The Rise and Decline of Philippine Public School Education during the Twentieth Century; Educators Speak

By Sibayan, Bonifacio P.; Ph. D. | Manila Bulletin, July 8, 2001 | Go to article overview

The Rise and Decline of Philippine Public School Education during the Twentieth Century; Educators Speak


Sibayan, Bonifacio P., Ph. D., Manila Bulletin


Teacher education TEN years ago, the Congressional Committee on Education undertook a study to find out what ails the Philippine educational system. The conclusion on the state of Philippine education is not only sad but alarming, to say the least. The Commission wrote:

The quality of Philippine education is declining continuously.

Our elementary and high schools are failing to teach the competence the average citizen needs to become responsible, productive and self-fulfilling.

Colleges and technical-vocational schools are not producing the manpower we need to develop our economy.

Graduate education is mediocre. It does not generate the research-based knowledge we need to create more jobs and to raise the value of production. [Underlining supplied.] (See Making Education Work: An Agenda for Reform Congressional Committee on Education, Manila and Quezon City. 1991. Xii.)

The challenge to the Filipino people posed by the foregoing statement is tremendous, to say the least. The proper response must be made.

The great challenge that faces the teaching profession and those engaged in teacher education today, both undergraduate and graduate, is not only how to arrest this decline but to return to excellence.

Filipino educators and other responsible Filipinos especially decision makers and the business community and others concerned with the education of our people, must take radical steps to solve the problem. Before they can do that, however, it is necessary that they understand the root and continuing causes of the problem, i.e., causes of the continuous decline. No socio-educational problem can be solved unless those who are to solve the problem fully understand the cause(s) of the problem. So far, there have been many causes and solutions advanced by all sorts of people including many responsible Filipinos. Among such causes attributed to the sorry state of Philippine education are (1) lack of money, (2) lack of trained teachers, (3) lack of schoolrooms, etcetera. The root causes of the very low quality of Philippine education and its continuous decline have never been examined.

For our purposes, the events or what happened in Philippine education during the twentieth century may be viewed in three periods. The three periods are (1) 19011940 - The Rise to excellence of Philippine education; (2) 1939-1970 - Start of the decline - occurrence of the eight causes in the decline of Philippine education; (3) 1970 to the present - Period of the "continuous decline. …

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