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Figure -1: PPA Targets for Simple and Functional Literacy
Table -1: National and Regional Targets for UQPE
Estimates of resource requirements prepared by the EFA planners showed that 8.6 billion pesos was needed to implement EFA during the 10-year plan period. Of this, 8.3 billion or 95.9 percent was intended for national and region-based projects and 300 million pesos or 4.1 percent was earmarked for the establishment and support of the EFA management machinery. On the average, EFA implementation was to have cost approximately 951 million per year. Table I-8 below shows the details of the EFA investment programme.
Table -2: 10-Year Philippine EFA Budget Estimate
Costs by Component
The distribution of the total expected cost among the EFA components are shown in Table I-9 below. As planned, ECD projects were to have gotten the largest share of the EFA budget at 4.2 billion pesos or 50.8 percent, owing to enormous costs of the needed institution building and because of the large number of region-based ECD projects. Surprisingly, only 10.7 percent of the total estimated cost was programmed for UPE, in spite of the serious problems in internal efficiency and learning outcomes. Programmes for eradicating illiteracy and improving functional skills were allocated 22.2 percent consistent with the strategic importance placed by the EFA movement the evolution of alternative learning systems. Integrated programmes, which were to cut across two or more EFA components, were earmarked 16.3 percent of the total budget (also see Chart I-10 below).
Table -3: Estimated Component Costs of the Philippine EFA
Figure -2: Distribution of Philippine EFA Costs by Component
The Philippine EFA Strategy
The foregoing background of the state of primary education and EFA targets thus provided the framework for the formulation of the Philippine EFA strategy. The strategy aimed to ensure that there would be universal basic education of appropriate standards by addressing the access, equity, quality, relevance and sustainability concerns relative to the flow of students into and within the system. Special attention was to be focused on particular target groups. EFA efforts were to be directed towards bringing basic education to the rural poor, the urban slums, cultural communities, refugees, women, the disabled, and other educationally disadvantaged groups.
Under the PPA, EFA was operationalised as providing elementary education (Grades 1 to 6) for all Filipinos by the year 2000. Education sector and non-education agencies were to jointly implement the EFA programme, whose primary goal was to meet basic learning needs, which consist of the basic learning tools and basic learning contents. The first include literacy, numeracy, problem solving and oral expression while the second include knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary for people to survive, to improve the quality of their lives and to continue learning. In furtherance of the main EFA strategy, four major interventions were to be undertaken, i.e., (i) institutionalisation of early childhood care and development, (ii) provision of universal quality primary education; (iii) eradication of illiteracy; and (iv) continuing educational development for adults and out-of-school youth, that subsumed the six target dimensions defined in UNESCOs Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs.
Access to early childhood care and development services was to be expanded not just for its child custodial, socialisation and values formation functions but also as a fundamental anti-poverty input that would improve the internal efficiency of elementary education. With broadened ECCD provision, future elementary school entrants would be equipped with the learning skills and get the needed health-nutrition services crucial to their survival in schools. Those who take care of pre-school children, i.e., the parents, surrogate parents and guardians, were likewise to be accorded attention through relevant training programmes that would enhance their knowledge of and skills in rearing children in preparation for future schooling.
Educational authorities were to assure those already in school stayed there and were provided good quality educational inputs, primarily through curriculum reform and teacher development. The achievement levels that were to be raised encompass the development of creativity, critical thinking and functionality. In recognition of resource differences, compensatory provision of educational inputs was to be resorted to primarily with non-traditional methods for delivering basic education. This was intended to promote equity and ensuring the maximised participation of under-served groups.
For those outside of the educational mainstream, such as non-literate, semi-literate adults and out-of-school youths, broader access to the alternative learning systems was to be ensured to provide them functional literacy skills and continuing education for development (CED). The ALS was equally meant to serve developmental functions: through it learners would go on learning towards the development of a learning society, the scope of choices of learners in acquiring education would be widened, certain inherent inadequacies and limitations of the school system would be addressed and the way for the so-called borderless or "open" learning would be smoothly paved.
All the above thrusts were to have been implemented through a closely linked multi-sectoral approach to education that was to be promoted in a "grand alliance" scheme among all the public and private sector EFA participants.
One single accomplishment that the Philippines could be noted for in the implementation of the EFA programme concerns the decisive moves it took that in their totality internalised the EFA vision. During the decade of the 1990s, the Philippines saw a number of interrelated developments that created an environment highly favourable to the pursuit of the ideals of education for all. A chronological recollection reveals a series of events that had deep-reaching impacts on the orientation and structure of basic education and its delivery mechanisms. The Philippines succeeded in establishing an EFA orientation that extends beyond the EFA plan period and well into the next millennium.
The Philippine Plan of Action
The first, of course, was the completion of the Philippine Plan of Action (PPA) for EFA. The PPA was the culmination of arduous work that started with the preparation of the EFA Framework in 1989 and the subsequent issuance, in October 16th of the same year, of Presidential Proclamation No. 480. This Proclamation, aside from declaring the period 1990 to 1999 as the "Decade of Education for All," also directed the preparation of the national action plan and the initiation of a legislative agenda in support of EFA. In 1990, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) endorsed the framework that later evolved to become the PPA. A year later, in June 1991, the Government released the PPA with the President of the Philippines approval. This plan was subsequently considered a model for other countries and was noted for its being a "well-designed and comprehensive document that specified national goals, objectives, policies and strategies as well as regional programmes for implementation."
Enlarged Role of Local Governments
In 1991, the Local Government Code (LGC) was enacted. This law provided the local government units (LGUs) greater resources to support elementary and secondary education. The LGC has empowered the LGUs with more autonomy and spending power primarily through their Internal Revenue Allotments (IRAs) and their greater authority for resource generation and mobilisation. In addition, among the central government functions slated for devolution to the LGUs is school building construction and maintenance. Thus, the local governments are increasingly providing educational inputs like books, classroom furniture and additional teachers, reducing the financial pressure on the central government. Local governments participate in the operation of the educational system through their respective local school boards. Republic Act No. 5447, enacted in 1968, and Section 98 of the 1991 Local Government Code are the legal bases for the existence of school boards in every province, city and municipality. A local school boards overriding task is to administer the special education fund with the aim of upgrading standards in the public schools. It is inherent in the boards charter, and therefore incumbent upon them to give priority to: a) construction, repair and maintenance of school buildings and other facilities of public elementary and secondary schools; b) establishment and maintenance of extension classes where necessary; and c) sports activities at the division, district, municipal and barangay levels. However, more than the enhanced capacity to spend on education, the biggest contribution of the LGC could very well be that it has brought the direction of education closer to the stakeholders, and with it, the greater responsibility that they now have over their respective communities educational future.
The LGC likewise mandated the devolution of many social sector services to the LGUs. The maintenance of public day care services, once the responsibility of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the implementation of health services formerly run by the Department of Health were transferred to the LGUs. These developments had two major but conflicting implications; the first is that closer community control and management could have resulted in better services to the clients and the second is that the provision of such services would have suffered from wide variations among localities in terms of the intensity and quality of inputs.
Enhanced Child Development Policies
Before the EFA decade, there were already extant laws that provided unambiguous support for child development as opposed to just child survival. The Child and Youth Welfare Code, promulgated by virtue of Presidential Decree 603 prior to 1984 established childrens basic rights to adequate food, shelter, clothing and protection and unequivocally ensured the childs right to a well-rounded personality development to the end that he may become a happy, useful and active member of society. In addition to this, the 1987 Barangay Level Total Development and Protection of Children Act obliged the Department of Social Welfare and Development to provide funds for establishing and maintaining day care centres. Then in 1990, the Philippines signed the International Convention of the Rights of the Child. In support of its obligations under that convention, the Council for the Welfare of Children produced the Philippine Plan of Action for Children (PPAC), which details the countrys commitment to extending the coverage, and improving the quality, of the full range of programmes affecting child development. At about the same time, the National Nutrition Council, an arm of the Department of Agriculture, laid down the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN). This plan set out the policy framework for nutrition that could lead to the virtual elimination of vitamin and mineral deficiencies among children. Lastly, in 1995, the Philippine Congress passed the Act to Promote Iodisation Nationwide, which could result in the elimination of iodine deficiency and goiter among children.
DECS Focus on Basic Education
In 1994, the Government decided to restructure the education sector in line with the recommendations of the Congressional Education Commission (EDCOM). This resulted, inter alia, in the specialisation by level of education of the major governmental agencies responsible for the provision of education and training. The Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) was made to focus on elementary and secondary education. Pursuant to its new mandate, the DECS endeavoured to prepare a 10-year (1996-2005) Master Plan for Basic Education (MPBE) to guide the future direction of the sub-sector, adopting the EFA programme as its centrepiece. By doing so, the Philippines embraced all the fundamental elements of EFA, from its four basic thrusts to the broad strategies meant to shape the expanded vision of basic education, and translated them into national educational performance goals. The Philippines had therefore carried its EFA Plan of Action much farther ahead. For while it was committed to seeing through the EFA programme up to the end of the century, it had nonetheless seen fit to still extend this commitment into the future. Although the expression of this commitment was constrained by the timeframe limitations of rational long-term planning, the spirit of support for EFA had been stamped indelibly and irretrievably. Because of the interweaving of the EFA objectives within the broader MPBE, subsequent policies, programmes and projects were then consciously formulated against the backdrop of EFA objectives. The Philippines commitment to EFA had thus become much more intensive than was originally planned.
The implementation of EFA in the Philippines has undergone an evolution or process of change that could be discerned in two distinct stages. In roughly its first three years (1991-1993), EFA was executed within the context of the DECS organisation prior to its restructuring in 1994. At that time the DECS had the responsibility for all levels and types of education, i.e., from elementary to tertiary, including vocational training. Since EFA is primarily a concern of primary or basic education (defined here within the formal Philippine structure as elementary education) and non-formal education, it was thought then that there was justification and actual need for specialised organisational units and processes to handle EFA as a specific concern. Thus, the policy and management structures that were planned under the PPA were brought into fruition and operationalised albeit only for a limited period. This was because beginning in 1994, reforms within the education sector brought about by the legislation of the EDCOM recommendations resulted in DECS concentration in elementary, secondary and non-formal education. The completion of the MPBE and its release in 1995 to serve as the guide for DECS future directions therefore ushered in the second stage of the EFA evolution. The findings and recommendations of this assessment may well pave the way for the third stage.
The Philippines MPBE was in reality built upon, and is an expanded version of EFAs education components. In a sense then, the DECS believes that it had virtually become EFA and vice-versa, at least in so far as universal quality primary education (UQPE) was concerned. It absorbed the four basic thrusts of EFA as the fundamental anchors of its mainline programmes and harnessed the entire resources of the DECS behind them. The MPBE established some new targets that reflected numerical goals that were more realistic and implicitly lengthened the EFA programmes implementation from 10 years to 15 years. This change is conceivably a welcome one in view of the obvious hiatus in EFA implementation that transpired during 1993-94. It was a crucial period that saw the DECS busy struggling with the onslaught of dismemberment on one hand and seeking ways to adapt to the inevitable transformation of its mandates on the other.
One other profound change in the countrys EFA programme was the organisational restructuring affecting EFA implementation mechanisms. As a natural consequence of the mainstreaming of the EFA programme, extraneous and ad hoc organisational overlays that were meant to aid in pushing the PPA were deemed superfluous. Instead, long-established and permanent mechanisms and structures were relied on to avoid the paralysis normally associated with temporary committees. For instance, the EFA PPA called for the operation of a National Committee for EFA (NCEFA) and Regional EFA Committees (RCEFAs) for purposes of inter-sectoral and inter-agency co-ordination. However, subsequent EFA-related actions, being subsumed as they already were starting in 1995 under the MPBE, were instead coursed through the Social Development Committee of the NEDA and the Regional Development Councils, which carry membership rosters very similar to the NCEFA and the RCEFAs. Other specialised units established as called for by the PPA, such as the National Technical Secretariat (NTS) and the central and local project management teams, were likewise rendered unnecessary because EFA ceased to be a mere project like the myriad ones previously and currently implemented by the DECS. In fact, it became the basic objective of all activities within the Department. Through the MPBE, EFA had been inextricably embedded within the DECS fabric, and had become the overriding responsibility of all its units.
The evolution of the Philippine EFA can be considered as an exemplar in vision assimilation and organisational adaptation. The concentration of the DECS on elementary, secondary and non-formal education and the birth of the MPBE had blurred the lines initially drawn between EFA UQPE literacy components and the regular activities of the DECS. EFA had transmutated from a distinct and special programme into an EFA that has become the overarching philosophy and integral strategy of basic education.
Expansion of Self-sustaining Community-based ECCD
During the EFA decade, various community-based ECCD interventions were intensified and expanded with the end in view of reaching out to the remote and less privileged communities. These include, among others, the establishment of community-based pre-schools, day care centres, and barangay health stations as well as the training of parent volunteers for home-based ECCD, midwives and barangay health workers. This development partly but significantly resulted from the governments ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in July 1990 and its endorsement of the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children during the during the 1990 World Summit for Children. As its commitment to the World Summit, the Philippine government formulated and adopted the Philippine Plan of Action for Children (PPAC), which has become the basis for subsequent policies, programs and activities related to children. Significantly, the EFA Plan of Action, among others, served as a major input into the PPAC formulation.
Moreover, the Ramos Administrations Social Reform Agenda (SRA) provided an added impetus and a geographical focus to the delivery of the various ECCD services, thereby ensuring that the poorest provinces of the country were reached. The Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS), the flagship program of DSWD under the SRA that was launched in 1994, provided basic services, including ECCD, to the most needy barangays.
The devolution of basic social services in 1992 in the light of the Local Government Code brought the management of the above-mentioned programs closer to the communities. In connection with this, capability-building, social mobilisation and advocacy to the LGUs have been intensified to ensure that priority is given to the delivery of basic social services. The UNICEF-assisted Fourth Country Programme for Children (CPC IV), which consists of various community-based social services, including ECCD, was designed.
The concept of day care services was originally started as feeding centres through the now abolished Bureau of Agricultural Extension, to which mental feeding was added. Large-scale expansion of the public day care system started only after the passage of the 1978 Barangay Day Care Law. There are also privately-run day care centres that are operated through NGOs and private entrepreneurs. The DSWD used to provide for the public day care centres, but after the devolution mandated under the Local Government Code of 1991, the responsibility has been placed in LGU hands. Government centres are designed to accommodate 30 children at a time, such that when morning and afternoon sessions are run, the total capacity is supposed to be 60. However, most of these centres operate at far less than full capacity. There has also been a modest breakthrough in the provision of day care services by factories for their female employees. In addition to the community-based centres, there are also centres located in the different government offices and government-owned and controlled corporations. To date, there are 20 of such offices and corporations both in the central and regional offices operating day care centres for their employees.
Use of Innovative Approaches to Parent Education
This is a parent education programme that was implemented by the DSWD since 1972, but which was transferred to the LGUs by virtue of the devolution of central government functions. Since 1979, within the GOP-UNICEF CPC IV, PES has been the major component of the home-based parent education programme. It provides parents with child development information.
The present World Bank-assisted Early Childhood Development Project (1998-2003) seeks to upgrade the PES program through the introduction of a Mother and Child book, which provides a permanent record of child growth and development from birth to his sixth birthday, and reproduction and distribution of an updated version of a parents manual on early child development. Further upgrading of the PES will also be carried out in the context of LGU sub-projects.
While PES efforts had been concentrated in the past on mothers, a recent addition to this intervention is the (Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Parental Abilities) ERPAT, which is focused on the training of fathers so that they could fully appreciate their roles in child rearing. This initiative is currently being piloted in Regions V, VI and X.
Promotion of Preparatory Education
This program was launched in 1993 and initially implemented in the 20 priority divisions for Countryside Development Programmes. It aims to provide 5-year-old children in the disadvantaged areas the stimulating experiences required to develop their social, motor and readiness skills, so that they would be prepared for socialisation before starting Grade I work. The programme is now on its 6th year of implementation.
As far back as 1971, DECS had already issued a policy document encouraging the school divisions to establish public preschool classes whenever possible. In January 1995, DECS conducted a survey to assess the preschools and one of the conclusions was that the Government could not afford to provide this service in all divisions. Thus, in March of the same year, DECS issued a statement on early childhood education that affirmed the importance of pre-schooling but also stated that preschools should be developed by the community to provide early childhood development experiences for 5-year old children before they enter Grade 1. Thus, the concept of community-based non-profit preschools, to be established through a collective partnership that includes DECS, NGOs and LGUs is being promoted.
Another alternative developed by DECS is the integration of ECD into Grade 1. This project is being implemented by the Bureau of Elementary Education (BEE). It started as a summer school experiment in 1991, consisting of a six-week programme for children 6.5 to 7 years of age. An evaluation of the programme showed that the dropout rate for summer preschool attendees was only 1 percent compared to the 15 percent among those who had no summer preschool exposure. Because of the positive results, DECS decided to continue this activity, but not during the summer considering the difficulty of getting teachers to teach and children to attend during the summer. Thus, DECS now has an 8-week programme (6 weeks of pre-schooling plus 2 weeks of transition) that is introduced during the initial 2 months of Grade 1. The ongoing World Bank-assisted Early Childhood Development Project (1998-2003) will finance the refinement and finalisation of the 8-week module and the modified Grade 1 curriculum containing it; design, production, printing and distribution of related teaching materials; and in-service training of teachers.
DECS initiated the Pre-school Service Contracting Scheme as an alternative delivery system. In 1997, pre-school classes were organised in the 5th and 6th class municipalities, urban poor and resettlement areas (for those affected by natural calamities and armed conflict) through service contracting. Service providers are NGOs, private schools, LGUs and PTCAs. The general arrangement is that DECS will pay P250 per child per month for 6 months while the service providers will organise classes with 20-25 pupils per class as well as provide the salary of qualified teachers, school/classroom facilities, adequate instructional materials and basic school supplies. Funding comes from the DECS regular budget supplemented by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) from funds raised through the sale of military camps.
In school year 1995-96, DECS lowered the entry age for Grade I to six and a half years and subsequently to six years the following school year. To give itself time to plan effectively for teaching assignments, classrooms and textbooks, DECS, through Order No. 65, s. 1994, instituted the National School Enrolment Day (NSED) for children who shall have reached the age of six and a half (later reduced to six years) by the beginning of the school year. Beginning in January 30, 1995, the NSED has been held on the last Monday of January of every year.
Accreditation of Private Preschool Programmes and Institutions
Another important provider of preschools and kindergartens is the entrepreneurial side of the private sector (as contrasted with the essentially non-profit NGOs). These schools cater mostly to children of affluent families who understand the value of preschool education and are therefore not generally accessible to those most in need. A development related to this is that in 1989, DECS issued standards for the organisation and operation of pre-schools particularly with regard to the curriculum, staff requirements and physical environment. This was in response to the observed proliferation of pre-school curricular offerings and the increasing tendency of pre-schools then to focus on academic development rather than to cater to the needs of the child for his total development.
Differentiated Approaches for Special Categories of Children
The Philippine commitment to protect and promote the rights of children has been manifested through the passage in 1991 of Republic Act 7610, the Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, its amendments through Republic Act 7658, and their corresponding rules and regulations. R.A. 7610 calls for, among others, the protection, survival and development of children of indigenous cultural communities consistent with their customs and traditions. The DECS is also enjoined to develop and institute an alternative system of education for children of indigenous communities, which is culture-specific and relevant to the needs and existing situation in their communities. Moreover, the law provides that the delivery of basic services in health and nutrition be given priority by all concerned government agencies, giving due respect and recognition to the health practices, beliefs and customs of such communities.
R.A. 7610 seeks to ensure the survival and protection of children in situations with on-going armed hostilities. The CSAC component of the UNICEF Country Programme for Children (CPC) ensures the delivery of basic services, provides physical and psychological recovery services, and protects and promotes the rights of children in situations of armed conflict. Among the activities undertaken under the program includes training of day care workers on ECCD and psychosocial interventions; production and distribution of kits on early childhood enrichment programme; conduct of parent effectiveness seminars; training of community health volunteers; health and nutrition classes for mothers; training on critical incident stress debriefing for parents and care givers; and provision of safe water and sanitary facilities.
The Special Education Programme (SPED) of DECS was expanded to include the handicapped and gifted children in the 20 SRA provinces. A survey of school-age children with special needs was conducted in the school divisions of Luzon. The survey showed that 11.6 percent of the population in the Luzon area had special needs.
Strengthening of Health, Nutrition and Other Allied Services
The CIDSS was launched in 1994 to be the governments flagship program under the SRA to respond to the unmet minimum basic needs (MBN) of poor families and communities nation-wide. CIDSS is a convergence of social welfare, health, education, early childhood care and development, and other basic services based on MBN. As of June 1998, the program has put up 1,089 day care centres nation-wide.
In response to survey results indicating a high incidence of malnutrition, dental and respiratory illnesses among elementary pupils, the DECS intensified its health and nutrition campaign in the schools since 1995. Physical and dental examinations were conducted among elementary pupils, including Grade I entrants. De-worming of Grade I pupils in selected schools in NCR and SRA provinces is now annually conducted during National School De-worming Day. The School Feeding Program was also revitalised.
In addition to the above, the DECS initiated the annual Search for the Outstanding School Implementor in the Integrated School Health and Nutrition Programme as a mechanism to enhance the campaign on the School-Based Integrated Health and Nutrition Programme.
One of the innovative project components of the EFA programme in the Philippines is the Teacher-Child-Parent (TCP) Approach to strengthen health and nutrition education at the elementary level. Its selection was based mainly on the multivariate analysis of the pilot implementation in the ABCSDP areas and the 13 other criteria set by EFA. While in traditional teaching, relevant information are disseminated only to the child, the TCP approach ensures that the concepts learned by the child are relayed to the parents. Learning is reinforced by activities in school and at home, thus promoting congruency in the values learned by the child in the school and what is practiced by parents at home.
Inter-agency collaboration, specifically among DECS, DSWD and DOH as well as the LGUs, in the delivery of ECCD services is further enhanced through the ECD Project, which is currently being implemented in Regions VI, VII and XII. The ECDP is a 6-year national plan covering the period 1998-2003, which outlines the broad policy direction to be pursued by the government for Filipino children from 0-6 years old. The project was formulated by an inter-agency steering committee and technical working group composed of representatives from the DECS, DSWD and the DOH. DOH takes care of the health and nutrition concerns, DSWD the psycho-social development of children from 3-6 years old, and DECS provides early childhood educational experiences to 6 year-olds through the Integration of Early Childhood Experiences in Grade 1 initiative. This is a programme wherein school experiences are provided during the eight weeks of the school year. Grade 1 pupils undergo varied stimulating activities that develop their social, motor and readiness skills before formally starting Grade 1 work. The project was established in 1995-1996 because of the lowering of the Grade 1 entry-age to 6 years.
Socio-Cultural Adaptation of Curriculum, Materials & Approaches
As mentioned previously, R.A. 7610 tasks DECS to develop and institute an alternative system of education for children of indigenous communities, which is culture-specific and is relevant to the needs and existing situation in their communities. The rules and regulations concerning children of indigenous cultural communities also provide that, whenever practicable, the dialect of the community be used as the medium of instruction.
A special project has been initiated for the development of prototype ECCD materials that are culturally sensitive and appropriate to their clienteles beliefs and practices. In particular, the development of a module entitled "Home to School Transition for Children of Cultural Communities: Aeta Maternal and Early Childhood Development" has been undertaken.
Single Agency to Co-ordinate Programs for ECCD
The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) created in 1974 and headed by the DSWD Secretary, is the governments premier agency for childrens protection, welfare and development. CWC is responsible for co-ordinating and monitoring the implementation of all laws and programs for children, including the Philippine Plan for Action for Children in the 90s (PPAC). There is at present a pending Senate bill on ECCD that aims at strengthening the CWC to function as the National ECCD Co-ordinating Council.
Enhancing the Holding Power of Schools
In support of this policy, DECS issued a number of directives to intensively undertake specific interventions aimed at increasing the holding power of schools.
In addition, DECS implemented the Dropout Intervention Program (DIP), which includes the provision of multi-level learning materials, parent-teacher partnership, school feeding, and provision of school supplies for selected pupil beneficiaries. DIP was piloted in SY 1990-1992 in 30 schools in Regions IV, V, VI, VIII and XII. In later years, the program was expanded to cover more schools and regions. Priority was given to provinces identified under the Social Reform Agenda (SRA). Grade I children in disadvantaged schools with high dropout rates benefited from the breakfast feeding component of the program.
Using Alternative Teaching-Learning Delivery Modes
The government has implemented and institutionalised alternative modes of delivering elementary education. Most notable among these is the establishment of multi-grade classes combined with mobile teaching. Multi-grade (MG) classes consist of 30 to 40 pupils of two or more grade levels handled by one teacher. In 1994, DECS, with funding assistance from UNICEF trained national and regional on MG Instruction as its initial step to institutionalise the programme.
The UNDP-assisted Pupil Learning Enhancement Program undertakes direct support to multi-grade classes through the provision of supplementary pupil learning materials and encourages community support to the program. The project is focused on 4 selected provinces: Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur, North Cotabato, and Negros Oriental.
A Multi-grade Demonstration School Project (MDSP) has been established to improve the overall performance of MG schools through the training of teachers and school officials and the provision of textbooks and instructional materials.
To further ensure the institutionalisation of the MG programme DECS issued Department Order No. 96, s. 1997 setting the policies and guidelines in the organisation and operation of multigrade classes. As of 1999, the multigrade teaching programme is being implemented in all regions except the NCR.
Using TV sets to teach science was introduced in the public elementary schools in June 1995 through a program called Sineskwela. Produced by the ABS-CBN Foundation, said show is designed to supplement the elementary science curriculum. Hence, its viewing was made mandatory. Two more TV programs which were started in 1997 are currently being aired over ABS-CBN, namely: Hiraya Manawari, a fairy tale format program that injects values, and Bayani, a show that teaches children the values of nationalism and heroism by recounting the exploits of national heroes. The Continuing Science Education via Television (CONSTEL) was also launched in 1995 to boost the development of science awareness among Filipinos. DECS Order No. 53, s. 1996, enjoined the institutionalisation of the use of CONSTEL tapes in elementary and secondary schools.
Strengthening Home-School Partnership
The following directives were issued with the objective of strengthening home-school partnership:
In 1996, school-community partnership was strengthened to fight the drug menace and to promote various DECS programs on healthy environment. Parent volunteer brigades were organised to provide service assistance to schools.
DECS also conducted the first parents education forum in Manila in August 1997. Attended by 1,000 parents, the forum was intended to consult parents regarding education directions and to solicit their participation in DECS programs. DECS also stressed the need for a strong partnership between DECS, parents and the community in the total education of their children.
In December 1997, DECS held the first national forum for parents, children and educators in Cebu City with the theme "Parent-Child-Educator Partnership: Action Agenda for Quality Education". One objective of the forum was to strengthen parent-educator partnership through the organisation of a national federation of Parent-Teacher-Community Association.
Launched in 1996, this program is being implemented at the barangay level with focus on the rural communities. The aim is to establish operational linkages with line agencies, local government units, local development councils and inter-sectoral consultative councils organised in every barangay. The specific objectives of the Program are to increase literacy rate, achievement rate and participation rate; decrease dropout rate; provide all barangays and remote sitios with adequate school facilities like books, desks, blackboards, classrooms and toilets; and make barangay schools as learning centres or community centres of educational information.
Emphasis on Higher-Level Thinking Skills
In 1992, the elementary curriculum was reviewed to identify areas for improvement in the short-term. As a result, the school calendar was lengthened from 185 to 200 days beginning in 1993. In addition, the daily student contact hours for critical subjects were increased. . In particular, learning time has been increased in English in Grades I and II from 60 to 80 hours; and Mathematics in Grades I to III from 40 to 60 minutes. Science and Health was introduced in Grades I and II and given a time allotment of 40 minutes. Significantly, the above-mentioned strategy was institutionalised by Congress through the passage of Republic Act No. 7797 in 1994.
This research project was undertaken with the end in view of developing higher thinking skills among pupils. Orientation on the strategies in developing higher level thinking skills among children and on the use of the micro-teaching episodes in Sibika at Kultura at Heograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sining (HEKASI) or Civics & Culture and Geography, History & Science for Grade I-VI served as springboard toward the attainment of the objective of said study. The micro-teaching episodes were tried out in selected divisions.
Upgrading Teacher Competencies
In-service trainings in the different learning areas were conducted on a regular basis in the division and regional levels. District and school learning action cell (LAC) sessions were held to continuously improve the teachers managerial and instructional skills.
The search for the most effective public elementary and secondary schools has contributed to enhancing the capabilities of administrators and teachers in the school system. Criteria used are (1) highly motivated learners; (2) competent and highly committed teachers; (3) capable and dynamic managers; (4) adequate and wholesome learning environment; (5) harmonious school-parent-community relationships.
The PPA subsumed the twin components of Eradication of Illiteracy (EOI) and Continuing Education and Development (CED) under an umbrella programme of innovation dubbed as Strengthening of Alternative Learning System (ALS). In the 1991 Jomtien Conference, this was recognised as the Philippines unique contribution or approach to the global EFA Movements ultimate objective of reaching out to those who have either been deprived of formal basic education or those who choose not to acquire their basic learning needs from the conventional learning or school system.
Eradication of Illiteracy
A research and development project that addressed the low literacy levels among out-of-school youths, adults, women and girls 13 years and over in marginalized communities, which constrain attainment of personal development and participation in community development. The project also looked into solutions to the difficulty in identifying, locating and monitoring the learning progress of literacy clientele.
An expansion to five provinces of a similar one that was being implemented in 1990 in seven Area-Based Child Survival and Development (ABCSD) provinces. In these areas, as in the expansion sites, women and girls were more disadvantaged in terms of literacy than their male counterparts. The literacy intervention was expected to result in improved status of women in the community; increased participation in community development projects; and in the capability of women and parents to improve family life and conditions.
Promotion of Continuing Education & Development
A deliberate attempt to maximise the positive role of media in the formation of values and consciousness, this initiative advocated themes and issues that enhance consciousness of the dignity of human life, mans responsibilities towards his fellowmen and his role as steward of society and the environment. Media advocacy was to reach children and adults nationwide via television, radio and print.
This national project was conceived to be a principal vehicle for attaining scientific and cultural literacy among Filipinos. The targets are OSY, adults, students in formal schools and clientele of the alternative learning systems. They were to be reached via a network of science and technology museums and centrums, science communication through the intensification of science broadcasts (TV and radio) and publication of research and development outputs.
The PEEP effort addressed the dearth of materials relating to productivity, production culture, self-development, decision-making, appropriate technology and other basic life skills that hamper education and training for economic productivity in the rural areas. It aimed to produce and disseminate modules on various life skill areas and train 950,000 rural and urban poor women in all regions using these indigenous learning materials.
Implementation of Integrated Programmes
Another R & D project that sought to establish a stream of learning encompassing non-formal and informal education, to run parallel to the formal or school-based learning system. If the study confirmed the feasibility of this project, it would have been used as basis for future legislation enabling individuals to broaden their access to learning opportunities.
This project, which was piloted in selected communities, rested on a learner or demand-oriented participatory and culture-based learning system founded on a multi-media channel approach to message delivery. The design called for the use of radio and instructional modules as main channels; the others being audiocassettes, comic books, folk media and other indigenous channels. There was also a linkage to entrepreneurship agencies and a provision for access to livelihood seed funding.
An extension of the experience of an earlier project of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) to 100 identified communities. Successfully tried out in four low-income villages in Luzon, this undertaking aimed to provide training programmes designed to improve the cognitive and practical skills of the villagers. Another objective was to enable the clients to conduct sustainable income-generating and other social development projects. These learning programmes were supported by a viable multi-purpose social cooperative and other village-based organisations, which were set up through the primer funds provided by the project. There was a built-in mechanism to replicate the project in other depressed communities in future.
The PPA provided for an implementation mechanism to handle EFA concerns consisting of national, regional and local level policy-making units. These were to be supported by attached technical and administrative secretariats at each level. There was also a provision for the establishment of national-level programme management team to take care of overall co-ordination and routine implementation. The EFA implementing machinery as envisioned in the PPA is shown below in Figure I-11.
Figure -3: EFA Implementation Mechanism per PPA
The National Machinery
The National Committee on Education for All (NCEFA) created through Presidential Proclamation No. 480 as the apex of the EFA programme hierarchy, was EFAs policy-making body. It was to have been assisted by a National Technical Secretariat (NTS) as its technical and administrative arm. The NTS was to have been subsequently expanded to include representatives from agencies involved in early childhood care and development, primary education, literacy and continuing education as well as selected representatives of some member agencies of the National Committee.
A full-time Programme Management Team (PMT) responsible for overall co-ordination and day-to-day operations was supposed to backstop the NTS. The planned structure, organisation and staffing of the PMT are shown in Figure I-12.
Figure -4: EFA Programme Management Teams per PPA
As originally envisioned, the internal structure of the PMT was patterned after the four major clusters of projects of the PPA. A technical group was to be assigned to each cluster, namely: ECCD/UQPE, EOI/CED; INTPRO (for integrated programmes); and Programme Support. In addition to overseeing the project implementation in each cluster, the technical group would have also overseen the overall implementation of the projects in the Regional Action Plans, as well as the co-ordination with a number of regions. Those who were involved in the formulation of the National and Regional Action Plans were to be initially tasked to man the PMT. The main purpose for this action was to sustain the momentum generated during the formulation of the National and Regional Action Plans and to prepare for the institutionalisation of EFA concerns within the DECS. Thereafter, the PMT functions were to be institutionalised within the Office of Planning Service (OPS) of the DECS. Interagency support was supposed to have been maintained through the NTS.
The Regional Machinery
The above policy and operational set-up was supposed to have been replicated for regional operations. Regional Committees on Education for All (RCEFAs) were to complement the NCEFA in policy-making and programme review and were to be composed of the heads of regional offices of the agencies represented in the NCEFA minus the international agencies and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Most would have included additional or other agencies and NGOs of their choice. The RCEFAs were to have their counterparts in the sub-regional levels (i.e., Provincial Committees on EFA (PCEFAs), and City/Municipality Committees on EFA (C/MCEFAs). These regional/sub-regional committees were to have been strengthened as specialised bodies of the Regional Development Councils (RDCs) and the local development councils.
National and regional monitoring and evaluation (M & E) units were to have been established at the PMT and RCEFA-TS to obtain timely information on the progress of EFA implementation and to identify bottlenecks requiring remedial action. This M & E system would also have supported the regular review of EFA policies and guidelines. The regular flow of monitoring reports was to be achieved through both vertical and horizontal networks.
The PPA further provided for the conduct of a midterm review and updating of the PPA, in which new policies, strategies, programmes and projects in response to gaps not met by the initial set of projects would have been considered. This activity was also supposed to have included deliberations on the possibility of upgrading lower priority projects to high priority levels.
Advocacy & Social Mobilisation
A social mobilisation and advocacy programme (SMAP) was included in the PPA as one of the strategies through which the EFA goals were to be achieved. Its role was to stimulate, expand and sustain action toward the achievement of the movements objectives. Specifically, the SMAP was supposed to create awareness and acceptance of EFA, establish a communication loop between planners and implementers and provide technical support to the preparation of social mobilisation materials. To operationalise the SMAP, the PPA envisioned the creation by the NCEFA/NTS, through the PMT, of a national core of resource agencies and individuals that would provide technical assistance in the planning and design of specific SMAP activities. The planned SMAP network would have paralleled that of the M & E system.
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