The Philippines continues to implement education reforms even as it remains on track in meeting its Education for All (EFA) goals by 2015, the deadline set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Lapus said the six EFA goals to which the Philippines has committed itself are: expanding early childhood care and education; providing free and compulsory education for all; providing learning and life skill to young people and adults; increasing adult literacy by 50 percent; achieving gender equality by 2015; and improving the quality of education.
According to the DepEd chief, the country has been steadily making progress in education in the last few years, contrary to perception that standards are dropping. After a temporary decline, the Philippines has posted a modest but consistent gains since 2006. This provided hope that the country can still meet its EFA targets by 2015.
In the past three years, DepEd continued to raise the proficiency level of those in school even as it mobilized its resources in bringing school-aged children to school through innovative means.
Lapus said that the 2009 National Achievement Test given to public elementary and high school students showed a continuing upward result –- from 55 mean percentage score in 2006 to 66 percent in 2009. Moreover, more students are moving towards mastery and there has been substantial drop in the number of students showing low subject mastery.
To increase enrollment and retention in school, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed the education department to strictly adopt the “no collection” and “no mandatory uniform policy” which encourage more parents to send their children to school.