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ADB approves $300-M loan for PH secondary education.

By Chino S. Leyco

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan supporting the government's program for secondary education that aims to help students become more aligned with the labor market needs.

In a statement, the Manila-based multilateral institution said that it will extend a $300-million financing to help the Philippines achieve inclusive growth by improving access to high-quality secondary education.

The secondary education support program will benefit about 10.6 million students nationwide currently enrolled in high school and an additional two million grade-seven entrants yearly between 2019 and 2023.

It will also help the country boost job opportunities and substantially reduce poverty.

The government has set a target of lowering poverty to 14 percent by 2022 from the current 21 percent.

"Sustaining the Philippines' strong growth momentum will require a workforce equipped with the appropriate set of advanced skills and knowledge to allow them to keep in step with the rapid technological changes in the global economy," Lynnette Perez, ADB senior education specialist said.

"Continued investments in high-quality education are crucial to attaining the government's vision of lowering unemployment and poverty rates," she added.

While reforms in the Philippine secondary education system have shown progress, enrollment and graduation rates remain low, especially among students from the poorest households.

The government is continuing to address the challenges to quality education by, for example, deploying adequate numbers of specialized teachers, providing sufficient teaching resources, and ensuring the alignment of the curriculum to labor market needs.

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 is providing technical assistance to the Department of Education to ensure they achieve targeted reforms and priorities, which are aligned with the Philippine Development Plan.

The program seeks to improve the performance of students in the National Achievement Test and the national certificate assessment for senior high school technical-vocational-livelihood track specialization.

It will also help strengthen the secondary education curriculum and increase teacher proficiency and career development.

Nearly 294,000 public secondary education teachers, and additional teachers to be hired until 2023, stand to benefit from improved teaching practices, which will lead to better learning outcomes.

The program will also support the Department of Education's public financial management reforms, including the timely release of secondary schools' budget for maintenance and operation, tools, and equipment.

It will also assess the effectiveness of the Education Service Contracting and the Senior High School Voucher programs.

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Title Annotation:Business News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 27, 2019
Words:434
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