November 29, 2021 (7:55 PM)

4 min read


CRITICAL AND VIGILANT. KABATAAN Partylist representative, Sarah Elago reinforced the speakers’ and reactors’ insights on the state of education in the Philippines in the midst of the pandemic during the “People’s Review of SDG 4: Quality Education for All” webinar, November 27. Photo credits to Jeni Anne Rosario

Addressing the Philippine educational system gaps, the Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) discussed contextualizing the country’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 during the SDG Watch Forum Series via Zoom LAST November 27.

Following the theme “People’s Review of SDG 4: Quality Education for All,” the forum expounded on the status quo of the overall Philippine educational sector, providing recommendations on how the country can achieve the United Nations’ SDG 4 through People Economics.

The participating organizations include the National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Aid Network (SAN), the Educators Forum for Development (EFD), Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC), Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concern, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and IBON Foundation.

Each representative from the respective organizations raised perspectives toward the said topic according to their affiliation.

Regine Valerie Arninio of CEGP explained that SDG 4 ensures “inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

“Challenges remain in delivering quality education, especially to the poor and marginalized groups. Even if the public education institutions are free, it only serves richer households because of the other costs in education.” Arninio said, revealing the state of ‘quality education’ in the country.

On the Philippines’ existing policies regarding access to quality education, Coleen Manib from NUSP evaluated Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act as a “blanket policy.” 

According to Manib, numerous students are still struggling with their daily expenses despite the law, but it still can be considered a giant leap for the country.

Issues on PH education system

Considering marginalized students as the vulnerable stakeholders in the situation, Rose Hayahay from Save Our Schools (SOS) Network underlined the persisting Lumad Attacks, thus disrupting Lumad children’s education. 

Meanwhile, according to his survey, SAN national convenor Jholo Gonzales disclosed that the inequality in online education is primarily rooted in class differences.  

Moreover, in light of the previous National Assessment Test (NAT) results, Prof.  Louie Montemar from Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) called for a curriculum reform to minimize brain drain and improve teaching and learning qualities.

With this, Ninia dela Cruz from IBON Foundation encouraged the higher-ups to establish approaches for students to follow their passions and work for the common good.

On the other hand, China De Vera from ACT expressed that despite the lack of support from the government and the low salaries, teachers carry the most responsibilities in maintaining quality education, especially during the pandemic.

“Yung entry level ng teacher is P23,000, ang entry level naman ng mga uniformed personnel natin ay match na sya ng Master Teacher I ng mga teachers. Ang taas ng disparity when it comes to the salary of teachers at ganoon siya na-appreciate ng ating gobyerno. Ganyan kababa ang appreciation sa mga guro,” De Vera said.

Amid the apparent challenges, Rep. Sarah Elago of Kabataan Partylist shared her support for SDG 4. Her advocacy for the Safe School Reopening Bill pursued overcoming the repercussions of the already overdue pandemic to the educational system.

“Kasama niyo po kami sa pagbabantay ng SDG 4. Sa pagkamit niyan, nangangailangan ng mas mahigpit na pagkakaisa,” Elago emphasized.

As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations introduced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 to call countries, including the Philippines, to take action for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

According to the UN’s latest update, the pandemic has severely affected the education sector worldwide. It wiped out 20 years of educational gains and is likely to worsen the slow progress in school completion. This phenomenon highlights the importance of SDG 4, which is quality education.

The forum was streamed live through the CPDG’s Facebook page and is available for public viewing.

End the silence of the gagged!

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