Poverty, hunger prevent Filipino kids from getting basic education JAM SISANTE, GMANews. TVAugust 4, 2008 1:09pm MANILA, Philippines – Despite the annual increase in the budget for basic education, fewer children are enrolling in schools. The reason: poverty. Twelve-year-old Marian (not her real name) is one of the millions of Filipino children whose education has taken a backseat due to poverty. The fifth of eight children, she fled her home when she was 10 because she said her jobless parents hurt her.
Marian is supposed to be in the sixth grade this year, but she’s currently enrolled as a Grade 1 pupil, learning basic language lessons and math skills in a public elementary school in Cainta, Rizal.
A certain “Ate Rowena” took her in and convinced her to go back to school. Marian has to face challenges in school. “Marami pong nanlalait sa ‘kin dahil Grade 1 ako pero malaki ako…hindi ko pinapakinggan yun kasi ito na po yung simula para maipagpatuloy ko po yung pag-aaral ko at makatapos po ako (Other children tease me because I’m still in Grade 1…but I don’t mind them because this is my chance to continue and finish my studies),” she said.
Despite the challenges, Marian is lucky compare to thousands of other Filipino children. 1 out of 6 kids not in school One out of six school-age Filipino children is not enrolled, figures from the Department of Education (DepEd) and the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) revealed. The net enrollment ratio (NER) or participation rate at the elementary level for school year 2006-2007 was 83. 2 percent, down by 1. 2 percentage points from the previous school year and a far cry from school year 1999-2000’s 96. 95 percent.
The NER is the ratio between the enrollment in the school-age range and the total population of that age range. That means that out of all Filipino children aged 6-11—which is the official age range for elementary pupils—17. 8 percent or almost one-fifth are out of school. DepEd figures also show that from 1999 to 2007 participation in elementary education decreased, save for a 0. 19-percentage point increase in 2002. The rate of participation in secondary education is even worse. From 2002 to 2007, almost half or 43. 7 of all Filipinos aged 12-15—the official age range for high school—failed to enroll.
This is lower than the participation rate of 65. 43 percent in 1999-2000. With these figures the country is still far from achieving the Millennium Development Goal of providing basic education to all, the NSCB said in its report. The Philippines is also far from achieving its own Education for All 2015 Plan, which serves as the blueprint for the country’s basic education. Disparity among regions It is not just the overall figures that reflect that the country is unable to meet international and national goals for education.
Government data show that there is a wide disparity in education figures among regions, with most of conflict-ridden Mindanao trailing behind urban centers. The National Economic and Development Authority in its 2006 Socioeconomic Report observed that despite a 0. 38 percent increase in the enrollment of children in 2006 compared to 2005, the figure is lower than expected. NEDA’s figures show that 12. 91 million of the 19. 25 million children enrolled in 2006 are elementary pupils while 6. 33 million were in high school. The overall figure is slightly higher than that of the previous year by only 72,969 children.
“An assessment of the situation points to poverty as the main cause of this lower-than-expected increase. This is further exacerbated by the high cost of schooling-related expenditures. High school students seeking employment to augment family income also contributed to the low increase in enrollment,” the NEDA report stated. The Department of Education admitted that the country’s “volatile economic situation” is preventing children from going to school. Even with the “zero tuition” offer of the government, poor families are hindered by lack of employment, hunger and malnutrition, among other problems.
“Time and again parents have complained of financial obstacles,” said Kenneth Tirado, communications officer of DepEd. Poverty to blame Poverty is one of the main causes of the country’s poor education record and has affected participation in education in more ways than one, according to “Education Watch Preliminary Report: Education Deprivation in the Philippines,” a study done by five advocacy groups including E-Net Philippines, Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education, Action for Economic Reforms, Popular Education for People’s Empowerment, and Oxfam.
Citing data from the National Statistics Office 2003 Functional Literacy, Education, and Mass Media Survey, the study said the top reason of people aged 6-24 for not attending school is employment or “looking for work,” with almost one-third or 30. 5 percent citing that reason. Lack of personal interest came in second at 22 percent, while the high cost of education came in a close third at 19. 9 percent. Other reasons include, among others, housekeeping, illness or disability, failure to cope with school work, and distance from school.
“The lack of interest among school children indicates a weakness on the part of the school system to make education interesting for the students. This may be due to poor teaching quality, inadequate facilities and supplies and poor infrastructure. Poverty, social exclusion, school distance and poor health are, likewise, factors that weigh heavily on children and dampen their interest to pursue schooling,” said the report.
“The challenge, therefore, is how to make the school interesting and encouraging rather than intimidating; how to make it inclusive, non-discriminatory and poor-sensitive rather than exclusive and elite-oriented; and how to make it accommodating rather than restricting. Finally, the education content, process and experience should be made more meaningful to the children’s life experiences by ensuring appropriate, culture-sensitive and values-based interventions,” it added. Increase in budget does not help
Government figures show that the budget for education has increased over a 10-year period – from P90 billion in 1999 to P149 billion in 2008. It does not include the P4 billion acquired in 2007 from the private sector, a dramatic increase from 2003’s P400 million after Education Secretary Jesli Lapus re-launched the Adopt-A-School program in 2006. Despite the budget increase, government agencies observed a gradual decline in the net participation rate of students in the past nine years, especially in the regions.
Luzon has the highest NER, followed by Visayas, with NERs on the opposite side of the spectrum, and Mindanao with the lowest percentage of school-age children going to school. The National Capital Region and Region IV alternately topped the NERs for elementary education, with the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, having the highest NER from 2004 to 2006. Even NCR’s relatively high figures—at least 92. 6 percent since 2002—have declined by about 0. 6 to 2. 2 percentage points, except in school year 2006-2007 when it increased by a meager .
03 percent. Region IX or Western Mindanao posted the biggest NER decrease of 12. 1 percent, from 89. 7 percent in 2002 to 77. 6 percent in 2006. Surprisingly, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao placed 4th out of the 17 regions, with no less than 85. 8 percent net enrollment rate. Unfortunately the trend didn’t continue until high school, where ARMM ranks lowest, consistently placing 17th with only 23. 7 percent to 35. 6 percent when it peaked in school year 2005-2006. The figures went down by three percentage points the next year.
In school year 2006-2007 alone 13 out of the 20 provinces with the lowest elementary NER were from Mindanao, while in secondary education 17 were from the area. “Various programs have been created to cater to the lagging provinces in Mindanao. DepEd has been implementing these projects with assistance from the private sector and Official Development Assistance from the US Agency for International Development and the Australian Aid for International Development,” said DepEd’s Tirado.
Tirado said AusAID’s Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao is seeking to improve the quality of and access to basic education, while USAID’s Education Quality and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills focuses on targeting high illiteracy and drop-out rates. “These two projects have contributed to the success of DepEd’s education interventions in Mindanao,” Tirado said. Another project, the Strong Republic Distance Learning School, was established in 2003 “to provide disadvantaged, impoverished sectors access to formal and non-formal school systems.
” Tirado said the 2008 General Appropriations Act has a special provision for the construction of classrooms and school furniture and the hiring of teachers in the ARMM. Peace in Mindanao needed Education advocacy group E-Net Philippines pointed out that since poor education in Mindanao can be attributed to poverty and armed conflict, a long-term solution to address its declining enrollment would be to bring peace to the area. “During armed conflicts, schools are used as refugee centers, thus disrupting classes.
At the same time, children and teachers suffer from trauma which prevents them from effectively learning – or teaching, as in the case of teachers,” said E-Net’s national coordinator, Cecilia Soriano, in an email interview with GMANews. TV. She also said that since there is a concentration of Muslim students in Mindanao, the curriculum “should be founded on the Muslim wisdom while incorporating the core competencies that will provide children and youth the necessary knowledge to ‘compete’ in the labor market. “
The group is also calling for a budget allotment of P70 million for Learning Centers in indigenous communities in Davao del Sur, Agusan, and South Cotabato, where education is virtually inaccessible, as well as an allotment of P800 million for alternative learning services targeting out-of-school youth. The DepEd provided P420 million to ALS in 2006, according to its March 2008 Performance Report from July 1998 to March 2008. Hunger, malnutrition In a March 2008 report, the Education department said hunger and malnutrition are also barriers to participation in education.
In 2007, DepEd improved its school feeding program, with 300 percent more beneficiaries compared to the previous year. Tirado said that to make the distribution more effective, the DepEd-Health and Nutrition Council implemented a “targeted scheme” that categorizes “priority provinces” according to the severity of lack of food and vulnerability to hunger. DepEd started implementing the Food for School Program under the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Plan during the last quarter of 2005. It was done with the Health, Social Welfare departments, the National Food Authority and local government units.
A daily ration of a kilogram of fortified rice is given as subsidy to families through preschool and Grade 1 pupils. The program, which covered 6,304 public schools nationwide and benefited 111,584 preschool and Grade 1 children, distributed a total of 25,338 bags of rice. E-Net Philippines said the strategy is flawed. “As a motivation to go to school, it sends the wrong message to poor children: go to school to get one kilo of rice instead of the value of learning; it is also an added burden for children as poor parents encourage their children to attend classes to be able to avail of the daily ration,” said Soriano.
Strategy for patronage Soriano said the scheme has become a strategy for patronage as local government units select the beneficiaries of the program. “In fact in 2007, in April, when there were no classes, and just before the elections, the DepEd released rice to preschool and elementary and high school students,” said Soriano. “There were also problems in implementing the [strategy] which were exposed during the 2007 budget deliberations, such as alleged overpricing of rice, deficiency in deliveries and low quality of rice,” she added. E-Net believes there are other strategies to keep poor children in school instead of giving rice.
Addressing health and poverty situations that prevent access to education are among the group’s proposals. Aside from the Food for School program, DepEd has also proposed increased funding for interventions aimed at children aged 5-11. (DepEd claimed that there were significant boosts in budget allotment to certain programs in 2006. These include the Preschool Education Program, which went up to P2 billion from P250 million, the settlement of unpaid prior years of teachers’ benefits, PhilHealth and GSIS premiums, which were given P1. 94 billion from nothing, and a P345 million boost in Alternative Learning Services.
) E-Net’s Soriano, however, said there should be “more targeted education programs for child laborers, indigenous people, children and youth with disabilities and adult illiterates and other marginalized groups. ” Despite the odds, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus is optimistic. “The key reforms and well-focused policy directions to improve basic education are slowly but surely bearing fruit,” he said, adding that the Education department “has been concentrating its human and financial resources on key performance indicators aimed at improving classroom instruction. “
If it’s up to DepEd, the result of the National Achievement Results this year, where the mean percentage score increased from 59. 94 percent in 2007 to 64. 81 this year, the government’s Education project is a success. Whether this indicates that the country can inch its way toward achieving the 75 percent target MPS by 2010, or if the Education for All plan and the Millennium Development Goal can be met by 2015 is still to be seen. One thing is certain though, efforts at boosting education will only be futile if the poverty situation is not significantly, immediately improved.
– GMANews. TV http://www. gmanetwork. com/news/story/111257/news/specialreports/poverty-hunger-prevent-filipino-kids-from-getting-basic-education Literacy is the ability to read and write.  The inability to do so is called illiteracy or analphabetism. Visual literacy includes in addition the ability to understand visual forms of communication such as body language, pictures, maps, and video. Evolving definitions of literacy often include all the symbol systems relevant to a particular community.
Literacy encompasses a complex set of abilities to understand and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture for personal and community development. In a technological society, the concept of literacy is expanding to include the media and electronic text, in addition to alphabetic and number systems. These abilities vary in different social and cultural contexts according to need, demand and education. The primary sense of literacy still represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from a critical interpretation of the written or printed text.
Key to all literacy is reading development, a progression of skills that begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, and culminates in the deep understanding of text. Reading development involves a range of complex language underpinnings including awareness of speech sounds (phonology), spelling patterns (orthography), word meaning (semantics), grammar (syntax) and patterns of word formation (morphology), all of which provide a necessary platform for reading fluency and comprehension.
Once these skills are acquired the reader can attain full language literacy, which includes the abilities to approach printed material with critical analysis, inference and synthesis; to write with accuracy and coherence; and to use information and insights from text as the basis for informed decisions and creative thought.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts.
Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society. “ http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Literacy In the Philippines, it is assumed that before the Spanish colonization, the natives of the Philippine islands were universally literate that all can read and write in their own respective languages. During the Spanish colonization of the islands, reading materials were destroyed to a far much less extent compared to the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
The Spaniards tried to rub literacy in the islands to prevent the islanders to unite. Education and literacy was introduced only to the Peninsulares and remained a privilege until the Americans came. The Americans introduced the public schools system to the country which drove literacy rates up. English became the lingua franca in the Philippines. It was only during a brief period in the Japanese occupation of the Philippines that the Japanese were able to teach their language in the Philippines and teach the children their written language. After World War II, the Philippines had the highest literacy rates in Asia.
It nearly achieved universal literacy once again in 80s and 90s. Ever since then, the literacy rate has plummeted only to start regaining a few percentage years back. The DepEd, CHED, and other academic institutions encourage children to improve literacy skills and knowledge. The government has a program of literacy teaching starting in kindergarten. New reforms are being brought in shifting to a K-12 system which will teach children their regional languages before English, as opposed to the 10-years basic education program which teaches English and Filipino, the country’s two official languages, from Grade 1.
Literacy in the 21st century Main article: New literacies Young school girls in Paktia Province of Afghanistan Economic impact Many policy analysts consider literacy rates as a crucial measure of the value of a region’s human capital. For example literate people can be more easily trained than illiterate people – and generally have a higher socio-economic status; thus they enjoy better health and employment prospects. Literacy increases job opportunities and access to higher education.
Korotayev and coauthors have revealed a rather significant correlation between the level of literacy in the early 19th century and successful modernization and economic breakthroughs in the late 20th century, as ‘literate people could be characterized by a greater innovative-activity level, which provides opportunities for modernization, development, and economic growth’  In Kerala, India, for example, female and child mortality rates declined dramatically in the 1960s, when girls schooled according to the education reforms after 1948 began to raise families.
In addition to the potential for literacy to increase wealth, wealth may promote literacy, through cultural norms and easier access to schools and tutoring services.  In 2009, the National Adult Literacy agency (NALA) in Ireland commissioned a cost benefit analysis of adult literacy training. This concluded that there were economic gains for the individuals, the companies they worked for, and the Exchequer, as well as the economy and the country as a whole – for example, increased GDP.
The annual income gain per person per level increase on the Irish ten level National Qualifications Framework was €3,810 and the annual gain to the Exchequer, in terms of reduced social welfare transfers and increased tax payments, was €1,531.  Broader and complementary definitions Traditionally, literacy is ability to use written language actively and passively; one definition of literacy is the ability to “read, write, spell, listen, and speak. ” Since the 1980s, some have argued that literacy is ideological, which means that literacy always exists in a context, in tandem with the values associated with that context.
Prior work viewed literacy as existing autonomously. Some have argued that the definition of literacy should be expanded. For example, in the United States, the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association have added “visually representing”[clarification needed] to the traditional list of competencies. Similarly, in Scotland, literacy has been defined as: “The ability to read, write and use numeracy, to handle information, to express ideas and opinions, to make decisions and solve problems, as family members, workers, citizens and lifelong learners.
“ A basic literacy standard in many places is the ability to read the newspaper. Increasingly, communication in commerce and in general requires the ability to use computers and other digital technologies. Since the 1990s, when the Internet came into wide use in the United States, some have asserted that the definition of literacy should include the ability to use tools such as web browsers, word processing programs, and text messages. Similar expanded skill sets have been called multimedia literacy, computer literacy, information literacy, and technological literacy.
 Some scholars propose the idea multiliteracies which includes Functional Literacy, Critical Literacy, and Rhetorical Literacy.  “Arts literacy” programs exist in some places in the United States.  Other genres under study by academia include critical literacy, media literacy, ecological literacy and health literacy With the increasing emphasis on evidence-based decision making, and the use of statistical graphics and information, statistical literacy is becoming a very important aspect of literacy in general.
The International Statistical Literacy Project is dedicated to the promotion of statistical literacy among all members of society. It is argued that literacy includes the cultural, political, and historical contexts of the community in which communication takes place.  Given that a large part of the benefits of literacy can be obtained by having access to a literate person in the household, some recent literature in economics, starting with the work of Kaushik Basu and James Foster, distinguishes between a ‘proximate illiterate’ and an ‘isolated illiterate’.
The former refers to an illiterate person who lives in a household with literates and the latter to an illiterate who lives in a household of all illiterates. What is of concern is that many people in poor nations are not just illiterates but isolated illiterates. Greek and Roman were written languages long ago. Ancient Chinese tested candidates for government positions. German and English both became written languages in about 800 AD. Teaching literacy Main article: Learning to read Teaching English literacy in the United States is dominated by a focus on a set of discrete decoding skills.
From this perspective, literacy — or, rather, reading — comprises a number of subskills that can be taught to students. These skill sets include phonological awareness, phonics (decoding), fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. Mastering each of these subskills is necessary for students to become proficient readers.  From this same perspective, readers of alphabetic languages must understand the alphabetic principle to master basic reading skills. For this purpose a writing system is “alphabetic” if it uses symbols to represent individual language sounds, though the degree of correspondence between letters and
sounds varies between alphabetic languages. Syllabic writing systems (such as Japanese kana) use a symbol to represent a single syllable, and logographic writing systems (such as Chinese) use a symbol to represent a morpheme.  There are any number of approaches to teaching literacy; each is shaped by its informing assumptions about what literacy is and how it is best learned by students. Phonics instruction, for example, focuses on reading at the level of the word.  It teaches readers to observe and interpret the letters or groups of letters that make up words.
A common method of teaching phonics is synthetic phonics, in which a novice reader pronounces each individual sound and “blends” them to pronounce the whole word.  Another approach is embedded phonics instruction, used more often in whole language reading instruction, in which novice readers learn about the individual letters in words on a just-in-time, just-in-place basis that is tailored to meet each student’s reading and writing learning needs.  That is, teachers provide phonics instruction opportunistically, within the context of stories or student writing that feature many instances of a particular letter or group of letters.
Embedded instruction combines letter-sound knowledge with the use of meaningful context to read new and difficult words.  Techniques such as directed listening and thinking activities can be used to aid children in learning how to read and reading comprehension. In a 2012 proposal, it has been claimed that reading can be acquired naturally if print is constantly available at an early age in the same manner as spoken language.  If an appropriate form of written text is made available before formal schooling begins, reading should be learned inductively, emerge naturally, and with no significant negative consequences.
This proposal advances knowledge and understanding because it challenges the commonly held belief that written language requires formal instruction and schooling. Its success would change current views of literacy and schooling. Using developments in behavioral science and technology, an interactive system (Technology Assisted Reading Acquisition, TARA) would enable young pre-literate children to accurately perceive and learn properties of written language by simple exposure to the written form. The broader impacts of this possibility are far reaching.
The inability to read is prevalent around the world and even in American society. The cost of illiteracy as well as the huge cost of formal literacy instruction is one of the major financial burdens on societies.  In addition, many students who are considered literate still have difficulty in comprehension which may be related to making reading instruction contingent on spoken language. By embedding the child in written language, their learning to read becomes embodied in the same manner as learning spoken language.
This innovative intervention would also help redirect financial resources where they will have the most impact. Although 90% of private and public education spending is on children between the ages of 6 and 19, 90% of brain growth occurs before age 6.  Spending for nurturing children for literacy before age 6 will be a large market and will have the most impact in improving the quality of life, especially for children without internet access. Public library efforts to promote literacy The public library has long been a force promoting literacy in many countries.
 In the United States, the release of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) report in 2005 revealed that approximately 14% of adults function at the lowest level of literacy; 29% of adults function at the basic functional literacy level and cannot help their children with homework beyond the first few grades.  The lack of reading skills hinders adults from reaching their full potential. They might have difficulty getting and maintaining a job, providing for their families, or even reading a story to their children. For adults, the library might be the only source of a literacy program.
 United States Programs have been instituted in public libraries across the United States in an attempt to improve literacy rates. Some examples are listed below. READ/Orange County, initiated in 1992 by the Orange County Public Library in California, is an example of a flourishing community literacy program. The organization builds on what people have already learned through experience as well as education, rather than trying to make up for what has not been learned. The organization then provides the student with the skills to continue learning in the future.
 The program operates on the basis that an adult who learns to read creates a ripple effect in the community. An adult who learns to read impacts not just himself but the whole community: he becomes an example to his children and grandchildren, and can better serve his community.  The mission of READ/Orange County is to “create a more literate community by providing diversified services of the highest quality to all who seek them. ” Potential tutors train during an extensive 23-hour tutor training workshop in which they learn the philosophy, techniques and tools they will need to work with adult learns.
 After the training, the tutors invest at least 50 hours a year to tutoring their student. Another successful literacy effort is the BoulderReads! program in Boulder, Colorado. The program recognized the difficulty that students had in obtaining child care while attending tutoring sessions, and joined with the University of Colorado to provide reading buddies to the children of students. Reading Buddies matches children of adult literacy students with college students who meet with them once a week throughout the semester for an hour and a half.
The college students receive course credit, ensuring the quality and reliability of their time.  Each Reading Buddies session focuses primarily on the college student reading aloud with the child. This helps the child gain interest in books and feel comfortable reading aloud. Time is also spent on word games, writing letters, or searching for books in the library. Throughout the semester the pair work on writing and illustrating a book together. The college student’s grade is partly dependent on the completion of the book.
Although Reading Buddies began primarily as an answer to the lack of child care for literacy students, it has evolved into another aspect of the program.  While the children are not participants in the tutoring program, they do show marked improvement in their reading and writing skills throughout the semester, due in part to the admiration and respect they gain for their college reading buddy. The Hillsborough Literacy Council (HLC), operating under the Florida Literacy Coalition, a statewide organization, strives to improve the literacy ability of adults in Hillsborough County, Florida.
Working since 1986, the HLC is “committed to improving literacy by empowering adults through education. “ The HLC also provides tutoring for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Approximately 120,000 adults in Hillsborough County are considered illiterate or read below the fourth grade level. Through one-on-one tutoring, the organization works to help adult students reach at least the fifth grade level. 95,000 adults living in Hillsborough County do not speak English; volunteers in the organization typically work with small groups of non-English speaking students to help practice their English conversation skills at any time.
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com/2012/09/social-issue-illiteracy-in-philippines. html http://education. blurtit. com/118279/what-are-the-causes-of-illiteracy http://countrystudies. us/philippines/53. htm http://www. indexmundi. com/philippines/literacy. html http://k-12. pisd. edu/currinst/pfl/home. htm http://www2. ed. gov/pubs/OR/ResearchRpts/parlit. html http://filipinofreethinkers. org/2012/05/04/underestimating-parental-involvement/ Parental Involvement in School In this complex world, it takes more than a good school to educate children. And it takes more than a good home. It takes these two m
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