Press Release
May 21, 2010


Sen. Edgardo J. Angara today urged the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to push for a raise in the country's literacy rate and quality of education.

Angara expressed concern that although the country currently has a basic literacy rate of more than 88.5%, some illiteracy remains. The Department of Education has reported that there are over a million pre-literates in the country and more than 6 million deemed functionally-illiterate, most of who are found among indigenous communities.

"This discredits us from climbing up the global competitive index. Our literacy rate, along with our standards of education, are essential indicators of our people's capacity to compete with experts and scholars from other countries--especially from emerging markets," said Angara, former president of the University of the Philippines.

In 1980 the country's literacy rate was at 82.8% and rose to 93.5% in 1994. However, due to the changing demands in the education sector that have not been fully met by many stakeholders, the current [literacy rate] is again now at 88.5%.

Analysts assert that the decline in the country's literacy rate can be attributed to the constant rise in population levels, the lack of sufficient materials, exodus of competent teachers and the poor or absence of progress in school buildings and classrooms.

Angara also cited the lack of higher qualifications among teachers in all levels of education in the country, deterring teachers from providing quality education attuned to current demands. In last year's national budget deliberations, which Angara chairs, he called on the DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education to raise the number of teachers sent abroad or provided local grants for Masters and Doctorate studies.

"This is a struggle to keep up with international standards in our education system. If we fail to achieve this level of education for our teachers, it is only logical that the country's education system will not progress and so our literacy rate will continue to decline in the coming years," Angara warned.

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