education in the Philippines

Philippines eyes better ranking in 2022 international student assessment program

Bonz Magsambol

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File photo of public elementary students


Education Secretary Leonor Briones hopes that the Philippines will improve its performance in the 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment after its dismal ranking in 2018

The Department of Education (DepEd) announced on Thursday, November 26, that the Philippines will join the 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment, where it aims to improve on its dismal past performance.

PISA is a student assessment of 15-year-old learners across 79 countries done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Education Secretary Leonor Briones hopes that the country will improve its performance in the 2022 PISA, the second time that the Philippines will join the international student assessment. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Dismal PISA rankings: A wake-up call for Filipinos)

“We’re not thinking of any specific rank at this time. What we are looking forward to is an improvement in the ranking of the Philippines,” Briones said.

The Philippines ranked in the low 70s in the 2018 PISA, placing 79th in reading, with an average of 340 against the OECD average of 487. (READ: Philippines ranks among lowest in reading, math, and science in 2018 study)

Filipino students also ranked low in mathematics and science, with 353 points and 357 points, respectively, against the 489 OECD average for both categories. 

Preparations for PISA 2022

In a virtual press briefing on Thursday morning, Education Undersecretary Nepemuceno Malaluan said that PISA 2021 was deferred upon the request of participating countries, including the Philippines.

“Our decision is to continue participating in PISA now that we have the 2018 PISA benchmark results,” Malaluan said.

Recognizing the dismal performance of the country in the 2018 PISA, Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said that DepEd is preparing to improve the performance of the country in PISA 2022.

“We already know that our scores are not so flattering,” San Antonio said.

To prepare for the assessment, the DepEd said it created a technical working group for international large-scale assessments.

DepEd will be conducting online training for teachers and student leaders, learning materials will be distributed, and practice tests will be administered.

Malaluan said that participation in PISA is “not a race to the top.”

“The point really is the performance of our students – where are our students are having difficulties and what are the levels of their leaderships are. These will be our benchmark moving forward,” Malaluan added.

Why this matters

Due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, schools in the country shifted to distance learning – a mix of online classes and printed learning module – following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to suspend face-to-face classes until a COVID-19 becomes available.

Under the distance learning system, parents have an active role in guiding their children through modular lessons – which posed a problem for students who do not have anyone to facilitate learning at home, or whose parents are not capable of guiding them due to lack of knowledge. (READ: Parents bear the brunt of distance learning as classes shift online)

The pandemic has exposed the gaps in the Philippine education system evident in erroneous learning modules for distance learning. (LISTEN: [PODCAST] Ang mga maling impormasyon sa DepEd distance learning materials)

Mishaps such as “painful” grammar errorswrong math equation, and modules depicting gender stereotypes alarmed the public as they expressed concerns over the quality of education of over 24 million students during the pandemic.

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.