Moody says Philippines a Rising Star; Can its education system help students shine?

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Moody has many good things to say about the Philippines that in combination, says Philippines GDP could reach 8%. That would make it one of Asia’s fastest. However, to sustain any high growth in the long term, human resource quality is critical. Real GDP growth, most economist say, can only come through productivity increase, many times that means human resource quality. Unfortunately, for the Philippines, its educational system, once the star of Asia, is tanking. Basic education is crowded and research, like from Edita E. Tan, says its higher education, is failing on creativity and innovation.

The fact is, as the Philippine prepares to be the fastest growing economy in Asia, its education system, has the most crowded classes in Asia. One educator said, “The teachers in the Philippines are not teaching, they are lecturing.”

But in the short-term, Philippine Daily Inquirer says:

  •  Moody’s: Philippine a rising star

Set to be ‘one of world’s fastest growth rates’

By Michelle V. Remo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:02 am | Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The Philippines has grabbed the spotlight amid a lackluster global economy, with a think tank describing it as a “rising star” poised to record one of the fastest growth rates in the world and a credit-rating firm raising its growth forecast for the country.

Moody’s Analytics said in a report released Wednesday that the Philippines is likely to grow between 6.5 and 7 percent this year and within the same range next year, outperforming not only the anemic advanced economies but also many robustly growing emerging markets.

It also said that if favorable economic trends continue, the growth rate for the Philippines could be close to 8 percent by 2016.

“The Philippines has been among the brightest parts of a generally gloomy global picture,” Moody’s Analytics said in the report, titled “Philippines Outlook: Asia’s Rising Star” and authored by its senior economist Glenn Levine.

It said the story of the Philippines was noteworthy, noting that the country swung from being a “perennial underachiever” in Asia until the last few years.

Moody’s Analytics, a sister company of credit rating watchdog Moody’s Investor Service, said the country’s 6.6-percent growth in 2012 was achieved despite weak growth in the United States, a crisis in the eurozone and a slowdown in China.

It said the problems of the United States, the eurozone and China—

key export markets—significantly dampened the performance of other economies last year.

Sustainable growth

The Philippines, however, managed to temper the drag of a weak external environment because of a strong household consumption, a nascent rise in private investments and a spike in government spending.

S&P’s rosy forecast

“This impressive rate of GDP [gross domestic product] growth [last year] looks sustainable, as risks are low and most sectors of the economy are growing solidly. We expect GDP growth to remain in the 6.5 to 7-percent range in 2013 and 2014, making the Philippines one of the world’s fastest-growing economies,” Moody’s Analytics said.

Echoing a similar tune, international credit-rating firm Standard & Poor’s has raised its growth forecast for the Philippines for this year from 5.9 to 6.5 percent. At the same time, it said the economy was expected to post another robust growth of 6.3 percent in 2014.

S&P’s updated growth projections for the Philippines were cited in its latest report on Asia, which it said would grow by a decent pace this year and next year as a region. But, it said, the impact of external factors on individual countries would vary.

Domestic demand strong

The credit rating agency said the advantage of the Philippines—together with a few neighbors namely China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam—was that domestic demand was strong and so any adverse impact of weak global demand on the country’s exports would not significantly harm its overall growth.

“China and the Asean 5—Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam—are more domestically driven and, therefore, continue to enjoy relatively high and stable growth rates. This is not the case elsewhere,” S&P said in the report, titled “Emerging Asia Will Grow but Won’t Be Firing on All Cylinders.”

S&P also said that unlike other countries, the Philippines and the rest of the Asean 5 were not expected to suffer from the weakening yen, a trend that has alarmed advanced economies and some Asian economies.

Weakening yen

This was because the Philippines and the four other Southeast Asian economies were net importers of goods from Japan. A weakening yen, therefore, would actually be beneficial as this would make Japanese imports cheaper.

Anticorruption agenda

Moody’s Analytics, meanwhile, highlighted the benefits of the anticorruption agenda of the Aquino administration.

It said the reform programs of the current administration had significantly improved business sentiment in the Philippines.

“The government’s 2011-2016 development plan provides a five-year blueprint for growth and development, providing transparency, predictability and accountability. The crackdown on corruption and encouragement of local and foreign investments, in particular, have worked well,” it said.

Philippines Education: A Quick Analysis:

Classes in the Philippines  are very large. The Public schools have Asia’s highest student to teacher ratio. The elementary school ratio is 1 to 51, high school is 1 to 102. The education system is marked by inadequate teacher training programs and declining per capita expenditure per child by the government. Manila area schools are better equipped than are rural area schools.

  • By Left One Blog

I accumulated clippings from several websites regarding the crowded educational system in the Philippines. I was asked to post it on Lift One. I’d be interested in views on the public system and alternatives. I’d really like CI’s take on it, especially private schools in the Manila area.

The educational structure in the Philippines includes Elementary School, grades 1-6 (age 6-11), and High School, grades 7-10 (age 12-15.)  The school year in the Philippines starts in June of one year  and ends in March of the next, with a two-month summer break for April and May, one week of semestral break (the last week of October), and a week or two of Christmas break.

76% enroll in Elementary school, 59% in High School. On the elementary and high school levels, public schools predominate, but at college and graduate school levels, there are more private than public institutions. This is also true for specialty and vocational schools. 80% of High Schools students go to public schools.  Due to costs, private school attendance has dropped from 62% to 21% since 1965.

Public elementary and high schools are tuition free but there are expenses for materials, projects, uniforms and transportation which have to be borne by the parents. Because public schools are cheap, they lack basic equipment and instructional materials. While basic education is free, many poor families are unable to finance the transportation, books, supplies, canteen, uniforms of their children,

$10-$40 per year, depending on location.  For that reason, schools were recently directed to not require uniforms of students, and provide food for qualifying students.

Classes are very large. The Public schools have Asia’s highest student to teacher ratio. The elementary school ratio is 1 to 51, high school is 1 to 102. The education system is marked by inadequate teacher training programs and declining per capita expenditure per child by the government. Manila area schools are better equipped than are rural area schools.

At Commonwealth Elementary School in the Philippines, in Quezon City, some 11,900 students in 2006 alone. Teachers struggle to even house the students, cramming them into every available space, including corridors, bathrooms and garages. Rooms are filled to bursting, with some classes having more than 70 students. In some cases, three kids share a single desk. Five pupils share a single textbook. Most of the children come from the nearby slum where thousands of informal  settlers crowd into small shanties made of scrap wood and iron sheets.

To further accommodate more students, the school operates on two shifts: grades two, four and six are in the morning classes from 6am to noon and grades one, three and five are in the afternoon classes from 12.30pm to 6pm. This forces seven-year-olds to wake up before dawn to catch their early morning class. The children’s busy parents give them too little support in their schooling. Some don’t get enough allowance. Some can’t get help with homework. Some children aren’t even bathed. The teaching staff has fallen to 230 from last year’s 252.

The Philippines provides virtually free education for the first six years, but the standards in government-run schools are usually much lower than those in expensive private schools. Only the poorest send their kids to state-run schools.

Private elementary and high schools are often much better equipped but also are much more expensive as is the case in most countries. Most private elementary and high schools cost between 2,000 ($43) and 5,000 ($108) pesos per year for tuition and fees. The most exclusive can cost as much as 60,000 pesos ($1300) per year. School hours often fill the whole day, ranging from 7:00 to 17:00. And still there is homework. On weekends, military training may be required. From high school on, many institutions offer night classes from roughly 17:30 until about 21:30, but usually only in Manila or larger provincial cities. In night classes, high school, college, and university courses  can be completed by extending years of schooling. Summer school sessions are available for remedial high school students and for special courses, e.g. computer studies, from April through May.

Secondary education in the Philippines is largely based on the American schooling system. DepEd specifies a compulsory curriculum for all high schooling, public and private. As of 2006, only private  schools have entrance examinations for Secondary school.

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