Implementation of the K-to-12 program is needed to sustain momentum of the Philippines in advancing in the Human Capital Index.
The Philippines placed 46th in overall index out of 124 countries in the Human Capital Index for 2015 of the recent World Economic Forum (WEF).
“The Philippines can now claim that its level of human capital development and deployment is considered a competitive advantage, especially among its Asean neighbors in the 15 to 24, 55 to 64 and over 65 age group,” Peter Perfecto, executive director of Makati Business Club (MBC) said on Friday.
More work, however, needs to be done especially in the under-15 age group where the Philippines ranks 73rd (fifth in Asean, according to Perfecto.
Asean–Association of Southeast Asian Nations–groups the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“The results also underscore the need for government and private sector to implement the K-to-12 basic education program to improve education outcomes in the under 15 age group,” he said.
“It is the WEF’s shift in focus in measuring human capital to learning and employment outcomes from factors contributing to a healthy, educated and productive workforce that brought out competitive advantages for the Philippines,” Perfecto noted.
Aside from the high quality of the country’s education system to meet the needs of a competitive economy, businesses can also rely on the Philippines’ advantage in the quality of business schools, as well as availability of research and training services, he said.
Amid criticism of the K-to-12 program, the MBC executive director said, “We expect K-to-12 implementation over the medium term to turn low-skilled and unskilled workers into at least medium-skilled workers especially in the 25-54 age group where we ranked the highest compared to our Asean neighbors at 20th globally. Singapore was closed at 22nd.”
“Again, it will be important that we do not reverse or delay K-to-12 implementation. The incidence of child labor should be significantly reduced by enabling families to have their children stay in and attend school. This is partly being addressed through the extended 4Ps [Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program] or the conditional cash transfer program. It is important that this continues as well, therefore,” he added.
The K-to-12 programs adds two years to the country’s basic 10-year curriculum (six years in elementary school and four years in high school).