The Philippine Constitution upholds the right of all Filipinos to quality basic education and mandates “a complete, adequate, and integrated system of education, relevant to the needs of the people and the society.” It encourages non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning systems as well as self-learning, independent, and out-of-school-youth study programs, particularly those that respond to community needs.
Despite the importance placed on education in the country, a high percentage of children and youth especially in Mindanao stay out of school or enroll in school only to later drop out before completing elementary or secondary education. The Department of Education (DepEd) reported that of 100 children who entered Grade 1 in June 1995, no more than 66 graduated from Grade 6. Of the 66 elementary school graduates, only 58 entered high school and only 43 of the original 100 cohort completed secondary education.
The objectives of the study were to better understand and help resolve the
overall dismal state of basic education in Mindanao particularly in the ARMM region. This policy research was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Education Quality and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills (EQuALLS) Project and is part of the broader strategy of the Education and Livelihood Skills (ELSA) Alliance. The study examined the access barriers to quality basic education as experienced by the Muslim learners themselves.