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Poverty dislodged as top reason for girls dropping out of school—DepEd

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 04:42 PM September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines—Poverty has been dislodged by marriage and family matters as the top reasons girls drop out of school, according to Education Secretary Leonor Briones.

Citing a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Briones said poverty is no longer the top reason for girls dropping out.

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Quoting the PSA findings, Briones said the causes of dropouts among girls is “number one, what they call marriage and family matters.”

This happens to female students between the age of 16 and 24 years old, Briones said at a hearing in the Senate for her department’s proposed 2020 budget.

In the past the main reason for dropping out for both male and female students was financial, Briones told the Senate. “Among boys, it’s lack of interest so we have to make our curriculum exciting, interesting,” she said.

Briones said the PSA findings makes it more important for the Department of Education (DepEd) to help students make “informed choices” by making reproductive health part of school curriculum.

She said the President’s “instruction” was to start teaching reproductive health to students as young as 10 years old.

“We are looking at it very seriously and work closely with the Department of Health on this matter,” Briones said. “Because all of us know that the earliest reported pregnancy is at 10 years old,” she said.

“That’s why the President said at 10 years old, that is about Grade 4 maybe, teach them already, include it in the curriculum,” Briones said, referring to reproductive health and speaking in a mix of Filipino and English.

Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said while there was a “slowdown” on early pregnancy rates, it was not reason enough to be complacent because reproductive health education is essential for students.

Malaluan said he believed the slowdown in early pregnancies is a natural occurrence because early sex doesn’t really happen “at the basic education age but when they go to college.”

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“At the same time, they need educational foundation about being able to make informed choices,” he said.

He added that what was really needed was to develop “life skills.” “But we need to increase information.”

“Youth today actually know” about sex but “need to increase their life skills to make informed and responsible decisions and choices and it is in providing them the learning environment,” Malaluan said./TSB

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