6 Achieve universal primary education

Where we are?

 school teacher
A teacher is reading to students in a primary school in Masbate. The goal of universal primary education in the Philippines is threatened with decreasing trends of elementary participation and completion rates. (Photo: UNICEF Philippines)

The trend in elementary participation in the Philippines suggests that the target of universal access to elementary education by 2015 is in great risk of not being achieved. From a near universal rate (97%) in 1999/2000, as measured by net enrolment rate (NER), participation in elementary education dropped to 83.2 percent in 2006/07, the lowest over the last two decades. While increasing marginally in 2007 at 84.8 percent, the rate of progress is very minimal in order to achieve 100 percent participation by 2015, unless a big turnaround happens in the succeeding years.

On the other hand, school efficiency at elementary level, as measured by cohort survival rate (CSR), exhibited an erratic trend from 1991 to 2008. From its lowest level of 63.5 percent in 1999/2000, the CSR has reached its highest level at 75.4 percent in 2008/09. Representing the percentage of first grade students reaching sixth grade, the CSR indicates the poor holding power of schools that exacerbates overall pupil participation and access. Meanwhile, dropout rates remained high at six percent in 2008/09, with lower grade students more likely to leave school.

Similarly, the elementary completion rate (CompR) has generally shown an improving trend from 1991 to 2008. From its lowest level of 65.3 percent in 1993/94, the CompR has reached its highest level thus far at 73.3 in 2008/09, indicating that more pupils who enter elementary are able to complete the whole stretch of elementary education.

Based on the trends in CSR and CompR, particularly if the 2005 to 2008 rates of progress will continue, there is a good chance that the targeted level of 84.7 and 81.0 percent, respectively, can be achieved by 2015. However, this requires greater effort and creativity from the government, particularly the Department of Education, to produce consistent and significant improvements in terms of the holding power of schools.

Elementary Education Net Enrollment Rate (%), School Years 1991-1992 to 2008-2009

Line Chart

Source: Department of Education

UNDP's work in the Philippines

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Targets for MDG2
  1. Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
    • Net enrolment ratio in primary education
    • Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach last grade of primary
    • Literacy rate of 15-24 year-olds, women and men