The Problem of Rural Education in the Philippines

About 80% of the Filipino poor live in the rural areas of the country. These are towns located deep in the mountains and the rice fields. The population density in the rural parts of the country is low, and there is a corresponding deficiency in schools and classrooms. Public school is free, but families still cannot afford to send their children for a complicated network of reasons.

In this editorial for the Pinoy Press, one author delineates the key issue: With around 65 million Filipinos or about 80 percent of the population trying to survive on 96 pesos ($2) or less per day, how can a family afford the school uniforms, the transportation to and from school, the expenses for school supplies and projects, the miscellaneous expenses, and the food for the studying sibling? More than this, with the worsening unemployment problem and poverty situation, each member of the family is being expected to contribute to the family income.

Most, if not all, out-of-school children are on the streets begging, selling cigarettes, candies, garlands, and assorted foodstuffs or things, or doing odd jobs.

Beyond the selling goods on the street, children in farming families are expected to work in the fields during harvest time. In agriculture-based communities where farming is the primary livelihood, having children around to help with the work means more income for the family. In a recent trip to Valladolid, someone told me that children are paid 15 pesos for a day’s work in the blistering heat.

They are pulled from school for two or three months at a time and are irreparably disadvantaged compared with their classmates.

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So, they may have to repeat the grade, only to be pulled out of school again next year. Transportation is another big problem. Kids walk 2-3 kilometers or more to and from school every day. They have to cross rivers and climb hills with their bookbags. The ones that can afford it take a tricycle, but that is a luxury. Schools are sometimes too far for the most remote communities to practically access. So the families can’t afford to pay and the children are pulled from school.

It seems like an intractable problem. Corruption in the education bureaucracy and a lack of resources make delivering a high-quality education to all Filipinos a challenge. Microfinance is one way to help. With the assistance of microcredit loans, women can pay for the education of their children – to purchase uniforms, textbooks, lunches, and rides to school. Also, by creating another source of income other than farming, the children do not have to come help the family work the fields. When I talk to NWTF clients about their dreams, they unfailingly say they hope for their children to “finish their studies. History has shown that it is an achievable goal.

But real systemic change needs to come from above. As long as corruption and bureaucracy paralyzes the system, the goal of delivering a decent education to children – which pays dividends to the country in the long run – will remain out of reach. Purpose Education has undeniably gained enormous respect for its perceived value in the conduct of human life. Consequently, parents send their children to school, hoping that in doing so, they are carving their children bright futures. This reason is equated to their family’s aspiration- to prosper in the future.

In addition, organized societies take pride in establishing and maintaining learning institutions, schools, colleges and universities. With well-educated citizens, trained in scientific problem-solving approach, people are looking forward for nation’s developments and progress contributing to its citizenry convenient and improved life. Main Thesis Our constitution, the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, states that the state shall protect and promote the rights of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.

This law supports the concept of universality of educational opportunity and that the education of every citizen is the concern of the nation. Is this goal of our constitution was able to realized? What are the actions of our government with regards to this prevailing problem? In the article, it was stated that the average income of the family per diem ranges to ninety-six pesos ($2). Can a family without dependent children can survive with this average income? How much more is the family having four or much worst twelve siblings? How can they survive?

Can they provide even just their basic needs which include their clothes, food and shelter? These questions that I’m trying to ask will probably your questions also. Perhaps, if I would ask people around me most probably they would answer “NO”. That’s why, each member of the family tries to work to contribute to family’s income for them to survive. Elaboration Poverty is a condition exists when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs. Extreme poverty is the root cause of malnutrition. This leads to lowered resistance to disease, and of course unhappiness. This problem mentioned above has many effects to the family.

One of these is, when members of the family try to help the family leading these children to be school drop-outs. As a result, out-of-school children are selling cigarettes, candies, garlands vendor, foodstuffs vendors and worst-street beggars. They will land on these jobs most probably because nobody can hire them. They are not yet belonging to the work aged citizens (populasyong inaasahan); thus, they cannot be legally hired for work. One more problems that children are experiencing in going to school in rural areas is the long travel that they are going to do back and forth.

Usually, the presence mud during rainy seasons and dust during sunny days is visibly seen on their feet and clothes thus children are uneasy inside the classroom during school hours. They can’t clean themselves because the school doesn’t have the facilities such as water system and alike. Motorcycles are not usually used by school-aged pupils as a means of transportation because it is expensive for them. They cannot even eat the three times a day, how much more to spend a money for their transportation? With such problems, children ended up to be drop out in school and will repeat the same grade.

Support and Evidence School aged children in rural areas are usually come from poor families. I am witness of this because I am teaching in one of the rural schools in the District of Cabatuan-I for about two years now. Truly there is less number of school-aged children in our school but mostly belong to poor families. Usually, these children are always absent in school. If they are present, they are always late. Most of them are helping their parents in looking for their family’s food, household chores and doing other works contributing to family’s income.

Others are tired of going to school because their homes are situated far from the school. While some have nothing to eat and having no “baon” for lunch in school. Children in rural communities during plantation and harvest time are always present in farm helping their parents to earn a small amount of peso to contribute to family’s income. Thus, they are always absent in school for a week or even more than a month. With this condition, teachers do not have a choice but to drop these children in their class. Children end up repeating the same grade next school year.

This occurrence is repeated and repeated where children end up to stop schooling. Thus, drop-out rate of the school becomes a routine problem of a school that cannot be given any solution. The drop-out rate of school children is also ridiculously high rate. Right now, only about 45 out of every 100 Filipinos have finished high school. These official figures are suspiciously inflated, to make the government look less inept. The government passed laws regarding children’s education. One of these is the Education Act of 1982 (B. P. 32) that states in its objectives for elementary education is to provide basic knowledge and develop the foundation skills, attitudes and values, including moral and spiritual dimensions essential to the child’s personal development and necessary for living in and contributing to a developing and changing social milieu. Thus, students have granted rights including the right to receive, through primary competent instruction, relevant quality education in line with national goals and conducive to their full developments as persons with human dignity.

Republic Act 6655 provides public Secondary Education Act of 1998, was approved on May 26, 1998. It specified the following: free public secondary education shall be made available to all qualified citizens in order to promote quality education at all levels. Republic Act 896 provides compulsory education of seven years and made it mandatory on the part of the parents to enroll their children in public school children in public school upon attaining seven years of age. PD 603 states that every child has the right to a well-rounded development of his personality to the end that he may become a appy, useful, and active member of society. Every child has the right to an education commensurate with his abilities and to the development of his skills for the improvement of his capacity for service to himself and to his fellowmen. The Philippines has already been warned by the United Nations that we are about to renege on our commitment to have “education for all” citizens by 2015. Right now, only 85 percent of all Filipinos who could go to Grade I actually go to school. The department must get the out-of-school 15 percent to enter the formal education system.

That is the easy part-, the hard, perhaps impossible part is keeping everyone in school, so that we will not have any out-of-school youth. With this, Philippine government tries to eradicate these problems in education to realize the millennium development goals. One of the government’s programs is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4 Ps. 4 Ps is a conditional cash transfer program that provides incentives for poor families to invest in their future by ensuring that mothers and children avail of healthcare and that children go to school.

As such, it is a human development program that invests in the health and education of children. At the same time, the cash grants alleviate current poverty by providing immediate relief from cash flow problems. Such extra cash received on a bimonthly basis is especially important for poor households that have irregular or seasonal income. Beneficiaries of the program are chosen through the Proxy Means Test which is generated by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR). Evaluation Quality education attained by learners in school is primary objective of our government.

Working towards quality education is the task of school authorities as well as parents. It cannot be achieved in a split second or a snap of a finger. Education is a social equalizer, closing the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” and improving opportunities for the next generation to improve the quality of their lives. The Philippine government has been committed to modernize the Philippine educational system, in particular, on basic education, in its effort to make each and every pupil at par with other pupils in the developed economies.

But still, corruption in education leading children in a lower status to suffer. The government should give emphasis and give solution to these prevailing problems which our educational system is experiencing. The context of this problem is from our political leaders. I hope that the government under President Aquino will be true to its advocacy-“Tuwid na Daan”. Hoping this incoming election these deprived, depressed and underserved parents and pupils will not only give false hope by the politicians who are always promising them to have a better income if they will be elected.

Because the government cannot provide necessary and appropriate instructional materials that can aid to teaching-learning process of these children is affected and deteriorating. Teachers should be creative and resourceful to realize their objective for a quality education. Citizens in this places (deprived, depressed and underserved) are also dreaming to make their children professional if not can be able to finish their studies and earn enough for their living. This vision of these people are reachable but perhaps with the problems mentioned, they can only dream of it and can never be in what they dreamed that they wanted to achieved.

The family is the most important social structure of any society. When a family is connected with each other, it will result in a harmonious relationship. But when the family is disconnected because of misunderstanding and conflict, it creates a broken family and affects the lives of all especially the children. Thus the Family should join hands to solve the problem that the family is facing. Parents should be educated also for the welfare of their children. With the government’s 4 Ps program, I observed, if not totally eradicates, minimizes the absences of this poor pupils in our school.

This observation is almost evident in schools around Cabatuan based on the teachers here. The family has enough food to eat and is aware of the basic needs especially their health through seminars and workshops sponsored by the Local Government Unit (LGU). After five years this 4Ps program of the government will end, what will happen to these beneficiary families? Instead of giving these subsidies, the government could have given alternative livelihood to these families so they can lift up their families. Government should not give a fish only to these families but teach them how to fish.

Cite this page

The Problem of Rural Education in the Philippines. (2016, Oct 26). Retrieved from

The Problem of Rural Education in the Philippines
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