Philippines - Administration, Finance, & Educational Research
FINANCE ADMINISTRATION & EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
The Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (DECS) administers, supervises, and regulates primary and secondary education. In 1994, the Commission for Higher Education (CHED) was established. It has supervision and regulatory powers over both public and private higher education institutions as well as degree-granting programs in all public and private postsecondary educational institutions.
The task of overseeing postsecondary technicalvocational education and the training and development of out-of-school youth and unemployed community adults used to be distributed among a few government agencies. These agencies were fused together in 1994 to create the Technical Education and Skills Authority (TESDA). The agencies concerned are the National Manpower and Youth Council of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Bureau of Technical and Vocational Education of DECS, and the Apprenticeship Program of the Bureau of Local Employment of the DOLE. They were put together to prevent overlapping functions and to provide a centralized agency to give national direction for the government programs concerning the technicalvocational education and training system of the country. The focus of TESDA is to realize the full participation of industry, labor, local government units and technicalvocational institutions in the country's skilled manpower development programs.
As compared to other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, the Philippine government expenditures for education is low considering the state's task of providing free education. In 1994, the Philippine government spent 2.7 percent of the gross domestic product to education compared with Malaysia's 5.4 percent and Thailand's 3.5 percent. The proportion of national government budget allocated to education has varied from a high of 31.53 percent in 1957 to a low of 7.61 percent in 1981. It stood at 15.5 percent in 1987 and at 14.0 percent in 1997. In 1997, debt service payment was 40 percent of the national budget.
The State's responsibility to provide education had been transferred to the local government units and the private sector through the processes of "devolution" and "decentralization." These processes provide a solution for the financially strapped government but it may worsen existing inequities where poorer and richer local government units will be duplicated in the educational units themselves. The disparities between the poor and the rich schools may be widened.
Filipino research on education is hampered by a scarcity of funds. The approach and scope has mostly been confined within the parameters of pragmatism. Research is conducted to find solutions to urgent problems. Sometimes, the research itself is skipped such as when computers were bought en masse by DECS and private schools. The hasty incorporation of computer education into the curricula had prompted the procurement of the computers. Unfortunately, training in technology use by teachers lags behind the procurement of expensive equipment.
DECS offers a Computer Literacy Program and a Distance Learning Program. On June 2000, a new method to upgrade teaching skills was introduced at the annual conference of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges. A master's degree can be earned primarily using Internet resources.