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Facing risks to education

The Philippines ranked 72nd out of 100 counties in terms of risk to education, according to youth rights organization Save the Children’s Risk to Education Index.

The country’s score of 0.399 with a reading of “moderate” risk to education is an improvement of 24 spots from the previous year’s rank of 48th place, when the country received a score of 0.500 and a reading of “high”.

The index values are expressed between 0 and 1, with 1 as the least desirable outcome and 0 as the target.

The first edition of the index, released in 2021, noted that it reflected the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s education, which explains the stark contrast between the two editions.

“The closure of schools due to COVID-19 made the structural and systemic inequalities that affect children and young people in humanitarian settings more visible and much worse. Globally, education systems have never been more vulnerable,” the report stated.

Even if the base point used for comparison was extremely low, making improvement inevitable, any marked advances in minimizing risk to education is always desired, and laudable if achieved.

The Philippines was among the few countries in the world where schools stayed closed for almost two years, and being grossly unprepared for such an eventuality, that chosen strategy of the government naturally increased risks to education and now that the country’s schools have finally opened up, those risks are falling.

What is important now is for government and the education sector to sustain that improvement and minimize the risks to education further while at the same time addressing the quality which has unfortunately declined due to lack of attention throughout the pandemic and the various experiments in learning modalities employed by different schools over the past two years.

The Philippines is still in the midst of a serious learning crisis that cannot be solved by simply reopening schools and requiring face-to-face classes. After losing a lot of ground and time because of the pandemic, there is a lot of catching up to be done.*

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December 2022
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