The government’s chief economic manager has backed the Department of Education (DepEd) in calling for the World Bank to issue a public apology over its outdated findings about the state of the Philippines’ education sector.

In a statement on Thursday, July 8, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III raised the World Bank’s “lack of professionalism” by publishing a report containing outdated findings that already been addressed since two-years.

Last June 29, the World Bank released on its website the 2019 report titled “Improving Student Learning Outcomes and Well-Being in the Philippines: What Are International Assessments Telling Us? (Vol.2): Synthesis Report Presentation.”

The report stated that in the Philippines, “more than 80 percent of children do not know what they should know.” It also noted that poor performance is deeply rooted in students’ limited proficiency in the languages in which schooling takes place,

Moreover, the World Bank said “there is an unacceptably poor school climate, with high levels of bullying” in the country.

But Dominguez censured the World Bank report that was released two-years after the assessments were made. “[It] does not reflect current realities.”

The outdated findings have already been addressed by the DepEd and the Philippines’ development partners, the World Bank included through various amelioration programs since 2019, Dominguez explained.

“Thus, publishing the Report at present is quite curious as it does not reflect current realities and may be wrongfully used to tarnish the image of the DepEd and the entire National Government,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez wrote a letter to World Bank Group President David Malpass, saying the report has misled the public and caused “undue reputational risk to the Philippine education sector.”

He added that World Bank failed to follow the standard procedure of consulting DepEd officials about its findings before the publication of its report.

“The failure of Bank officials to follow the protocol of consulting with the DepEd prior to publication further illustrates the lack of professionalism which we come to expect from the World Bank and its staff,” Dominguez said.

“Such a Report should be taken out from the Bank’s website as not to further mislead the public. We also believe that a public apology to the DepEd and the National Government is in order,” he added.

In the future, the Philippines expects the bank “to observe responsible reporting and adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct,” Dominguez said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (