Increasing Investment to Improve Basic Education Outcomes in the Philippines

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Over the last decade, the Government of the Philippines has embarked on an ambitious education reform program to ensure that all Filipinos have the opportunity to obtain the skills that they need to play a full and productive role in society. The government has backed up these reforms, particularly over the last five years, with substantial increases in investment in the sector. As a result, access to basic education has increased, particularly for the poorest households, and the overall learning environment has improved. While these improvements have halted a long-term decline in education sector outcomes, significant challenges remain. In particular, the share of national income devoted to basic education has only recently returned to the levels of the early 2000s, and spending per student in the Philippines is still low compared to spending in other middle-income countries. These relatively low levels of spending per student are likely to have limited the scope of the improvements in education outcomes over the last decade. High school completion rates remain low compared with other countries in the region, and enrollment gaps among different socioeconomic groups persist. Stakeholders frequently express concerns about the quality of the education provided and about the level and breadth of skills that children possess when they leave school. The purpose of this note is to investigate whether the recent increases in the financing for basic education have improved education outcomes and to identify any factors that may be constraining the effectiveness of public spending. It concludes that further increases in public spending will be needed if the government’s ambitious goals for the education sector for the next five years are to be achieved. However, increased investment will not be enough on its own. It will also be necessary to ensure that these resources are used effectively.
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World Bank Group. 2016. Increasing Investment to Improve Basic Education Outcomes in the Philippines. Philippines education note,no. 1;. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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