13 March 2018 – Over a hundred leaders and representatives from government, industry, academe, and civil society gathered at Makati Shangri-La for the 2018 Policy Forum on Education hosted by Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), in partnership with the World Bank Group (WBG).
The forum featured WBG’s first ever World Development Report focused exclusively on Education, entitled “Learning to Realize Education’s Promise”, with lead authors Halsey Rogers and Michael Crawford sharing their prime findings from decades worth of data and lessons.
Schooling not the same as learning
Among the most critical messages of the discussion was on the learning gap seen in developing countries. “Too many children are missing out on basic skills, despite spending years in class,” the authors detailed. “Schooling without learning is not just a wasted opportunity, but a great injustice. There is nothing inevitable about low learning in low- and middle-income countries.”
Call to action
These findings echo the Philippines’ own state of educational affairs. “Only 34% of Filipino primary school students meet the global standards for math proficiency,” PBEd Chairman Ramon del Rosario shared in his opening speech.
Other such figures presented were not meant to discourage but instead spur all agents involved to informed and coordinated action. As Mr. del Rosario also imparts, “the World Bank estimates that around two-thirds of the Philippine population interact with the education system... ensuring alignment for learning is a task not for one sector to solve on its own.”
The authors closed with recommendations for three policy actions: (1) assess learning to make it a serious goal; (2) act on evidence to make schools work for learners; and (3) align actors to make the system work for learning.