THE Department of Health (DOH) has blamed malnutrition and the excessive use of gadgets for the dismal performance of Filipino students in reading, math, and science.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said there is a need to put more premium in the nutritional development of children as early as possible.
"It might reach a point where it becomes a public health issue and we must respond to this," he said.
"We should be seriously implementing the provisions of the Republic Act 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act, because that will be a key, if not a driver, to a sufficient brain development," he added.
He also appealed to parents and caregivers to limit their children's exposure to gadgets, such as mobile phones and tablets.
"Please limit the use of gadgets, for public health sake. Their visions will be impaired," said Duque.
Duque was reacting to the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which covered 79 countries.
The Filipino students fared worst in reading comprehension and second lowest in both mathematical and scientific literacy.
"Nutrition is also one of the drivers of the child's development," said Duque in an interview.
"Once the brain is undeveloped or poorly developed, the result is poor performance in reading, math, science and all other educaiton metrics," he added.
Aside from not getting enough nutrition, the health chief said the over exposure to gadgets may also be a factor in the Pisa results.
"Children, who are exposed too much to gadgets, develop impaired vision. That is where the problem comes from," said Duque.
Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones has ordered a review of the country’s basic education curriculum. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)