By Floreño G. Solmirano
LEGAZPI CITY, (PNA) -– At least three basic indicators showed that education in the Bicol region has improved over its previous record, a report of the Department of Education (DepEd) Bicol regional office to the Regional Development Council (RDC) for Bicol showed.
Albay Governor and RDC Chairperson Joey Salceda said this improved performance is attributable to the “no collection” policy, conditional cash transfer program, alternative learning system and the learner information system.
For instance, Salceda said the performance of the region in the National Achievement Test reflected higher scores in Mathematics among Grade 3 pupils, improved scores in English and Science among Grade 6 pupils, and high results in Mathematics and Filipino among the fourth year high school students.
In Schoolyear (SY) 2011-2012, the percentage of Grade 1 enrolees with early child development was 83.2 percent (84.6 for females and 81.9 for males) — an improvement over the previous schoolyear’s record of 76.4 percent and better than the national level’s 76.9 percent.
In terms of participation rate, the record of Bicol was 92.3 percent (92.6 for females and 91.1 for males) while the national record was 83 percent.
The percentages of completion rate in the elementary and secondary in the region, however, were almost the same as the national level’s scores.
Salceda said the DepEd hired more teachers and constructed more classrooms in the last schoolyear to reduce the teacher and classroom shortage.
The elementary teacher-pupil ratio was similar to the national’s at 1:36, but better than the standard of 1:45.
The region posted a secondary teacher-student ratio of 1:36, a manageable one but with shortage of teachers.
The elementary classroom-pupil was 1:38, just enough to meet the classroom requirements as provided in RA 7880 or the Fair and Equitable Access to Education Act.
The secondary classroom-student ratio of 1:49, however, still indicates classroom shortage.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has provided quality technical-vocational education services through regular trainings and skills development in partnership with local government units, industries and private organizations and the provision of scholarships such as the Private Education Student Financial Assistance Program and the Training for Work Scholarship Program.
According to Conrad Bares, TESDA Bicol regional director, the agency produced 44,725 graduates in 2011 and 47,211 in 2012 from technical-vocational education and training programs, covering all delivery modes – school-based, center-based, community-based, enterprise-based and private and public tech-voc institutions.
Local community colleges have shown increased enrollment from 9,771 in 2011 to 12,314 in 2012 while enrollment in state universities and colleges moved a little up from 62,355 in 2011 to 63,720 in 2012.
More students, however, are enrolled in private higher institutions of learning than in LCCs and SUCs.
Several state universities in the region have produced topnotchers in national professional exams like the Bicol University, Sorsogon State University, and the Catanduanes State University.
Salceda said the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP) has educational assistance for indigenous people that has produced 383 elementary, 299 high school and 117 college grantees.
The educational sector provided scholarships and financial assistance to 1,411 higher education students in SY2011, 12, 862 students more than the previous school year’s number.
“This resulted in an increased enrollment in tertiary education of 137,090 in SY2011-12 from 128,645 in the previous year,” Salceda said.
The provincial government of Albay has implemented the Albay Higher Education Contribution Scheme, a scholarship program patterned after that of Australia’s.
“This program aims to produce at least one college graduate per family in the province to contribute to poverty-reduction efforts of the government,” the RDC chairperson said.