The First Biennial National Congress on Education was held early this year on January 31 to February 1, participated by approximately 400 representatives from the academe, local government units and the industries, with “the strong desire to address prevailing issues and concerns that hinder the Stakeholders from providing the future generation with the appropriate education to maximize their potential. It is in this context that the MAIN EDUCATION HIGHWAY was created. ” Who are the Education Stakeholders? The teachers, students, parents, school board, school superintendents and principals.
What do you mean by the Highway? We see it as a main thoroughfare, well-paved, accident free, durable and lasting to withstand heavy traffic, overloaded vehicles, and even earthquakes. The Highway actually pertains to the harmonization of DepEd, TESDA and CHED with the local government to provide lifelong learning for sustainable development to meet the UNMDG. The 6 areas of education concerns The main speakers of the Congress were President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Education chairmen of the Senate and Congress – Sen.
Allan Peter Cayetano and Marikina Congressman Del de Guzman – with DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus, TESDA Chair Augusto Syjuco, and CHED Commissioner Nona Ricafort. The participants broke up into six workshop groups highlighting the six areas of concern with the Philippine Education:
1. Achieve high quality Basic Education, “dramatically increase student achievement and retention rate”, while implementing innovative programs towards a “zero drop-out rate; 2. Improve basic and tertiary education teachers competencies; 3. Harmonize technical vocational and higher education system; 4. Tighten linkages between higher education and the Professional Regulation Commission to meet the needs of the industry; 5. Harmonize management, regulatory and coordination issues of DepEd, TESDA and CHED; 6. Financial assistance to private education and budgetary appropriations to SUCs.
When EDCOM ’90 recommended the lightening of the load of DECS (Department of Education, Culture and Sports), its major concerns were placed under three agencies – DepEd (Basic Education), TESDA (Technical & Vocational Education) and CHED (Tertiary Education) – in 1994. Today, 14 years later, a growing need as been felt to have a harmonized approach to total educational planning and resource allocation. Moving in spurts and not quite succeeding Seven years ago, for its completion of work, PCER (Presidential Commission on Educational Reform) recommended “to address the perceived ills of the educational system. ” The trifocalization of the educational system established DepEd, TESDA and CHED as recommended by EDCOM ’90, creating the NCCE (National Coordinating Council for Education) to be the main advocate for the implementation of the reform package recommended by PCER.
The Council was supposed to harmonize educational policies and programs as implemented by DepEd for basic education, by TESDA for technical education and skills training, and by CHED for higher education. I quote the EQR (Education Quality and Relevance) Updates, the official publication of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Education (OPAE), “…the NCCE, although active for quite sometime, moved in spurts and did not quite succeed in addressing its expected roles as envisioned by the PCER. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued Executive Order 632 in July 2007 abolishing the NCCE and creating the OPAE (Office of the Presidential Assistant for Education).
After a month, E. O. 652 established the Presidential Task Force for Education (PTFE) to assess, plan and monitor the entire education system. This office provides the professional and technical support to the PTFE. The Task Force has ten members, five from the government (DepEd Secretary Lapus, CHED Chair Neri, TESDA Chair Augusto Syjuco, PRC Chair Dr. Leonor Rosero and PAE Mona Valisno) and five private sector representatives (Ateneo president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, Dr. Emmanuel Angeles, Dr. Jose Abueva, Dr. Victor Limlingan, and Ambassador Donald Dee). They are expected to complete their work within one year from the time of its creation. Management, regulatory and coordination issues of the 3 education agencies The major issue and recommendation is not to reintegrate the three education agencies, but to strengthen their connectivity and coordination.
It is recommended that an ad-hoc body be established to assess the performance of the three agencies and to serve as the quality control arm to insure the quality of inputs and outputs of the education system. Another issue is the “Amendment of the CHED law to include local colleges and universities within its supervisional jurisdiction”. The recommendation includes the revisiting of RA 7160 (Local Government Act of 1991) that limits LGUs to establish educational institutions only to post-secondary level. Under the jurisdiction of CHED, one set of rules, regulation, supervision and standard for establishing SUCs / LCUs should be adopted.
Concerning the need for the public to know the issues, the publication of relevant information on performance indicators of schools, colleges, polytechnic schools and universities was raised. Two recommendations were presented: to develop and adopt a national framework for educational quality assurance and accountability for the education system as basis for publishing relevant information on institution’s performances; and require CHED and PRC to publish institutions’ performances on professional examinations. Can the ‘grand scheme’ for basic education achieve ‘zero drop-out rate’?
The major recommendation to achieve the above is to transfer from DSWD to DepEd the general supervision of Day Care Centers. To meet the February and March deadline, a database of existing DSWD barangay day care centers is needed, including the list of their supporters. (NOTHING was mentioned on how quality preschools can be the key to ZERO DROP-OUT RATE. Instead, it pointed to the “critical role” of the principal and local government. The truth is there is no more principalship. Unless a school administrator assists the principal, her role for upgrading quality teaching cannot be met.
The recommendation of a shopping list of school approach with no standards could result in chaotic management. A unified curriculum based on the true nature of ECE learners and elementary and high school students promotes orderly evaluation and monitoring. ) On improving teachers competencies for basic and tertiary education Basic education (preschool, elementary school to high school) cannot be lumped together with tertiary education. Quality education from infancy to adolescence is the foundation of passage to tertiary education.
The Philippine philosophy and psychology of education has been overlooked. Pedagogy and methodology of traditional teachers is still adhered to. Thus, we keep “hitting and missing quality”. I pray that DepEd would respect and use the proven LLSD system that has addressed the motor-oriented nature of preschoolers, the enormous reasoning power of elementary school pupils and the economically gifted and creative high school students who have achieved competence of two years in advance of Filipino children using the traditional system.
Discovering the new children and the new teachers on the main education highway For 40 years, thousands of Filipino parents and teachers have discovered the “new children” in a revolutionary system of education – a totally different system using scientific apparata, universally tested and most loved by students during the whole period of childhood from birth to 18 years old.
Its different curricula suits the four periods of human development. As early as preschool, the three- to five-year olds readily shed off dependency, disorder, laziness, restlessness and become happily focused on work. Today, they all excel in different occupations and careers, while enjoying their families, but most of all they are so likeable and fully committed to lifelong learning and service to others.