TACLOBAN CITY– The Philippines’ “dismal” performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the year 2022 does not come as a surprise, according to an advocacy group and a former Catholic school head.

Based on the report released on Dec. 5 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Filipino learners fell behind the average in all three assessed domains in mathematics, reading, and science, placing the Philippines at the 75th rank out of 80 participating countries.

“This can be attributed to the lack of substantive measures taken to address the fundamental challenges in the education sector, in addition to the pandemic-related factors,” said Benjo Basas, an educator and national chairperson of Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC).

The 2022 PISA result for the Philippines was similar to 2018, with the country continuing to lag behind in terms of student academic achievement in the same three learning areas.
Monsignor Ramon Stephen Aguilos, the former superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Palo,Leyte, also saw “multiple reasons that cause such dismal showing” in the PISA ranking of the country.

“Needless to say, it reflects the true state of education in the Philippines. Internal systems should raise rather than lower their standards. We overheard of teachers (and with the concurrence of supervisors) lowering their standards of examination just to let children pass. We also hear of teachers manipulating performance ratings of students even if undeserving, just to ensure zero drop-out rates, and, as a result, these teachers receive bonuses,” Aguilos said.

Aguilos opined that the Philippines “should also learn from the Asian countries that stood tall in the PISA scores — Singapore, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea – occupying the top five positions.”

“If these Asian countries can do it, why can’t we? We should also know why Vietnam, also a neighboring country, outpaced the US in these metrics. What’s in their educational system that brings their students to high levels of academic achievement?” he asked.
“The present DepEd leadership must work five times harder to arrest such a crisis,” Aguilos added.

Rey Garnace, the former campus director of top state-ran Philippine Science High School in Eastern Visayas region, also said that “more reading subjects should be included in the curriculum for teacher education.”

“There should be no mass promotion if the learners cannot read yet and are not ready for the next level. As proved by countries topping PISA, Math and Science subjects are taught in their native tongue in basic education,” he said.