Manila — Youth enrolled at learning institutions in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have been tracked by a national survey as the most diligent in attending their classes, compared to their counterparts in other regions of the country.
Country-wide, CAR scooped 69.4% student school attendance, outperforming all regions, says National Census and Statistics Office (NCSO) in its 2010 Census of Population and Housing.
It is a feather in the cap for parents and guardians preferring to send their kids to schools in this highland region and, an approval rating for school teachers tutoring them, according to observers conversant with educational statistics.
Except for pupils aged 3-4, NCSO covered CAR student brackets aged 5 to 24. Most important, NCSO finds CAR students’ literacy rate averaging 97. 5 percent, higher compared from past years.
This accomplishment becomes profoundly relevant next week on September 8 when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrate the UN International Literacy Day. UNESCO is spearheading UN Literacy Day, to remind communities that literacy is a human right and the foundation of learning.
CAR, and Baguio City’s economic underpinning as dominant educational hub, has been sustained and enhanced over the years, as seen by the number of colleges, universities and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), from a total of 36 in 2001-2002 to 47 in 2008-2009, a 23% increase for six years, notes the Cordillera Regional Development Plan (CRDP) 2011 – 2016.
Majority of HEIs are private institutions located in Baguio, hosting 40% of the total HEIs and collaring 70% of the regional total enrollment. Benguet and Kalinga also demonstrated HEIs increases, showing emergence of other areas, aside from Baguio, in ministering to higher education, like La Trinidad and Tabuk City.
These Institutions have been unceasing in upgrade and modernization of their facilities, while medical and allied courses, business administration and related courses, engineering and technology, education and teacher training as well as IT-related disciplines posted the highest number of enrollees and consistently exhibited remarkable performance in licensure examination.
However, the CRDP points out that competency of different colleges and universities in areas of instruction, research and extention and other disciplines related to skills requirement needs improvement.
Take Centers of Excellence (CoE). CAR target was five. Only two were achieved. CoE is a major feature of educational quality development program being advocated by of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
For Centers of Development (CoD), only two made it from the expected eighteen. Target for accredited programs was 58, but CAR achieved less, so more efforts must be exerted to improve college and university facilities, programs and faculty.
In Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET), CAR has exceptional performance, from a total of 41 TVET providers in 2001-2002, jumping to 136 in 2009, with two – the Baguio City School of Arts and Trades and Regional Training Center, Baguio – classified as CoE’s in 2005.
With significant rise in TVET providers comes increase in TVET programs, along with number of enrollees and graduates particularly by Private Technical-Vocational Institutions (PTVIs), indicating growing demand for skilled workers particularly by overseas labor market.
Most popular programs preferred by students are Information Communication Technology (ICT), and Health and Community Services (HCS), opening an increase in labor demand by offshore BPOs firms, including call centers and medical transcription.
Despite remarkable performance of both HEIs and TVIs, there is a need for developing highly skilled, locally and globally competitive manpower, the CRDP stressed. Specific problems being encountered by these two sectors are mismatch of manpower needs with HEIs courses and TVET training programs, lack of social advocacy or marketing, the need to ensure world-class education, training and limited investment.
While both TVIs and HEIs have accomplished well, the basic education sector must improve performance particularly in increasing participation rate. It is a must to improve performance in English, Math and Science to guarantee total quality education and competitiveness, the CRDP emphasizes.
For CAR to be truly a primary educational spear , the CRDP lists portfolios that must be achieved: improved access to quality education and manpower development services, enhanced public private partnership in delivery of education and manpower programs and services , improved provision of market-driven, development-oriented tertiary and technical-vocational education, training and, research extension services.
The CRDP was painstaking cobbled by CAR regional, provincial, city, municipal planners, including other concerned stakeholders through the Regional Development Council (RDC) based at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR), Botanical Garden, Baguio City, was forwarded by RDC chairman Jocel Baac, RDC chairman to Cayetano Paderanga, NEDA Director-General, who submitted the same to the Office of the President in Malacañang. It was approved by President Benigno Aquino without revision. By Bony Bengwayan.