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BLIND SPOT: Recognition of the Filipino Learner Performance

I was passing through Jacob St. a little past seven in the morning; and I noticed that the traffic volume has thinned than the usual. The rush of colors of school uniforms have also decreased. Final exams are over. Those who remain to be going to schools are probably busy with project submissions, clearances, rehearsals or just pure, unadulterated hanging out with school friends to get away from house chores. Just around the corner are the recognition and graduation rites. According to the related DepEd order, recognition rights are intended “to provide formal recognition of student achievements that can motivate learners to strive for excellence in academic, leadership, and social responsibility.” I hate to draw comparisons between our Asian neighbors whose ships passing or trespassing through Philippine seas have caused a little stir in the administration; but a study reveals that “Chinese adolescents generally performed better in school than their Filipino counterparts. Factors that predicted academic achievement were ethnicity, acculturation, and parents’ academic involvement.” ( WENR World Education News and Reviews reports in 2016 that “at the primary and secondary school levels, access and completion rates have been declining significantly in recent years. By 1970, the Philippines had achieved universal primary enrollment. Early success in basic education, however, has been masked by a long-term deterioration in quality, and the national figures obscure wide regional differences. In Manila, close to 100 percent of students finish primary school, whereas in Mindanao and Eastern Visayas less than 30 percent of students finish. According to United Nations data, the Philippines was the only country in the Southeast Asian region for which the youth literacy rate decreased between 1990 and 2004, from 97.3 percent to 95.1 percent (United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2006). Meanwhile, between 1992 and 2009, the nation’s net primary enrollment rate dropped by a significant margin from nearly 96 percent to just over 88 percent. It has since risen back to near 1992 level s, recorded at 95 percent in 2013. Nonetheless, the elementary completion rate was less than 74% in 2013, indicating a significant drop-out at the elementary level.” ( “The World Bank report on competitiveness talks about how the development of social and behavioral skills needs to start in early childhood.” “A recent Dutch study found that parents who overvalue their child—boasting that their child knows almost everything—run higher risks of developing a narcissist because kids pick up these inflated views.” ( Now, does that sound familiar? I wouldn’t want to further fuel the burning summer heat of cynicism among Filipinos; but it wouldn’t be right to turn a blind eye to situations for what they really are. A research on the factors affecting the performance of students in the National Achievement Test reveal that “the tools on the part of the parents and siblings make it impossible to maximize the level of support that the students receive. Technology, media, and study habits are said to have a direct causal relationship to the performance of the students in the National Achievement Test. It means that the more a value of the (technology, media and study habits) increase, the more it is likely to cause favorable results. On the other hand, there is an inverse causal relationship between the existing motivational practices of the students’ family.” ( Okay, let’s go through it again. The more a student uses technology and media, and the more a student practices good study habits, the better he/she will perform in the achievement test. No one would dare argue with the value of study habits. Both hands raised to the sky, that’s a given. But take note on the effect of technology and media which is often blamed as distractions and considered as useless capricious hobbies. Now, here’s something more interesting. The research showed that the more the family motivates (or badgers and pesters) the student towards studying, the lower he/she would perform. No wonder, Filipino children have been struggling with academic performance. We got it all wrong. This is going to make for a good joke. In another study of factors affecting academic performance of students, the factor with the greatest impact is the teacher-related aspect, more specifically the mastery of the subject matter having the greatest impact. ( Whoa, wait a minute. Don’t we suspend classes for teacher trainings? In all our efforts to motivate learner performanceto and cultivate and grow knowledge, maybe we’re holding the hoe the other way around, and watering the wrong plant. “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 127:4-5

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