15.04.2014 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Launch of the2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report on Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for All in the Philippines (Department of Education, Manila, Philippines, 8 April 2014)

Launch of the 2013/4 EFA GMR was held to increase public awareness around the key messages of the Report, and to increase awareness on the progresses of the Philippines in achieving the EFA goals.

The event was opened with the National Anthem, followed by Welcome Remarks by Mr. Edicio De La Torre (Co-Chair of the National EFA Committee) and by Dr. Mee Young Choi (Head of the Education Unit of UNESCO Office, Jakarta). Dr. Choi highlighted the importance of having a quality education for all. Development is not about infrastructure. But more delicately, it is about human resources which determine national growth. Human resources related to teachers are the driving force. Korea is one of the driving countries. Dr. Choi shared that she was a teacher in 1980s-1990s when development in Korea jumped up. Now everything is about IT. Without teachers, this could not have happened. Quality education is wanted by everyone, and affects our lives and the lives of our families. UNESCO will continue to support countries in reaching the EFA goals (please see Welcome Remarks by UNESCO Office, Jakarta in the link below).

H.E. Br. Armin A. Luistro (Secretary of the Department of Education) in his keynote address explained that the purpose of monitoring should not be to find out what is wrong, or for countries to compete or outsmart each other in the next GMR. But the purpose of monitoring is to assist us in achieving quality education for all. We should not think that we only need to take care of the children in our own country, because every child in the world is our child who will be here after our generation passes. It is not about citizenship, but about being a citizen of the world. No country can say they have succeeded in achieving the EFA goals if there is still one child not accessing education.

Mr. Luistro further shared two stories he had when he visited Tacloban a week after the Yolanda disaster. In the first story, Mr. Luistro asked a little boy, who was trying to dry the pages of a textbook, what he would like to do if he were given a choice. Hearing the little boy’s answer that he would like to go back to school to learn how to read, Mr. Luistro told him that we will reopen the damaged schools in Tacloban. In the second story, a journalist asked a man who had lost his whole family after Yolanda except one boy, what he wanted. The man then asked the journalist to please ask the national Government to reopen schools because his son has nothing to go back to now and needs something to dream for. These two stories, and many other stories, are driving the Department of Education in urgently working to reopen the damaged schools in Tacloban.

To accelerate EFA, Mr. Luistro suggested the need for countries to work together to see how technology can be utilized to better reach all children, and to counter the widening gap between those with digital access and those without. It is important to look at IT systems and boundaries, and endeavor to develop a boundless IT platform for all children. In addition, Mr. Luistro highlighted the need to address the copyright issue, because there are many documents that the public cannot access because someone says he/she owns this and therefore the public cannot access it. He reminded that the right for education goes beyond intellectual property rights issues. Sequentially, Mr. Luistro emphasized that based on good practices, education can be provided at a minimum cost, as shown by the experiences of Bangladesh’ NGO BRAC. For example, in difficult circumstances, we cannot rely on availability of quality teachers.

The 2013/4 EFA GMR was presented by Ms. Nurhajati Sugianto of UNESCO Office, Jakarta (please find the presentation in the link below).  Ms. Sugianto explained that the EFA GMR provides an overview of progresses countries have made globally in achieving the EFA goals. The GMR highlights good practices and lessons learnt that have been derived from the experiences of countries in implementing specific strategies and programmes. Based on these good practices and lessons learnt, the EFA GMR Team has proposed strategies and policy recommendations to respond to challenges still faced by many countries on a specific thematic area.

This Report projects that by 2015 many countries will still not have reached the EFA goals, and explains the key issues that will need to be addressed after 2015. The Report shows that there is a global learning crisis that is hitting the disadvantaged hardest. The Post-2015 goals would need to track progress of the marginalized, and include specific targets to finance education. Good quality education cannot be achieved without good quality teachers. Thus teachers play a vital role in ensuring that all children, including the disadvantaged, are learning. Policy-makers need to support teachers to overcome this crisis. Teachers and teacher unions need to be made part of the solution, and be involved in the design, development and implementation of policies and reforms.

As Ms. Sugianto presented the progresses that have been made at the global level, she invited the participants to reflect on common challenges the Philippines may still have with other countries. Ms. Sugianto also presented descriptions of the Philippines that have been reported in the GMR, and asked the participants to verify, comment, or provide further inputs on these descriptions. When going through the good practices, lessons learnt, proposed strategies and recommendations, the participants were encouraged to reflect on whether any of these findings could give them input in strengthening their interventions. The participants were invited to see whether they would be able to implement these recommended actions, or are already implementing them and would like to share their lessons learnt or challenges faced from implementing the strategy or policy recommendation. In the end, the participants were encouraged to work more closely with teachers to improve educational quality for all.

Following the presentation on the 2013/4 EFA GMR and the progresses that have been achieved at the global level, Dr. Jesus L. R. Mateo (Assistant Secretary for Planning and Development) presented the status of implementation in the Philippines. Dr. Mateo commented that some data on the Philippines stated in the 2013/4 EFA GMR are not the latest updated data. Enactment into law of the K-12 curriculum adds Kindergarten and an additional two year in senior secondary school, but more importantly it enhances the quality of the entire curriculum. A notable challenge is in raising the participation of boys in primary and secondary education. Dr. Mateo also reiterated the issue that there are a lot of materials available, but that cannot be accessed by schools. Beyond conventional solutions, the Philippines will continue to support development of the child protection policy; learner-centered modalities; indigenous people and Muslim education; Mother Tongue Based-Multi-Lingual Education; Learning Resource Portal; computerization and connectivity; and professional development. Specifically, the Philippines will continue to provide the necessary basic education inputs; provide affirmative action to learners with special needs; engage the private sector in broadening opportunities for basic education; utilize technology in expanding reach of basic education services; develop an enhanced and learner-centered curriculum; provide relevant instructional materials and equipment; and improve quality of instruction and professional development of teachers. In strengthening professional development, the Philippines will continue to improve internal systems and processes; strengthen education leadership and management; and expand the network of stakeholders and strengthen their participation.

On behalf of Dr. Dina S. Ocampo (Undersecretary for Programs and Projects), a presentation was subsequently delivered on the K-12 curriculum framework, aimed to holistically develop Filipinos with 21st century skills. The K-12 curriculum aims to provide the Skills of: information, media and technology skills; learning and innovation skills; communication skills; and life and career skills. It focuses on the Learning Areas of: language; technology and livelihood education; mathematics and science; and arts and humanities. In March 2018 a first batch of the Grade 6 and Grade 12 using the K-12 curriculum will graduate. Sequentially in March 2024, a first batch of learners who went through the full K-12 curriculum programme will graduate.

A simultaneous Press Conference and Questions & Answers session with H.E. Br. Armin A. Luistro, Dr. Jesus L. R. Mateo, Dr. Mee Young Choi, and Mr. Edicio De La Torre followed. Inquiries made by the participants and media representatives largely concerned the need to implement Climate Change Education (CCE) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the local communities; and the need for the School Improvement Program to cover all schools through School-Based Management. Dr. Choi shared information on the “UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development - Learning Today for a Sustainable Future” (Japan, 10-12 November 2014) where EFA and ESD will be discussed to find a common consensus. H.E. Br. Armin A. Luistro explained that assessments should be done comprehensively involving all Government agencies in charge of assessments (notably DepED, CHED, TESDA, and PRC) and school principals. These assessments should be done by an international independent individual/group. As we move to post-2015 using the new K-12 curriculum, the assessment tools need to be different to ensure that the assessment follows the new curriculum. Mr. Edicio De La Torre suggested for E-Net Philippines to serve as a partner/laboratory for the Government by piloting, innovating, challenging and proposing possible solutions/reforms – which the Government cannot do at a large scale.

The event was closed by Mr. Edicio De La Torre who encouraged the participants to make the education system to be more effective and efficient as part of the country’s agenda to 2015 and beyond 2015. He also highlighted that senior citizens are one of the key untapped resources who could giver precious resources to education reforms. Mr. Torre closed the event by reminding everyone to “Always make you future bigger, better and brighter than your past. Always make your learning greater than your experience. And always make your questions bigger than your answers, because questions open the debate, answers close the door”.

For further information please contact: Dr. Mee Young Choi (Head of the Education Unit, UNESCO Office, Jakarta, my.choi(at)unesco.org).

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