PASIG CITY, October 28, 2016 – Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones recently emphasized the necessity of international cooperation in the Philippines’ bid to modernize the education system without leaving any potential learner behind.
Attending the 6th APEC Education Ministerial Meeting in Lima, Peru, the Education chief focused her discussion on Priority Action 3 of the APEC Education Strategy, or the Modernization of Education Systems.
“As a country where our basic family unit and society value education very highly, we are well aware of how essential international cooperation is in meeting our responsibility to deliver quality, accessible, relevant and liberating education for all,” Briones told her foreign counterparts.
In sharing the country’s experience in transitioning to a modernized education system, Briones noted that with a student population of over 25 million and 722,000 teachers, the Philippines is among the many economies that are still catching up to secure inclusive and quality education.
The DepEd head presented six action points being undertaken by the Department to address the challenges continuously faced by Philippine basic education. First, according to Briones, legislation can play a crucial role in ensuring the adoption of reforms to modernize education system.
“Keeping legislators abreast with the most recent developments in education guarantees the agency of its ability to deploy legislation as a key tool in lending a degree of stability and institutionalizing reforms,” Briones said.
Second action point is to work hand-in-hand with multiple stakeholders outside the government to boost and mobilize innovative financing strategies. Currently, DepEd employs public-private partnerships (PPP), such as Education Service Contracting (ESC), Senior High School (SHS) Voucher Program, and Brigada Eskwela.
Apart from securing financial resources for the modernization of the education system, implementing agencies are also required to improve their absorptive capacity to use the resources efficiently and on time. As a third action point, according to Briones, delays in program and budget execution will be stemmed by instituting management and financial reforms through planning, real-time management information system, and monitoring and evaluation.
The fourth action point centered on the challenges and competencies of the 21st century, which require ceaseless learning. In this regard, Briones highlighted the crucial role of international cooperation in the continuous research, education and training of teachers, multi-source feedback mechanisms, and exchange of best practices. “Modernizing education systems requires continuous upgrading of both content and delivery of teaching and learning, making full and creative use of technology in the digital age, while ensuring that such modernized education systems are able to reach every potential child, youth, and adult learner excluded by economic, social, political, geographical, and physical barriers,” Briones maintained.
Briones also brought the country’s commitment to expand and enhance the Alternative Learning System (ALS) to international attention. In her fifth action point, the Department secretary pointed out that modernization of the education system must not and will not be at the expense of four million out-of-school children and youth, and a significant section of the labor force who have not completed basic education. The challenge, therefore, is to provide mechanisms for equivalencies and international recognition for ALS beneficiaries.
Sixth, in modernizing education system, Briones underscored that there is a need to experiment and be open to new pathways to innovation in teaching delivery and content.
“K to 12 is not about simply adding school years to basic education to be at par with international norm, but more about the content and the intended outcomes in terms of upgrading education quality. . . Even as we foster responsiveness to the exigencies of a globalizing economy, modernization of education must be relevant to the most urgent needs at the national level,” Briones said in closing.