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World Bank apologizes for Philippine education report

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Jul 09, 2021 2:35 pm

The World Bank has issued an apology to the Philippine government, Thursday, July 8, over its education report, saying it was “inadvertently published earlier than scheduled.”

In a statement, the financial institution acknowledged that its report was released without any inputs from the Department of Education (DepEd).

“We deeply regret that the report on education was inadvertently published earlier than scheduled and before the Department of Education had enough chance to provide inputs,” the multilateral lending institution said in the statement.

“This was an oversight on our part, and we conveyed our personal apologies in our communication with the government.”

The World Bank said it has temporarily removed the said education report from its website.

“We are aware of the Department’s various efforts and programs to address the challenge of education quality,” it added.

The World Bank also stated that it has reached out to Education Secretary Leonor Briones and “look forward to continuing our dialogue with the Department of Education on the opportunities and challenges in the education sector."

The World Bank’s apology came after DepEd demanded the financial institution to apologize over the June 28 report titled “Improving Student Learning Outcomes and Well-Being in the Philippines: What are International Assessments Telling Us? (Vol.2),” which stated that 80% of Filipino schoolchildren rank below the minimum proficiency levels. The report showed that among 79 countries, the Philippines was last in reading and second to last in mathematics and science.

“The country was insulted, was shamed, we expect and look forward to a public apology from the World Bank,” said Secretary Briones on Monday, July 5, adding that the assessment was outdated.”

The Department of Finance backed the call for World Bank’s apology and said the “outdated findings” has already been addressed through amelioration programs provided by the financial institution, among others, since 2019.

In a letter sent by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to World Bank Group president David Malpass, he pointed out that the report, which was published more than two years since the assessments were made (2019), “does not reflect current realities” and “has the effect of misleading the public and causing undue reputational risk to the Philippine education sector.”

Banner and thumbnail photo by Michael Varcas/The Philippine STAR