ANYONE who is engaged in successful problem-solving knows that the first step is to define the problem.

What is the problem with education in the Philippines?

On average, our 15-year-olds do not reach the achievement levels of 15-year-olds in most other countries. Why not?

Because most of our 15-year-olds have disengaged from the education system.

Out of 100 students who enroll in elementary school, only 58 reach high school.


Poverty is an important reason. The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme, however, does try to address this issue. This scheme provides P 1,400 per month to 3.7 million families on condition that their school age children have a school attendance record of at least 80 percent. This should help to increase the retention rate.

There are, however, many parents who are not part of the CCT program who cannot afford the transportation and the other expenses necessary to send their children to school.


The 2014 budget for the Department of Education (DepEd) is P337 billion of which P37.67 billion is allotted for the construction of additional classrooms. The amount of P37.67 billion is too large for many of us to comprehend fully. To put things into perspective, we recognize that over P150 million should be spent in each Congressional district in 2014 to account for the P37.67 billion. Can Rep. Leonardia confirm that this amount is being spent on classrooms in Bacolod City? If not, why not?


What is important is that we find ways of keeping students engaged in productive learning throughout elementary schooling.

What is not important is to try to coerce students into spending six years of their lives in secondary schools. It is unworkable and unimplementable. The academically-oriented student has made sufficient progress to gain admission to tertiary education during his fourth year of high school.

“K-12” was launched in October 2010 without considering the real problems besetting our education system. Contrary to DepEd’s propaganda, K-12 is not universal. It is basically an American construct which is not seen in Europe and elsewhere. The standard school leaving age in England is 16.

The controversial area is the proposed imposition of fifth and sixth year high school students who entered first year high school from June 2012. Last week these students started third year, Grade 9.

Except for La Salle, the home of DepEd Sec. Luistro.

In June 2014, La Sallians who started high school in June 2012 enter Grade 11.

How is this done?

Firstly, La Salle has Grade 7 which was explicitly not part of high school. “Students are not emotionally ready for high school when they finish Grade 6,” I was told by La Salle’s former principal.

Secondly, La Salle has invented its own numbering system which does not include 9. Students go from Grade 8 to Grade 10.

Hence Grade 11 is third year high school for La Sallians.

This is how La Salle’s June 2012 first year high school intake become Grade 12 graduates in March 2016. Some DepEd hardliners seem to think that there will be no student entering tertiary education in June 2016 and June 2017.

Except La Sallians.