EDUCATION reform advocates from the business community reiterate the need for a longer basic education cycle in the country.

During the 4th Cebu Education Expo at SM City Cebu, the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), which was formed by the business community as a response to the need for consensus and sustained advocacy in education reform, said the country’s current basic education cycle is not enough.

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“The current basic education is not long enough to cover subject matter other countries now cover as part of basic education. We are cramming far too much subject matter into too few years. The result is little or poor learning,” said Ramon del Rosario Jr., PBEd chairperson.

An international study says that the country belongs to the bottom five of poor achievers in math and science.

Out of 45 countries, the Philippines ranked 41st in Math and 42nd in Science, beating only Botswana, Ghana, and Africa.

Delia Villacastin, a teacher who attended the opening of the Cebu Education Expo last Friday, said most of the children today do not get a good education if they finish at all.

“For our children who do enter our schools, the future is still not as bright,” she said.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the global standard for basic education today is 12 years, and the Philippines is the only country with a 10-year basic education program.

Too young

For del Rosario, the short cycle of basic education has created graduates with neither skill nor competence and churns out 16-year old high school graduates who are too young to work.

“Additional years in basic education will allow the system to build flexibility in the curriculum to expand coverage and content in preparation for college or to better prepare high school graduates for employment or entrepreneurship,” he said.

Rosario said a child is presumed to have developed sufficient higher order thinking skills, analytical tools, and knowledge to enter either college or work in a 12-year basic education

cycle spanning elementary and secondary school but excluding pre-school.

PBEd believes that it’s “high time to plan and begin the move to 12 years basic education plus pre-school.” (PDF)