October 3, 2023

The results of the 2018 Program for International Students Assessment (PISA) has shaken the entire nation.
The Philippines is at the bottom in the world ranking on the performance of students in reading comprehension, Science, and Mathematics. This has elicited strong reactions from different groups expressing their opinions about the government’s inaction to address the sad reality behind the basic education program in the country.
The secretary of the Department of Education has already acknowledged the “gap” in the Philippine basic education program and called for “re-thinking” to overhaul the country’s basic education program.
The secretary points to widespread poverty as a factor that have contributed to the low ranking of the Philippines in the 2018 PISA where out of 79 countries, our students ranked last in reading comprehension, and 78th in Science and Mathematics.
Some groups have identified corruption in the basic education system as the true culprit that has brought down the country to the bottom in world ranking of students academic performance.
Poor training of teachers offered by some higher education institutions, poor quality of textbooks in government schools, lack of supports from the stakeholders, and teacher-factor were also the factors said to have contributed to the low ranking.
It is a fact that many of the “best teachers” have left their teaching job in basic education for greener pastures.
The results of the PISA assessment should serve as wake-up call for countries with low ranking to strategize and upgrade their basic education program. Germany and other countries in Europe and Asia that have participated in the PISA with low world ranking used the assessment as a tool to study the systems in their basic education program for positive actions and improvemen.
PISA is administered every three years by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development to 15-year-old students in basic education. The test is administered in the regions identified by the government of the participating country.
In the Philippines, it was administered in Davao, Cebu, National Capital Region, and the Cordillera Administrative Region. These regions were identified by DepEd based on the previous results of the National Assessment Test.