RANDOM THOUGHTS | Attention Education Reform Program | Department of Education

“EDUCATION is essential to our life as a nation. It’s a truism that supports endless repetition. It is recognized by the education provisions in the Constitution. With the exception of the provision on free secondary education, however, these constitutional mandates have yet to be translated into action. (Congress Commission…on Philippine Education, 1989)

Without a doubt, our greatest resource is our people. Therefore, through the education of our people, the development of our greatest resource must be our top priority. Unfortunately, the apparent deterioration in the quality of our education system “confirms our worst fears for the spirit of our nation”. Obviously, “the spirit of our nation (is) in danger”.

Our new Vice President Sara Duterte Carpio has been named as our new Education Secretary. This is undoubtedly a very difficult task. Based on our experience in raising our four children, we focused more on their basic education from kindergarten to elementary school. Of course, we made sure that their skills in reading (with comprehension), writing, science and arithmetic, including good manners and good behavior, were properly taken into account. To their advantage, English was then our language at home.

So, in my mind, to improve the quality of our education system, we need to focus on reforming our basic education. In addition, the retraining of our basic education teachers, including the improvement of our school facilities, must also be supported.

Our biggest problem with our basic education is our population explosion. “The battle daming sa Pilipinas na kailangan pagaralin.” Our school facilities and number of teachers can hardly cope with the explosion in student numbers. Thus, the standard number of 45 students per class is impossible to respect. Additionally, our standard of 75 pass marks has already “gone with the wind”. Per info, “wala na yatang binabagsak sa” elementary schools. What a mess. The heroic work of our primary school teachers seems to be the only compensation in this painful situation.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic! “Grabe and epekto sa ating buhay. Kasama na ang edukasyon of ing mga kabataan.” The challenges to our education system are further compounded, especially for our poor families.

Another “dragon” is approaching the world that will demand more radical reform and upgrading of our education system. This is the next 4e Industrial revolution of artificial intelligence, cyber technology and all you have. Our students will need more advanced and more expensive gadgets to meet the demands of the times. Therefore, the leaders of our various institutions must deploy their creative and innovative imagination to effectively address these challenges. How can our education system “surf the wave of global change” so to speak.

These are just a few of the difficult, complex and compelling issues and problems facing our new Education Secretary which will surely test her abilities. As sure as the sun rises in the east, huge funding will be needed to succeed. The new administration must find new sources of money to fund honest education reform. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why our new President – ​​Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has appointed none less than our new Vice President to take on this very challenging task.

Here is a summary of my humble suggestions on education reform:

  1. Invest more in our education.
  2. Partnership with the private sector, especially large companies.
  3. Get ready for the next 4e Industrial revolution and introducing pandemic solutions.
  4. Focus more on our basic education – from kindergarten to primary and secondary.
  5. Offer more scholarships to our talented young people.
  6. Introduce alternative ways of learning for illiterates.
  7. Review and improve our K-12 education system.
  8. Expand and enrich technical skills training.
  9. Develop deworming and nutrition programs.
  10. Build more and better school facilities.
  11. Ensuring that only the best and most qualified professionals become teachers and administrators – providing more attractive rewards for teaching as a career.
  12. Manage the growing population more effectively.
  13. Review and improve our Philippines story for truth’s sake. The crucial role of our Muslim Filipinos and indigenous peoples in nation building must be properly taught.

It should be noted that some of the above suggestions have been reiterated from the previous Congressional program for educational reform.

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