Sep 192014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/09/06MANILA3991.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3991 2006-09-21 06:20 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO5444
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3991/01 2640620
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 210620Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3066
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003991

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR PEACE CORPS, USAID
FOR ECA, EAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EPET PGOV EAID SCUL RP
SUBJECT: EDUCATION ON THE MOVE WITH INCREASED FUNDING AND NEW INITIATIVES

REF: MANILA 03561, MANILA 03656

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED – NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION

——-
Summary
——-

¶1. (U) As interest in education reform and English language training
continues to make headlines, the Ambassador called on Secretary of
Education Jesli Lapus September 15. The Secretary reported on his
ambitious plans to revitalize the deteriorating education system by
taking advantage of increased national budgets, partnerships with
the private sector, and U.S. assistance, especially in English
language education. End Summary.

——————————-
Decline in Quality of Education
——————————-

¶2. (U) In a meeting with Ambassador, USAID Director, Peace Corps
Director, and Public Affairs Officer on September 15, Jesli Lapus,
Secretary of Education, discussed factors contributing to the

SIPDIS
current problems in the Philippine education system. He stated
that the education system was strong until the last decade, when the
government discontinued the National College Entrance Examination
(NCEE). As a result, many students enter the tertiary education
system eager to obtain a college degree but ill-prepared for the
academic requirements. Only two percent of fourth year high school
students are prepared to enter college. Diploma mills have
proliferated, some with abysmal passing rates on professional
licensure examinations. The increased status of college degrees has
created a growing bias against technical and vocational education
and 600,000 technical jobs are currently unfilled. Fourteen percent
of all students are without classrooms and twenty percent are
without desks.

¶3. (SBU) Secretary Lapus cited mismatches in teacher competencies,
as many teachers do not hold degrees in the subjects they are
teaching. Consequently massive re-training of teachers is needed.
Secretary Lapus also expressed concern about the number of long-term

SIPDIS
civil service tenured employees in the Department of Education,
particularly on his staff. He has brought in key staff from Land
Bank of the Philippines, where he was CEO during the 1990s.

——————————————— ———
Initiatives to Improve the Philippine Education System
——————————————— ———

¶4. (U) Secretary Lapus reiterated his previous request for USG
assistance with the school feeding programs and electrification
(Reftel). Ambassador noted that the USDA PL-480 program is
providing limited support for school feeding and would look into
expanding this support. USAID Director also noted that USAID is
providing extensive support for rural electrification. Ambassador
recommended that Peace Corps Volunteers be permitted to work in
full-time teaching and teacher training jobs. The Secretary
identified a point of contact in the Department of Education from
which Peace Corps can receive information and guidance. Ambassador
also highlighted USAID programs in Mindanao, which include providing
television, radio, and computers for teaching science math and
English; pre-employment skills training; providing audiotapes and
books for English language teaching and learning; and supplying
textbooks to schools. Public Affairs Officer also noted that there
are currently two English Language Fellows in the Philippines during
2006-2007, one based at the Department of Education providing
teacher training and curriculum development and one at the
Philippine Normal University teaching future English teachers.

¶5. (U) Lapus said his Department is pursuing private sector support
by revitalizing its “Adopt-a-School” program, originally established
in 1998. This program allows private firms to donate funds and
receive tax incentives of up to 150 percent. The Department has
established packages with price lists, including school buildings,
teacher scholarships, school supplies, computer and science
laboratory equipment, and school feeding programs. Secretary Lapus
secured 600,000 pesos (USD 11,970) from the Rotary Club of Manila
and will be asking the European Chamber of Commerce of the
Philippines to help match companies with schools. Ambassador said
the Embassy would work with the American Chamber of Commerce to
enhance awareness of this program.

¶6. (U) In an innovative effort to improve mastery of the English
language, Secretary Lapus is working with Philippine radio stations
to broadcast the British Broadcasting Company’s “English by Radio”
program. The program teaches English grammar and the Department
intends to provide radios to all schools so students and teachers
can listen to the program. Secretary Lapus also seeks to overcome

MANILA 00003991 002 OF 002

the bias against technical and vocational education by incorporating
dual academic and technical curricula in schools and conferring
technical certificates to graduates.

—————-
Recent Successes
—————-

¶7. (U) Secretary Lapus successfully lobbied the House of
Representatives to add 9.5 billion pesos (USD 183 million) to the
2006 supplemental budget for the Department of Education. Secretary
Lapus reported that the Department’s 2007 budget will include a ten
percent increase. The Chinese government has promised to extend
loans for the construction of 10,000 classrooms, and Secretary Lapus
said he was traveling to China this weekend to attend meetings on
education.

————————————
Comment: A Mover in a Key Department
————————————

¶8. (U) On the heels of his successes as Chairman of the House Ways
and Means Committee, Secretary Lapus has managed to increase funding
for the Department’s budget after less than two months on the job.
He is aggressively pursuing additional private support. Secretary
Lapus still faces the challenges of managing his unwieldy
organization but his actions thus far demonstrate that he has the
potential to make a valuable contribution in education.

KENNEY

   

 

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