House Assistant Minority Leader France Castro on Thursday lamented the dismal performance of Filipino students at the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
“The Philippines’ performance in reading, mathematics and science was ‘about the same’ as in 2018, when it ranked lowest in those subjects among 79 participating countries,” ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said.
This means that the programs implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd) are ineffective and failed to address the learning crisis, said Castro, a vocal critic of Vice President Sara Duterte who serves as the Department of Education (DepEd) secretary.
“It also highlights the dire need to increase the budget of the education system of the country to at least 6 percent of our gross domestic product, with a thrust for building more classrooms, hiring more teachers and increasing their salaries as well as adopting a curriculum that would make learning easier for students and more attuned to the Philippine situation,” she said.
Castro said language barrier is a basic reason why the Philippines lag behind, and Filipino students are at a disadvantage in these tests.
“Countries who usually take the top tier of these assessments are those whose main medium of instruction is their national language. That is why learning is well facilitated, and they perform better in the tests which were conducted in their own languages,” Castro said.
“In the Philippines, the assessment is done in English as it is the main medium of instruction. This is a big impediment to student learning because they have to master the English language first before they can learn science and math concepts,” he said.
“In the classroom, they also cannot freely express themselves because English is not their vernacular. This dilemma also clips their ability for critical thinking and in formulating arguments,” she said.