ADB hands Philippines loan for secondary schools

4 Jun 19

At least 12 million high-school students in the Philippines could benefit from a $300m boost to secondary education.

The Asian Development Bank has approved the loan to support Manila’s efforts to achieve inclusive growth by improving access to education that responds to labour market needs.

The initiative is expected to help the country improve job opportunities and contribute to government targets to lower poverty from 21% to 14% by 2022.

“Sustaining the Philippines’ strong growth momentum will require a workforce equipped with the appropriate set of advanced skills and knowledge to allow them to keep in step with the rapid technological changes in the global economy,” said Lynnette Perez, ADB Senior Education Specialist for Southeast Asia.

“Continued investments in high-quality education are crucial to attaining the government’s vision of lowering unemployment and poverty rates.”

Reforms in secondary education within the Philippines are showing progress but enrolment and graduation rates remain low, especially among students from the poorest households.

Among measures taken by the government to improve the quality of education are those to deploy adequate numbers of specialised teachers, provide sufficient teaching resources, and align learning to labour market needs.

The Secondary Education Support Program funded through the ADB loan will benefit about 10.6 million students currently enrolled in high school, and an additional 2 million grade 7 entrants yearly from 2019 to 2023.

Funds will be disbursed based on results and the overall aim is to help the government offer poor people greater access to better, affordable education.

The programme will raise the performance of students in the country’s National Achievement Test and high-school technical and vocational specialisations.

It will strengthen the curriculum and increase teacher proficiency and career development, potentially benefiting 294,000 teachers.

The programme builds on existing ADB assistance that, among other things, has supported reforms to recruit qualified science and mathematics teachers, provide more classrooms, implement a new curriculum, and develop a voucher scheme helping 1.3 million students.

  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

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