MANILA, Philippines -- A mandatory implementation of a 12-year basic education program for public schools has been revived by the Department of Education to improve the ?level of learning? in the country.
During the hearing Tuesday of the oversight committee by the House of Representatives, Education director Milagros Talino revealed that the Philippines was now the only country with basic education of 10 years -- six years in elementary and four in high school.
She claimed that this was one reason why the country has a low level of learning compared to other nations.
?A more recent information why the level of learning is a bit low in the Philippines compared to other countries, has been found out that it?s only the Philippines now that has 10 years for basic education,? Talino told the committee.
?All others have either 12 or 13 [years of basic education] so it?s one of the agenda items that we want to push under our ?education-for-all? [program],? she said, responding to Parañaque Representative Roilo Golez?s query.
Golez inquired as to why, based on previous surveys, the Philippines out of 45 countries, ranked 41st and 42nd only in Math and Science, respectively.
Speaking to INQUIRER.net at the sideline of the hearing, Talino said the agency would push for a mandatory 11 or 12-year basic education for public schools either by adding another year in elementary -- pre-school level or grade 7 -- or another year in the secondary level.
?Oo naman, matagal na naming agenda na mag-recommend ng 12 years basic education [Yes, it?s been on our agenda to recommend 12 years of basic education],? she said.
?Kulang na kulang yung learning na nangyayari sa mga bata ngayon [What the children are learning are inadequate] if we compare to other countries kaya pagka sa mga [that?s why in] international tests, napag-iiwanan tayo [we are left behind],? she said.
In fact, she said, the Department of Education had initiated an optional high school bridge program before but was immediately turned down by parents because this would entail additional expenses for their children.
?Kasi it means dagdag na baon, dagdag na uniform, pasahe so politically naging optional yung implementation kaya, nawala ng nawala [Because this means additional provision, additional uniform and fare so politically, the implementation became optional until it gradually disappeared],? she said.
?So ngayon, gusto naming maging [So now, we want it to be] mandatory for everybody to go to 11 or 12 years of basic education,? she further said.
Talino said even President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was supportive of this proposal that she even wanted the pre-school level to be included in the country?s basic education program.
But while everyone might agree to this proposal, she said it would be ?politically? difficult to pursue it at this point.
She said the proposal would need congressional approval first before it could be implemented.