They Need Our Help

The Philippines is a nation of children. Blessed with immersion in English as a medium of instruction, the twenty million eager pupils of the public school system are poised to achieve literacy in order to contribute to the process of development of their society through entry into the global marketplace. At present, they are prevented largely from doing so due to a severe shortage of educational resources with which to learn effectively. Classroom teachers are faced with national average teacher-to-pupil ratios of seventy-five to one, posted in isolated depressed areas, and given scant financial support. They lack professional training in the advanced learning concepts and methods needed to cope with these challenges. Managed by an under-funded, centrally-controlled, rigid bureaucracy, remote basic education sites have been reduced to caricatures of effective learning institutions. Parents struggle vainly to prepare their children to meet the nation’s needs for a literate, competitive workforce. Widespread poverty, with social deprivation and environmental devastation as consequences, are the result. The majority of youth fail to attain functional literacy; half entering the economy benefited with but a few years of basic formal education opportunity. There are no dictionaries in the public school classrooms; children memorize with scant comprehension in order to pass standard tests, but few do.