The Philippines is striving to deliver improved public services, having shown significant results but also some challenges in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). At a middle level in income and human development, with significant fiscal space, and where official development assistance now represents a small fraction of total financial flows, the country is committed to making more effective use of its internal resources to fulfil its development goals.
Recent fiscal reforms helped double budgetary resources in the Philippines in six years. In 2016, the national budget topped 3 trillion pesos, over 37 percent of which was allocated to social service sectors. The Department of Education’s budget, the highest among all government departments, continues to grow, surpassing Php460 billion in 2016.
Given high ratios of children and youth—one-third of the population is under age 15—the Philippines cannot afford to fall short on education. While it attained the MDG target on primary enrolment, only 64 percent of adults have some secondary education, and the quality of education is still a major challenge.
With these issues in mind, the Department of Education has been pursuing a series of reforms, including under the 2013 Enhanced Basic Education Act, colloquially called the Kinder to Grade 12 (K-12) Basic Education Programme. It aims to establish and maintain a complete, adequate, integrated system of education relevant to the needs of all people and the country while also bridging the divide between education and the requirements of today’s labour market. The impacts could be profound, particularly in terms of reducing inequities in access to schooling. Dropout rates will also fall.
In 2016, under a $60 million government financing agreement, UNDP began assisting the Department of Education in delivering one of the Government’s most critical programmes, the Kinder to Grade 12 Basic Education Programme. Through this agreement, UNDP provides an assistance package that includes technical support for public financial management reform, capacity development, citizens’ engagement in monitoring service delivery and procurement services.