Marayag National High School, despite its remote location, ranked second in the national exams

Marayag National High School, despite its remote location, ranked second in the national exams

For the third straight year, students from the provinces outdid their city counterparts in the National Achievement Test (NAT) for Grade 6 pupils, and education officials are blaming urban congestion and the ubiquitous malls for this.

The 2009 NAT test results showed students in the rural areas received a Mean Percentage Score (MPS) of 66.67 percent while their urban counterparts got 64.15 percent.

“Maybe it’s the congestion and the hazards and pressures of urban living,” said Education Secretary Jesli Lapus.

In 2007, students from the provinces got an MPS of 60.81 percent while those in the urban areas got 59.48.

In 2008, rural students again topped the test with a 65.52 MPS while urban students got only 64.43.

This year, the MPS of urban students even dipped 0.28 percent compared to 2008.

Must read: Asian Development Bank on why rural students did better than their urban counterparts.

Some 1.76 million pupils from 31,196 public and 2,386 private elementary schools (only 31.8 percent of private schools) nationwide took the test this year.

The NAT is given annually to determine the achievement level, strengths and weaknesses in key subjects of sixth grade students. It covers English, Science, Math, Filipino and Hekasi with 40 test questions each for a total of 200 test items.

Overall, the MPS this year was 66.33 percent, or 11.67 points (21.36 percent) higher than the 2006 MPS of 54.66.

“There are many distractions for our children (in the cities), unlike in the rural areas where there is quiet. They have no malls or other gimmicks,” said Undersecretary Vilma Labrador.

“That is the advantage of children from the provinces and they appreciate that,” she added.

Top scoring schools in this year’s NATs were in the provinces: A.G. Llamas Elementary School (Bataan), Ibaan Central School (Batangas), Milagrosa West Elementary School (Cavite), Facundo Angeles Memorial Elementary School (Bataan), Ilajas Elementary School (Iloilo), and Bagong Tubig Elementary School (Cavite).

“Bagong Tubig (which topped the category of 19 examinees or less) is located in a very remote area near Tagaytay,” Lapus said.

In the medium-sized school division level, students from Bataan got the highest scores in all five exam subjects.

Lapus said the “most improved” region was Iloilo with its MPS rising by “31 percent.”

“The local executives, I’m sure, are going to fete their DepEd (officials). Bataan is overjoyed by this,” he said.

Lapus also said teachers from private schools in the provinces were transferring to the public schools because of the higher pay.

“Why is that?” he said. “The salary grade of public school teachers is better because it’s the same for the provinces and the cities.”

“For private schools, they have regional wage boards and different regions have different minimum wages. Of course, this does not mean the salaries of public school teachers are excessive. No, it’s still not enough,” he said. — Philippine Daily Inquirer