interest staff and of their immediate family, which demonstrates the lack of confidence that exists for their real results in the medium and long term deadline, and the impossibility of staying in school due to family needs. On the other hand, in primary Education , 20% of the children who do not attend high school are for health or disability reasons. In secondary school, these variables account for only 5% of the cases of withdrawal .

The World Bank highlights that between 2006 and 2015, three out of four people without Education had informal or self-employed jobs. Meanwhile, 83% of men and women with programs of study college degrees were employed in the private sector or in the government. The average daily wage of workers who have not gone to high school is Php115 (€1.95). In contrast, workers with Education tertiary earn on average Php506 (€8.57) daily. Up to four times more. Those who come from poorer families have lower levels of schooling and less chance of receiving it in the future.

Workers without teaching high school have lower incomes and are more likely to fall into poverty. Non- enrollment expenses are a major burden for the most vulnerable, while more affluent households spend more per child on learning materials, private tutors, and after-school classes, which has a significant impact on learning and their future productivity in the labor market.

In the midst of the pandemic, it has become even more difficult for less well-off families to provide for their children's schooling. It is crucial to improve the quality of education in the country and to promote it in order to fight poverty. sample The programs described above are an example of how the promotion of innovation and the fight against inequality go hand in hand. Governments, including the Philippine government, need to implement inclusive public policies that drive long-term growth deadline by alleviating poverty, which must be tackled first and foremost through better healthcare and improved Education.