Why Is There Illiteracy in the Philippines?

Poverty, lack of schools and facilities, inadequate funds for adult education and even the use of English as a medium for instruction are some of the main reasons why there is illiteracy in the Philippines. The apathetic attitude of illiterate workers and the lack of support of government entities also contribute to the illiteracy rate.

According to UNICEF, the rate of literacy among adults from 2008 to 2012 is 95.4 percent. While it is one of the highest in Asia and in the Pacific Region, more than 4 percent of the remaining population is considered primary illiterate or is unable to read or write. The majority of the illiterates in the Philippines are the indigenous and tribal people who live in remote and upland areas. Generally inhabiting mountainous and isolated regions, the tribal people in the country receive less attention and support from the national government. They lack even the most basic of educational facilities, such as school supplies, books, school buildings and even teachers.

In urban and metropolitan areas, the literacy rate is affected by high dropout rates, low passing grades and inadequate opportunities for the education of individuals with special needs. Poverty is rampant even in the capital, and though primary and secondary education is free and universal, many families among the urban poor sector lack the financial resources to provide for the basic needs of their children. The lack of resources often leads to young children dropping out of school to help their families with their livelihood.