Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Culture and Education, the Philippine Perspective

I posted this as part of my answer for Socio - Cultural Foundation  online discussion on how culture and school can interplay its effect on one another.

I cant help but cite the Philippine scenario of how culture is affecting everyone on / off school.

While culture and education have a two - way effect with one another, if qualifying  indicators include employment of graduates, drop-out rates, or Human Development Index, I may say we are getting better and the source of change can be attributed to the efforts of our schools systems. However, we still fall short if we need to see the real facts and to further compare these against other countries.

In the case of drop-out rates, from the records of EduData of August 2015(source: GMA News Online), it suggests that:

  • Survival rates have been improving steadily over the past three year, with about 60% of the initial class graduating high school in 2015, compared to about 50% in 2013.
  • The survival rate improvement can be attributable to the Grade 2 dropout rate. More and more students are choosing to proceed after their first year in school compared to past years.

  • Once a student has reached grade 3, there is a small chance that he will be unable to graduate elementary school. However, making the leap from elementary to high school is still difficult.

  • Females have a higher propensity for staying in school than males, but fewer are given the opportunity to attend high school after graduating elementary.

  • The gaps in dropout rates between genders have remained generally unchanged over time.

  • the drop-out hotspots include war - plagued provinces like Zamboanga, typhoon - prone provinces in Eastern Visayas and a small hotspot in Central Luzon.

While we are improving, we still need to do more as our quality of education is still undervalued. One indicator of this the rank of our universities and colleges as compared to other Asian academic institutions. Several years ago, we were of equal with Thailand and Malaysia, but from the 2015 QS University Rankings for Asia, we only had 1 public school (UP) being included in the top schools compared to 11 public institutions from Thailand, and 14 from Malaysia (source:

And because  of social meritocracy, employment is normally prejudiced if you dont come from any renowned institutions like DeLa Salle or UST. So, what can we say then for graduates coming from the provinces? Their future I may say is huddled with more prejudice and skills/knowledge to prove.

Further, if value system is one of the criterion of a positive culture, then what can we say about the claim of former BIR Chief Kim Henares that 90% of our professionals are tax evaders and these include doctors, lawyers, architects and entertainers (source:  This is one reflection that value integration and internalization is not prioritized as compared to subjects like science or mathematics.

So, teachers and school heads are challenged to do more. The end - results are still not sufficient if we need to catch up with counterparts (Thailand, Malaysia at least).