School, DepEd execs endorse ‘mass promotion’ – ACT
MANILA, Philippines — School heads and education officials are the ones who “openly encourage” the mass promotion of students because having repeaters might adversely affect the schools’ standing, according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).
Reacting to a report on the negative impact of an unofficial policy in the education sector to let all learners pass regardless of academic performance, ACT chair Vladimer Quetua on Tuesday noted that some principals would even argue that having students repeat their grade could worsen the problem of big class sizes.
But the poor learning outcomes that result from such a policy are now being blamed on teachers, he lamented.
“Underperforming learners is a problem that teachers are solely made to bear. Despite all their efforts for intervention, teachers are [the ones who get] grilled when they give failing grades,” Quetua said in a statement.
“Frankly speaking, school heads and education officials openly encourage mass promotion as failing marks do not do good to the image of the school, affect the education agency’s ranking in the grant of performance-based bonus, and can hurt the Philippines’ performance in its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.
‘No child left behind’
In a report launched on Monday, the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), which surveyed more than 300 education stakeholders nationwide, including teachers and school leaders, found that many schools were promoting students to the next grade level regardless of how well or badly they did in class—to the detriment of the learners’ own academic progress.
The group said this was the consequence of a misunderstanding of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) “No child left behind” mantra.
Justine Raagas, PBEd executive director, said: “Participants across all education sectors were in unanimous agreement that one of the underlying causes of poor student learning outcomes was the unspoken but common practice of automatic or mass promotion.”
Such a practice has been “culturally and administratively ingrained” in the country’s education system, she said.
But Quetua said it was “impossible” for teachers to ensure that all students absorbed their lessons when their learning conditions were terrible.
“How do we expect students to focus on their lessons when they lack sufficient nourishment? What are we to do with learners who are absent in class most of the school year because they have to earn for their poor families, or they lack the needed guidance as parents toil day and night to make ends meet?” Quetua said.
He added that teachers were under “indirect pressure” to automatically promote their students so they could receive performance-based bonuses or their school would perform better in the regional rankings.
Now, Quetua lamented, teachers were facing such questions as: “Did the teacher take extra time to teach underperforming learners? Have they talked to the parents? Have they done home visitation?”
“Still, teachers are the ones to take on the responsibility of giving remedial classes during school break, without extra pay but mere service credits,” he added.