ONE in every 10 Filipinos aged 6 to 24 is an out of school child and youth (OSCY), a government survey showed.
Results of the 2016 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that 9.8 percent or 3.81 million of the estimated 38.97 million Filipinos 6 to 24 years old were not enrolled in schools.
The number of OSCY is 68 percent lower than the 12.2 million reported in 2014.
“In this report, OSCY refers to family members 6 to 14 years old who are not attending formal school; and family members 15 to 24 years old who are currently out of school, not gainfully employed, and have not finished college or post-secondary course,” the PSA explained.
Based on the survey, 1.5 percent of children aged 6 to 11 were OSCYs.
Of the 3.81 million OSCYs, 87.3 percent were 16 to 24 years old, 7.7 percent were 12 to 15 years old and 5 percent were 6 to 11 years old.
A majority, or 42.3 percent, said marriage or family problems prevented them from going to school, while 20.2 percent cited the high cost of education.
The survey also said there were more female OSCYs than males.
The APIS is a nationwide survey conducted by the PSA. Around 11,000 sample households are covered in the survey nationwide. The survey is designed to provide non-income indicators related to poverty at the national level. It aims to gather data on the socio-economic profile of families and other information related to their living condition.
“The results of the 2016 APIS show the impact of the government’s thrust to improve education in the country,” said Land Bank of the Philippines market economist Guian Angelo Dumalagan.
Comparing the latest survey to the 2014 APIS, Dumalagan noted that the number of OSCYs declined to 3.8 million in 2016 from 12.2 million two years ago “consistent with the country’s improving enrollment rates.”
He said there was also a drop in the proportion of OSCY’s who cited “financial concern” as the key reason for not attending school. In 2014, 22.9 percent of OSCYs were not able to attend school because of high educational cost.
“This ratio fell to 20.2 percent in 2016, suggesting an improvement in the relative affordability of education,” Dumalagan said.
However, the LandBank economist said despite recent gains in the country’s educational system, some areas of improvement remain, particularly on the amount of encouragement or support families give to their children.
In 2016, the proportion of OSCYs who cited “lack of personal interest” and “marriage/ family matters” as key reasons for not attending school increased to 19.7 percent (from 14.2 percent in 2014) and 42.3 percent (from 18.7 percent in 2014), respectively, he explained.
Dumalagan said the rising share of these two reasons for not attending school suggests that there may be a need to initiate programs that would urge families to encourage their children to complete their education
“These programs might be directed to lower income households, as this segment of the population is more prone to leave school due to family reasons or lack of interest,” he added.