Category Archives: Philippines

Heroes of reading – Teachers have a critical role in promoting reading and literacy to children

Much has been said about how the Internet and handheld devices like smartphones and tablets have made it harder and harder for parents to raise children readers. And while printed books continue to win its reading battle against the ebooks and ebook readers, a study conducted by Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of over 600 original titles annually, showed that children reading printed books are dropping—a sad fact considering the numbers never really got that high.

“That’s why Scholastic’s mission is simple: help children read and learn,” says Scholastic Asia President Frank Wong. “We want to help build a nation of readers and learners. When you read, especially when you read independently, the next phase is learning. Reading promotes critical thinking, connecting thoughts, creativity—these are all 21st century skills. Without love for reading, it’s very hard to see how our children can progress and really excel in the 21st century.”

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This is why teachers have a critical role in promoting reading and literacy to children.

“In the Philippines, we have been very successful with our literacy agenda simply because our teachers have embraced it,” says Dr. Duriya Aziz, Scholastic International publisher and vice president. “I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of classroom observations in Manila and I observed that teachers read aloud to kids. Every reading lesson, there is a read aloud session. This is very important because it means that of the 60 minutes of class, the teacher believes that reading is valuable enough to devote 10 or 15 minutes to it.”

By advocating reading, the teachers are modeling a good behavior to their students that is sustained. “I can see the kids so excited about reading. So teachers are fundamental to our advocacy,” Dr. Aziz adds.

Recently, Scholastic held its second Scholastic Readers Cup in recognition of the exemplary efforts of educators, from teachers and librarians to principals and school administrators, in improving literacy in their respective schools. The winners were chosen among educational institutions that participated in Scholastic’s Assessment and Enrichment program (AEP) and Independent Reading Program (IRP); two literacy programs which proved instrumental in producing significant improvements in students’ reading abilities.

The Readers Cup is a tribute to the countless teachers, librarians, principals, and school administrators whose work and leadership have paved the way for students to become better readers and good learners.

“The concept of the Reader’s Cup is you enable the school to assess the students reading capability. Read at the level that they are comfortable in and then pick and choose the kind of things that they like to read. So if a child can read at the right level books that they like and enjoy reading, eventually they will have that good reading habit,” says Frank Wong.

This year, the Readers Cup was given to a number of educational institutions including OSJ-Sto. Rosario Academy, OSJ-Holy Family Academy, St. Thomas Academy, Dr. Yanga’s College Inc., St. Paul College, Balayan,  Iloilo Scholastic Academy, OSJ-Saint Joseph Institute, Saint Mary’s Angels College of Valenzuela, OSJ-Saint James Academy, OSJ-Joseph Marello Institute, Sta. Teresa College, Notre Dame of Greater Manila, MGC New Life Academy and Falcon School.

“Our teachers, librarians, principals, and school administrators are doing a fine job at helping us raise a nation of readers, and we should all be grateful to them. The Scholastic Readers Cup is just one way of giving recognition to these notable educators. They are the real heroes in our quest for a more globally competitive Philippines. We hope to continue this tradition every year. By shining the spotlight on these individuals and institutions, we hope to inspire other educators to raise more and better readers and good learners, too,” says Fritzie Salem-Cruz, general manager of Scholastic in the Philippines

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How kids in Vietnam, other countries embark on extreme journeys to school (photos)

As the world marks the 48th annual International Literacy Day on Tuesday, have a look at how children in Vietnam and several Asian countries go to school in this photo feature provided by World Vision Vietnam.

Millions of children across Asia returned to school this month, pursuing their right to education. The new school year in Vietnam officially kicked off on September 5.

While many have schools in their own communities, others have to go on long and difficult journeys to access their education, which is a major challenge in Asia and the Pacific.

In remote villages, schools are often far away and difficult to reach. The distance from home to school is one of the reasons why 26.3 million children are out of school in Asia and the Pacific, according to UNESCO.

“On World Literacy Day, we are celebrating the children who embark on extreme, sometimes dangerous, journeys to school, so that they can learn and continue their education,” World Vision, a global relief and development organization, said.

Here is how kids in remote areas in Vietnam and some other Asian countries make it to pursue literacy.

Vietnam: Every day, Linh and her friends wake up at 4:30 in the morning to walk to school. It is a three-km journey from her house to school. She has to pass over several streams and steep slopes. In the flood season, the stream current is very dangerous. Photo: Truong Cong Thanh

VietnamLinh and her friends walk over a steep slope. In the rainy season, the slopes become slippery and dangerous, often causing them to fall down. Their school books get drenched too. Photo: Truong Cong Thanh

Cambodia: These two grade 3 students endure a four-km walk to school every day. By the time Sreyneang (right) reaches school, “[she] has been tired and [her] legs have been tired too.” Photo: Vanndeth Um

Myanmar: Aye Aye and her friends walk across a rice field on their long journey to school. Photo: Khaing Min Htoo

Indonesia: Melvi, a ten-year-old boy from a rural area in East Sumba, Indonesia, passes over a wide river to reach school before climbing the steep chalk cliff. Photo: Rena Tanjung


The Philippines: Jenel is one of hundreds of students who live in the mountain ranges of the Philippines. He treks two hours – up and down the hills and across a river – to walk from his sugar cane farming village to school. Photo: Mong Jimenez


India: Parmila, 8, and her friend Armu, both in third grade, walk across a desert in western India in order to reach school. Photo: Tiatemjen Jamir

September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO in 1965. It has been celebrated around the globe annually since 1966, with an aim to remind the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.

The theme of the 2015 International Literacy Day is “Literacy and Sustainable Societies,” according to UNESCO.

World Vision, which is dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the cause of poverty, started working in Vietnam with emergency relief assistance in 1988 and opened an office in Hanoi in 1990.

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One Million Words donate to Tigbawan Elementary School

In early April One Million Words was able to make a second donation to an elementary school in Mindanao. Tigbawan Elementary School located at Don Leon Ballante, Caraga, Davao Oriental was presented with over 200 books by our OMW staff and directors in the Philippines.

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Tigbawan Elementary School teaches students in grades first through sixth in Caraga, Davao Oriental of Davao (Region XI). The school has 5 instructional rooms and 0 non-instructional rooms, which are all powered by a power grid. With 150 students, class size is around 30 students. Honey Lou F. Pinero is in charge of the school, acting as the school’s Teacher.

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For the 2013-14 school year, Tigbawan had 150 students enrolled. This makes the school a smaller school, with 100 less students than the average school and 57 less students than the average school in Caraga. The school has an almost equal number of male and female students. This is unlike the average gender breakdown in Caraga, which sees on average 0.9 female students per male.

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Tigbawan has a total of 5 rooms – all of which are used for instructional purposes. All in all, the school has at least one general academic classroom and kindergarten classroom. Of the instructional rooms, all of them are standard rooms, meaning they meet the DepEd’s guidelines for safety and usability.

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With 150 students and 5 rooms actively used for teaching, Tigbawan has an average class size of 30. This puts Tigbawan’s classes on the smaller side, as the school has 5 less students per class than the average of all schools, and 11 less students per class than the average in Caraga, Davao Oriental.

View video here –

Special thanks

radio-streaming-tcard_1412317241We would like to give special thanks to Super Radyo DZBB 594 kHz, the flagship AM radio station of Radio GMA Network Inc. (http://www.gmanetwork.com) in the Philippines, for their excellent interview with our Philippine Director Gemma Calope and promotion of our current project in Davao. Special thanks also to Super Raymund T. Micator (News anchor – GMA Super Radyo DAVAO – SASKI Radio Program) for hosting the interview!

We’d also like to give a big THANK YOU to the Davao Durian Eagle Club, as they’ve donated their time and effort to help us transport books to locations in the Philippines. Again, many thanks!

And last but not least, a HUGE thank you to the One Million Words Philippine office staff (Gemma, Nicole, and Joric) for their fantastic efforts and hard work! Excellent job guys!

Central Mindanao: Literacy Rate at 87 Percent

Population reached 2.6 million

As of May 1, 2000, the total population of Central Mindanao which covers the provinces of Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat; and the cities of Iligan, Marawi and Cotabato, was 2,598,210 persons. This implied an increase of 238,402 persons over the 1995 census figure or an average annual population growth rate of 2.08 percent, slightly lower than the annual population growth rate recorded during the 1990 to 1995 period (2.83 percent). If the average annual growth rate continues at 2.08 percent, the population of the region is expected to double in 33 years, increasing on the average, by 54,043 persons a year or about 6 persons per hour.
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Dependency ratio was 74 percent

In Central Mindanao, more than 57 percent of its total population belonged to productive ages or economically active population (15 to 64 years old). On the other hand, the young dependents (aged 0 to 14 years) accounted for about 40 percent while about three percent were old dependents (aged 65 years and over). The overall dependency ratio in 2000 was 74. This meant that for every 100 persons aged 15 to 64 years, there were about 74 dependents, i.e. 69 young dependents and five old dependents.

Central Mindanao had a median age of 20 years

Central Mindanao had a median age of 20 years. This meant that half of the population were below 20 years old. In 1995, the median age was 19 years. Cotabato City had the highest median age of 26 years, followed by Iligan City with 21 years. The provinces of Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat both had the same median age of 19 years. On the other hand, Marawi City had the youngest at 18 years.

Sex ratio recorded at 102

In 2000, the sex ratio in Central Mindanao was recorded at 102. This meant that in this region, there were 102 males for every 100 females.

Twenty eight percent were Islam

Majority (55 percent) of the household population in Central Mindanao were Roman Catholics. This was followed by Islam (28 percent) and Evangelicals (five percent). The remaining 12 percent belonged to other religions that included Iglesia ni Cristo, Seventh Day Adventist or other religions.

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Six in every seven persons were literates

In 2000, about six in every seven population (87 percent) aged ten years and over in Central Mindanao were literates. It was noted that males and females posted the same literacy rates (87 percent each). Iligan City had the highest literacy rate where 95 percent of its population were able to read and write a simple message. On the other hand, the province of Sultan Kudarat had the lowest literacy rate at 84 percent.

Average number of children ever born was three

In Central Mindanao, ever-married women in reproductive ages (15 to 49 years) had on the average, 3.1 children during their reproductive period. This meant that on the average, there were 31 children ever born in every ten ever-married woman aged 15 to 49 years. The number of births was relatively low at the younger age group 15-19 years and continues to increase as they became older.

Average age at first marriage was 21 years

In Central Mindanao, the average age at first marriage of ever-married women 15 to 49 years old was 21 years. Among the provinces and cities in Central Mindanao, the provinces of Lanao del Norte and Sultan Kudarat had the youngest average age at first marriage (20 years) while the province of North Cotabato, the cities of Iligan, Marawi and Cotabato had 21 years.

Three in every five overseas contract workers were females

In 2000, there were 22,250 overseas contract workers or about 0.86 percent of the household population. Among them, females (60 percent) outnumbered their male counterparts (40 percent). The median age of overseas workers in Central Mindanao was 27 years. This meant that half of the overseas workers were below 27 years old. Male overseas workers had a median age of 30 years while their female counterparts had 25 years.

Most households burned their garbage

Of the total households, over 54 percent preferred burning as their usual manner of garbage disposal. More than 16 percent of the households had their garbage picked up by a garbage truck while over 15 percent dumped their garbage in individual pit. The rest of the households disposed their kitchen garbage either by composting, burying or feeding to animals.

One-third of the households drew water for drinking and cooking from community water system

The main source of water for drinking and/or cooking was community water system, accounting for more than 33 percent. More than 18 percent of the total number of households in Central Mindanao had their own faucet and more than 15 percent shared faucet from community water system. Iligan City had the highest proportion (78 percent) of its households that drew water for drinking and/or cooking from community water system while the province of Sultan Kudarat had the lowest with only 15 percent. However, about 17 percent of households in the region still depended on spring, lake, river, rain, etc., as their main source of water for drinking and/or cooking.

Close to half of the households used electricity for lighting

Electricity was the main source of lighting of more than 49 percent of the total households in the region. About 47 percent used kerosene or gaas. Marawi City had the highest proportion of households that used electricity for lighting constituting about 87 percent. Followed by Cotabato City with more than 78 percent. On the other hand, the province of North Cotabato had the lowest with only 36 percent.

Seven in every ten households owned a radio/cassette

Of the total 501,870 households in Central Mindanao, more than 75 percent had at least one household convenience. A large proportion of the total number of households (72 percent) had radio/cassette and about 34 percent had television set. About seven percent had telephone or cellular phone while more than eight percent had motorized vehicle.

Thirty five percent of the households had agricultural land

In 2000, 44 percent of the total households in Central Mindanao owned a land. Thirty-five percent of the households had an agricultural land (this included four percent of households who acquired the land through Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) or were Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARB)); 16 percent, residential land other than where the households currently resided; about three percent had land other than residential and agricultural.

Most households owned/amortized the houses they occupied

Of the total 501,870 households in Central Mindanao, more than 73 percent owned or amortized the houses they occupied; 17 percent, occupied for free with consent of owner; and about six percent were renters.

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Mindanao’s low literacy rating due to decades of conflict, expert says

BONN, Germany — The low enrollment and literacy rate in Mindanao vis-à-vis the rest of the country is just among the many negative effects of decades of conflict and crisis in the region, an international expert on crisis and education said here at the 2012 Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum.

In one of the plenary debates focusing on the topic: “The Fight for Knowledge: Opportunities and Risks of Educational Work in Conflict and Crisis Zones,” the problem in Mindanao has been mentioned as part of the need to highlight the problem of education in conflict and crisis zones.

Dr. Ashraf Ghani, chairman of the Institute for State Effectiveness in Kabul, Afghanistan said that the longer the conflict in these areas, the more dissipated human capital is.

He also said that teachers are the least paid in these places.

This confirms the latest Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) study of the government on the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The 2008 study showed that ARMM has the lowest literacy rates nationwide, with 71.6 percent compared to the national rate of 86.4 percent.

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Aside from the problem in Mindanao, Ghani also mentioned the problems of other conflict and crisis zones around the world such as Turkey, Afghanistan and Cambodia, and how these problems put at risk not only the lives of people in these areas but their education as well.

Ghani urged the media to be very careful with the information and images they provide to people especially those in conflict areas. He said most of the time, people affected by war simply rely on the media for information.

“Media plays a very important role. In areas of conflict, majority of the women listen to radio,” he said.

Another expert said that peace education is extremely important for the media to consider when reporting on conflict zones.

Theary Seng, founding president of the Center for Cambodian Civic Education in Cambodia, said that media practitioners should not contribute or aggravate the problem by disseminating propaganda.

“In conflict zones, we’re trying to change a lifetime of mindsets,” noted Seng.

Ghani said there is often an educational crisis in conflict zones which all stakeholders — government, local and foreign communities and the media must work together to address.

The plenary debates formed part of the 2012 Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, a three-day congress with international reach, which aimed to examine the role of the media with their images and messages in a rapidly changing world.

More than 1,500 journalists, bloggers, media practitioners, cultural workers and artists gathered here in this historic city of Bonn to debate and discuss on the media’s role in contributing constructively to cultural diversity, education, reducing poverty, addressing the problem of global migration, sustainable development and the overall goal of making the world a better place to live in.

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Citing a recent study conducted by the University of Hamburg, Deutsche Welle, organizer of the forum, said that while today’s society is overflowing with information that can be accessed anywhere at any time because of the Internet, approximately 850 million people around the world are still illiterate and that most of these people come from “crisis regions and war zones.”

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcasting company, is tasked to explain Germany’s role as a “cultured European nation with democratic freedoms based on the rule of law and to promote understanding and exchange between cultures and peoples.” It offers television, radio and Internet coverage in 30 languages.

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Binaton Elementary School Project – 30th 31st March 2015

The project

This project is set for the 30th to 31st March 2015, to donate 300 elementary and primary level reading books to Binaton Elementary School. Binaton Elementary School, is an elementary school located in CARAGA, DAVAO ORIENTAL, REGION XI, in the north eastern area of Mindanao, Philippines. Caraga was severely devastated by typhoon Pablo in 2012, which claimed almost 2,000 lives and as such there has been numerous rebuilding and building relief projects conducted in the region. This project is unique in the sense that it is supplying much needed reading resources to the local school which has a student population of 208.

The aim

There are two aims and outcomes from this project, primarily is to donate 300 primary grade readers to the local primary school, the second aim is for the collection of photographic and video footage for the future promotion and marketing purpose of One Million Words Organization.

The lead team

The team for this project will be co-ordinated by the COO David Clarke, with the in-country lead being Gemma Calope, and supported by Joric Confesor, Nicole Confesor and six local school volunteers.

School Data

Binaton Elementary School teaches students in grades first through sixth in Caraga, Davao Oriental of Davao (Region XI). The school has 3 instructional rooms and 0 non-instructional rooms, which are all powered by a generator. With 208 students, class size is around 69 students. Mariano M. Taupan8 is in charge of the school, acting as the school’s Teacher in Charge.
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For the 2013-14 school year, Binaton had 208 students enrolled. This makes the school a smaller school, with 42 less students than the average school and about the average number (207) of students enrolled in Caraga. The school has more male students (117) than female students (91) – for every one female student there are 1.3 male students. This is simlar to the average gender breakdown in Caraga, which sees on average 1.3 male students per female.

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Binaton has a total of 3 rooms – all of which are used for instructional purposes. All in all, the school has at least one general academic classroom. Of the instructional rooms, all of them are standard rooms, meaning they meet the DepEd’s guidelines for safety and usability.

With 208 students and 3 rooms actively used for teaching, Binaton has an average class size of 69. This means classes at Binaton are much larger than the average class size, with 34 more students per room than the average of all schools, and 28 more students per class than the average in Caraga, Davao Oriental.

Regional overview: East Asia and the Pacific

The past decade has seen mixed progress towards Education for All (EFA) in East Asia and the Pacific.1 More children are participating in pre-school education, many countries have achieved universal primary education (UPE) and more are moving from primary school to secondary education. Gender parity has been achieved at the primary level in a majority of countries and adult literacy rates are improving. However, challenges remain. The Pacific subregion has seen a 7% decline in primary enrolment rates, and 7.9 million children are not enrolled in school in the region as a whole. Some 105 million adults are still illiterate and levels of learning achievement are low in many countries. East Asia and the Pacific spends a lower share of national income on education than the world average. On the other hand, external aid to basic education has increased in recent years, despite stagnation in overall levels.

UNESCO Regional overview: East Asia and the Pacific

Goal 2: Universal primary education Over the past decade, progress towards UPE has been uneven across East Asia and the Pacific. While many countries in the region have relatively high primary enrolment rates, some are registering increasing numbers of children not enrolled in schooling. Progress towards UPE is limited. From 1999 to 2008, nearly 30 million fewer children enrolled in primary education in the region, partly due to declining fertility rates in some large countries. The regional primary adjusted net enrolment ratio (ANER)2 remained about the same over the decade and stood at 95% in 2008. However, the Pacific subregion is moving away from the UPE goal, as its primary ANER declined from 90% to 84% between 1999 and 2008. Progress towards UPE was particularly marked in Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Tonga, where the primary ANERs increased by five to eleven percentage points between 1999 and 2008. In Tonga, the indicator increased from 88% to 99%. The situation remains critical in several countries, including the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste, all with ANERs below 80% (Figure 2). Numbers of children out of school are declining, but at varying speeds. Some 7.9 million children of primary school age in East Asia and the Pacific – 61% of them boys – were not enrolled in school in 2008, down by nearly 3 million since 1999.

Progress in recent years has been particularly remarkable. The number of out-of-school children increased by an annual average of 203,000 between 1999 and 2004, but then declined substantially, with reductions of nearly 1 million per year between 2004 and 2008. Some countries with large out-of-school populations, including the Philippines, saw their rate of progress slip over time. The out-of-school number in the Philippines fell by nearly 23,000 per year on average from 1999 to 2004, but by only 16,000 annually from 2004 to 2008. By contrast, progress has accelerated in some countries, including the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, in recent years. Many children in the region will remain out of school in 2015. Trend analysis can provide plausible scenarios for the numbers of children out of school in 2015. In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a continuation to 2015 of the trend from 1999 to 2008 would see the country’s out-of-school number fall by 4.4% to some 135,000 by 2015. The out-of-school number in the Philippines would be roughly unchanged at 961,000 in 2015 based on the 1999–2008 trend, but the country’s recent slowing in progress towards UPE means a continuation of the more recent 2004–2008 trend would lead to an increase to just over 1 million.

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Starting school at the right age is a challenge in some countries. Getting children into primary school at the right age, ensuring that they progress smoothly and facilitating completion are key elements to advance towards UPE. Many countries in the region are struggling to get children into primary school at the official starting age. In eight of the ten countries in the region with data, less than 70% of children starting school were of official primary school age in 2008, and the figure went as low as 38% in Vanuatu in 2007. However, rapid change is possible. In Cambodia, the share of children starting school at the official age increased from 61% in 1999 to 79% in 2008. Progress in survival to the last grade of primary school is mixed. Once children are enrolled at the right age, the challenge is to get them through school. While more than 92% of children starting primary school reached the last grade in East Asia in 2007, school survival remained an important issue in some countries, including Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic with survival rates below 70%. Nevertheless, several countries made significant progress in improving survival rates. In particular, the rates in Fiji and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic have risen by twelve percentage points each since 1999. Prospects for entry, progression and completion of primary school are closely linked to household circumstances. Children who are poor, rural or from ethnic or linguistic minorities face higher risks of dropping out. In Cambodia, completion rates for the richest 20% of the population are more than three times as high as those of the poorest quintile. Tackling school dropout requires action on several fronts. Dropout profiles vary enormously by country. In Myanmar, with a first-grade dropout rate of 12%, and the Philippines at nearly 13%, children have trouble negotiating their way through the early grades. High dropout rates in the last grade in other countries, such as Indonesia and Vanuatu, are associated with late entry to school. Evidence from many countries shows that the risk of primary school dropout increases with age, thought the strength of the association varies. Lowering the risk of dropout requires a broad set of policies aimed at reducing underlying vulnerabilities, including poverty-related factors and problems linked to the quality of education.

The educational system of the Asian region

The Philippines is the last country of Asia to complete the last two years (or senior high school) of the world standard 12-year Basic Education Program. In year 2016, all Philippine secondary schools should officially have Grade 11 and Grade 12 courses. My article last week focused on the well-established school systems of Europe, whose stable economies are due to the provision of both academic and technological high schools. Majority of European adolescent students prefer to attend the latter to enter readily into the job market. In 1986 when I was a member of the UNESCO Paris Executive Board, my colleague, former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, repeatedly reminded me to let our then Minister of Foreign Affairs Salvador “Doy” Laurel work out the mutual exchanges of college students with Australia. This was not possible since our high school graduates were short of the senior high school requirements. Let’s see how our Asian neighbors worked out the full basic education for their youth.

Indonesia’s struggle to achieve quality education with 249.9M population

The Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemdikbud) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs (Kemenag) manage the educational system of Indonesia. The nine years of compulsory education consists of six years in the elementary level and three in the secondary level. Islamic schools are under the Ministry of Religious Affairs. During the Dutch colonization era, Sekolah Rakjat folk schools encouraged by Theodore van Deventer in 1870 were provided for native Indonesians instead of limiting it to Dutch nationals. This led to the establishment of the elementary school today. In 1973, nearly 20% of youth were illiterate. Then President Suharto used oil revenues for the construction of new primary schools and the repair of old ones. During the financial crisis of 1997-98, education expenditures were cut back affecting the poorest families. But by 2002 World Bank noted that only 2% of young people between ages of 15 and 24 could not read, and by 2009 the literacy rate was 90.4%.

Indonesians are required to attend 12 years of school. Preschool is not obligatory, but it is needed for preparation to primary schools. Most kindergartens however are privately operated. After 1998 the campaign to decentralize the national government, provincial and district-level administrators obtained increasing autonomy to determine the content of schooling.

Rote Learning prevails inside public-school classrooms. Although the youngest children are sometimes allowed to use their local language, by the third year of primary school, nearly all instruction is conducted in Indonesian.

Children aged 6 to 11 attend primary school called Sekolah Dasar (SD), which are mostly government-operated. This accounts for nearly 93% of all elementary schools in Indonesia followed by three years of junior secondary school (Sekolah Menengah Pertama, or SMP). Then students may attend senior secondary school (Sekolah Menengah Atas or SMA), where they may choose any of 47 programs of vocational and pre-professional senior secondary schools (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan of SMK), covering the areas of technology and engineering, health, arts, craft and tourism, information and communication and technologies, agro-business and agro-technology, business management.

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Teacher training programs are gradually being upgraded. A student of the Teacher-training program at the junior high-school level could obtain a teacher’s certificate. Since the 1970s however, primary school teachers have been required to graduate from a senior high school for teachers, and teachers for higher grades have been required to complete a university-level education course. Teacher remuneration, although low, compares favorably with that of other Asian countries.

Thai education not influenced by colonial power

Through the Ministry of Education, Thailand provides free basic education of 12 years from preschool to high school as guaranteed by the Constitution, and a minimum of nine years school attendance is mandatory.

The school structure is divided into four stages: Prathom Gr. 1-3 is for age groups 6 to 8; Prathom Gr. 4-6 is for age group 9 to 11; Matthayom H.S.1-3, is for age groups 12 to 14. Matthayom H.S. 4-6 for age groups 15 to 17 is divided into academic and vocational streams. Admission to an upper secondary school is through an entrance exam called the NET (National Educational Test).

There are three types of schools: public schools, private sectors and fee paying non-profit schools, which are often run by Catholic diocesan and religious orders that operate over 300 large elementary/secondary schools. Due to budgetary limitations, rural schools are generally less equipped than the schools in the cities. The standard of instruction, particularly for the English language, is much lower, and many high school students will commute 60-80 kilometers to schools in the nearest city.

HISTORY – Formal education has its early origins in the temple schools, when it was available to boys only. Unlike Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia and the Philippines, which had all benefited from the influence of America and European countries with centuries of educational tradition, Thailand has never been colonized by a Western power. As a result, structured education was slow to evolve.

During the Sukhothai period (1238-1378), education was dispensed by the Royal Institution of Instruction (Rajabundit) to members of the royal family and the nobility, while commoners were taught by Buddhist monks. Through his reforms of the Buddhist Sangha, King Rama IV (1851-1865) or King Mongkut, the legendary king who hired Dutch governess Anna Leonowens that inspired the film “The King and I” accelerated the development of public education; during the reign of King Rama IV (1851-1865), the printing press arrived in Thailand making books available in the Thai language for the first time. English had the lingua franca of the Far East.

UNDER KING MONGKUT’S SON, KING RAMA V (1868-1910) – In 1871, with the proclamation of the “Command Declaration on Schooling,” English was being taught in the palace for royalty and nobles. Schools were set up outside the palace for the education of commoners’ children. In 1898, a two-part education plan for Bangkok and for the provinces was launched with programs for preschool, elementary and secondary, technical and higher education. The bloodless revolution in 1932 that transferred absolute power from the king to democratic government encouraged further development and expansion of schools and tertiary institutions. The first National Education Scheme was introduced formally granting access to education regardless of ability, gender and social background.

In 1977, the 6-3-3 year system that is in use today for basic education started. Following the recent military takeover of May 2014, Thai junta leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha “bestowed” to the nation the “Twelve Values”: loyalty, gratitude, diligence and the preservation of Thai customs. Uppermost is respect towards the King as Head of State, and is expressed by morality, democratic values, obedience to the older citizens and self-sufficient economy.

Almost all villages have an elementary school, most sub-districts (tambon) have a school providing education from age 6 to 14, and all districts (amphoe) have secondary schools of age 12 to 17. Many have vocational colleges for students from age 15. In rural schools, absenteeism of both students and teachers is high due to family and farming commitments.

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION – Currently, 412 colleges are governed by the Vocational Education Commission (VEC). More than a million students are following the programs. In 2014, approximately 380,000 students were studying in 401 private vocational schools and colleges. Technical and vocational education (TVE) begins at the senior high school grade, where students are divided into either general or vocational education. In 1995, based primarily on the German model, Dual Vocational Training the Department of Vocational Education launched the initiative to introduce dual vocational training programs, which involve the students in hands-on training with suitability-selected organizations in the private sector. Unlike regular internships, where students may be assigned to work on unpaid irrelevant jobs, the cooperative education program enables the students of the vocational schools to do field work while benefiting from an allowance to cover living expenses.

Classic Japanese education developed military class, Shogunate bureaucrats, and Samurai elite

Formal education in Japan began with the adoption of Chinese culture in the 6th century but never fully took hold.

When the Kamakura period ended the Buddhist monasteries remained influential centers of learning. During the Tokugawa Shogunate, the daimyo vied for the power in the largely pacified country. Since their influence could not be raised through war, they competed on the economic field. Their warrior-turned-bureaucrat Samurai elite had to be educated not only in military strategy and martial arts, but also in agriculture and accounting. At the end of the Edo period, 50% of the male and 20% of the female population possessed some degree of literacy. After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Western learning was adopted as a means to make Japan a strong, modern nation. Students and even high-ranking government officials were sent abroad to study.

POST WORLD WAR II – After the defeat in World War II, the Allied occupation government set an education reform as one of its primary goals, to eradicate militarist teachings and “democratize” Japan. The education system was rebuilt after the American model.

SECONDARY EDUCATION IN JAPAN – The lower secondary school covers grades seven, eight and nine, and children between the ages of roughly 12 and 15, with increased focus on academic studies. Most junior high schools in the 1980s were public. Private schools were costly, averaging 558,592 yen ($3,989) per student in 1988, about four times more than the budget 130,828 yen ($934) per public school student.

Teachers often majored in the subjects they taught and more than 80% graduated from a four-year college. Classes were large, with 38 students per class on average, and each was assigned a homeroom teacher, who doubled as counselor. Instruction in junior high schools tended to rely on the lecture method. All courses contents were specified in the Course of Study for Lower-Secondary Schools.

From April 2011, English became a compulsory part of the elementary school curriculum. The junior school curriculum covers academic subjects and all are exposed to industrial arts and homemaking. Most students also participate in one of a range of school clubs that occupy them until around 6 p.m. most weekdays as part of an effort to address juvenile delinquency.
(http://www.philstar.com/education-and-home/2015/03/05/1430083/educational-system-asian-region)