Asian Development Bank to lend $300M to upgrade Philippines high school education system

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it will provide P1.5 billion worth of loans to the Philippines to boost the quality of the high school education system, helping over 10 million secondary-level students nationwide.

In a statement, the ADB said it has set aside $300 million (P1.5 billion) in loans “to support the Philippine government’s efforts to achieve inclusive growth by improving access to high-quality secondary education that responds to labor market needs.”

ADB Senior Education Specialist for Southeast Asia Lynette D. Perez said equipping the labor force with “advanced skills and knowledge” is necessary for them to manage the technological changes the Philippines is experiencing as it further experiences propelling growth.

“Continued investments in high-quality education are crucial to attaining the government’s vision of lowering unemployment and poverty rates,” she said.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) January 2019 Labor Force Survey, 5.2% of Filipinos are unemployed, down from 5.3% a year earlier year. Despite that, labor force participation was only 60.2%, down from 62.2% in January 2018.

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Through the ADB’s Secondary Education Support Program, the ADB said that 10.6 million students who are currently enrolled in the secondary level will benefit. An additional 2.7 million more students who are entering Grade 7 yearly from 2019 to 2023 will also benefit from the program.

Also part of the Secondary Education Support Program’s beneficiaries are the nearly 294,000 public school teachers and others who will be hired until 2023.

“The results-based Secondary Education Support Program will help the government sustain its reforms, particularly in offering the poor greater access to better, affordable education. It will disburse funds to the government based on the achievement of agreed reform targets within a specific period,” ADB said.

The ADB will also give assistance to the Department of Education (DepEd) in improving curricula to keep it in line with the Philippine Development Plan and as well as provide for maintenance of operations and equipment used in schools.

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