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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

DepEd Secretary Briones says WB must apologize for the breach of protocol

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

DepEd Secretary Briones surprised at recent World Bank report

MANILA – Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said the recently-released report on the state of education in the Philippines was based on the PISA assessment released two years ago which has been the subject of discussions to further improve the existing conditions.

The said PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) report is under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked the performance of students’ academic performance.

Speaking at the Malacañang’s midday press briefing hosted by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Secretary Briones said every sector has contributed to address the reported deficiencies in the country’s educational system.

“I would like to emphasize World Bank did not follow protocol. When you report about a country, you should at least inform your host country,” Secretary Briones said. She added World Bank gave the report to the media instead of their host government which happens to be the Philippines.

She said the World Bank has been a partner in institution education reforms. The Philippines borrowed US$100 million followed by another loan in 1997 and another US$113 million, an important proof that the World Bank has been a partner in Education.

“It’s more than partnership because we have borrowed from World Bank,” she added. Secretary Briones said there are two loans up for negotiation and eventual signing worth US$110 million to enhance the capacity of teachers and the other for the Alternative Learning System worth US$100 million.

From way back the Philippines has availed of loans amounting to US$700 million which the country pays regularly.

Secretary Briones said every lawmaker and critics of the Education sector know of the PISA report and there is no excuse they at the Department of Education would not know the problems.

“The standard practice is for them to inform the host country of reports up for release. However, they released it to the media first,” she added.

What caught her ire was the non-inclusion of developments the government introduced to improve the system. There are other agencies and institutions extending assistance to upgrade the system and respond to the problems.

“And since the country was insulted, was shamed and so on, we expect and look forward to a public apology for their failure to inform us of the report they released which was based on old data,” she further stressed.

The Education executive said the Philippines has availed of loans from other multilaterals and on a country-to-country arrangements as well as from private institutions with different probationary fees which is thoroughly discussed during negotiations.

“All pertinent details are discussed by the parties concerned,” the former head of the non-government organization called Freedom from Debt Coalition prior to her appointment to the Basic Education portfolio said. (Melo M. Acuña)

Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones. (Screen grab from Malacañang Press Briefing)

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