Convergence of Filipino and Korean Educators on Alternative Learning System and Girls Education
UNESCO Jakarta Office and the Philippines’ Department of Education held an “International Training-Workshop for the Philippines’ Department of Education Key Officials and Alternative Learning System Mobile Teachers” on 12-16 November 2018 in Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK), in cooperation with the International Women and Family Foundation (IWFF). This international training-workshop was organized as part of the workplan of the project entitled “Better Life for Out-of-School Girls to Fight Against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines” with the generous financial support of the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
A total of twelve (12) Philippines’ Department of Education personnel participated in this capacity building. Assistant Secretary G. H. Ambat, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Service and Alternative Learning System was the head of the delegation. It also includes eight (8) key officials from the Central Office, Regional Office VIII-Eastern Visayas and Division Offices of Leyte and Tacloban City. In addition to the key officials, there were three (3) Alternative Learning System Mobile Teachers that joined in the said initiative.
This capacity building initiative was organized and envisaged to: foster and exchange especially on contemporary and research-based Alternative Learning System learning opportunities; provide participants with an opportunity to gain valuable insights into key organizations involved in the provision of alternative learning system to the marginalized and other disadvantage groups especially women and girls in a different country; develop an understanding of the roles of the government, non-government organizations and other sectors in the provision of alternative learning system to the marginalized and disadvantage groups especially women and girls in a different country; learn about the latest developments and best practices of alternative forms of literacy and/or continuing education service delivery, community education, resource materials development and research; and facilitate cultural exchange for international understanding and global citizenship.
The opening programme was held to officially start the training-workshop which was graced by Mr. Kim Jun Mo, Director for Southeast Asia, Korea International Cooperation Agency and Mr. Kwangho Kim, Secretary-General, Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU) who both delivered speeches. Speeches were also delivered by Dr. Youngtak Kim, President, International Women & Family Foundation; Assistant Secretary G. H. Ambat, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Service and Alternative Learning System, Department of Education, Philippines; and, Dr. Mee Young Choi, Head of Education Unit on behalf of Dr. Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative, UNESCO Jakarta Office.
Dr. Youngtak Kim, President, International Women & Family Foundation conveyed that the Republic of Korea started off as not a well-off country until to its present status as a developed country. He said that one of the key element of the said development is education and now is the time for it to share to other countries. He recalled that the Republic of the Philippines has constructed a gymnasium for the people of the Republic of Korea. He expressed the warm welcome to all participants on behalf of IWFF and wishes the successful training-workshop as well as to enjoy Korean cuisine.
Mr. Kwangho Kim, Secretary-General, Korean National Commission for UNESCO extended the warm welcome to the Filipino participants and conveyed his appreciation to the sacrifices of Filipino soldiers for Korean people during the war. He said that “Education is one of the key to be free from poverty and in which Korean parents believed in.” He shared the journey of Korean Ministry of Education in emphasizing numeracy and literacy then technical, vocational education and training in light to heavy industries and at present in information and communication technology which is the knowledge economy. According to him “On the choice to what industry to invest, countries should invest in human resources as they will create the new industry.” Lastly he extend the congratulatory remarks for all partners as this initiat8ives is very important and timely to learn from each other.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency conveyed its warm welcome and appreciation to the participants from Philippines’ Department of Education through Mr. Kim Jun Mo, Director of Southeast Asia. He said that the Republic of the Philippines is an important partner country for Republic of Korea and it has various projects and volunteers. He also conveyed that this initiative is one of the ways to strengthen the relationship of both countries and Republic of Korea is ready to support the Republic of the Philippines for its inclusive and innovative initiatives particularly in education.
Dr. Mee Young Choi, Head of Education Unit, UNESCO Jakarta Office expressed the appreciation of UNESCO to its partners, KOICA, KNCU and IWFF on behalf of Dr. Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative, UNESCO Jakarta Office. She briefly shared the history of this national project on why it is being piloted in Tacloban and its vicinity which was primarily on being prone to natural disasters and being in a region with high poverty incidence. She also shared that the diverse composition of participants is envisaged to bring about high impact in Philippines education especially with the Alternative Learning System and girls education having the policy makers and the front liners. Furthermore, she shared a quote from Madame Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General: “Everywhere, the voices of women are being heard, louder and louder, telling us how far we still have to go to ensure true equality. They are the ones who convey the transformation of the world and we must support them in each of our actions.”
Assistant Secretary G. H. Ambat, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Service and Alternative Learning System conveyed the appreciation of warm hospitality extended to the participants. She expressed thanks on behalf of H. E. Dr. Leonor Magtolis Briones, Secretary, Department of Education, Philippines to UNESCO, KOICA, KNCU and IWFF for making the capacity building initiative a reality. She shared that, “There are 3.6 million out-of-school youth and children in the Philippines and 63% are girls.” Furthermore, she said that “They look forward of learning from the experiences of Korea on how to design and bring back these girls to be educated.”
After the opening progamme the first session followed that was anchored on “Educational Landscape in Korea: Lifelong Learning, Women and Girls.” This session includes presentations on: The Education of Out-of-School Girls and Alternative Learning System at the Policy and National Level; History of Women’s Education in Korea; Girls’ Education and Sustainable Development Goals; Fostering Global Citizenship Education in Lifelong Learning; Engaging Private Sector and Civil Society for Lifelong Learning; Vocational and Lifelong Education for Girls and Women; and, Igniting Entrepreneurial Skills and Spirit Among Girls and Women.
The second session was anchored on “Exemplary Initiatives on Girls and Women Health and Well-Being.” This session includes presentations on: Educating Teenage Girls on personal Grooming and Hygiene; Mental Health and Well-Being: Addressing Women and Girls Stressors; and, Improving Maternal Health through Education. The third session was anchored on “Experiences and Best Practices in Girls and Women Education.” This session includes presentations on: Policy and Governance for Lifelong Learning in Korea; Technology mediated and Enhanced Lifelong Learning Delivery; Equivalency and Accreditation for Lifelong Learning; and, The Link: SDG 4 and Alternative Learning System.
The enthusiasm, active engagement and sharing of experiences from Filipino participants and Korean resource persons brought about an intellectual and cultural exchange. They discussed various education issues and concerns that is common in both educational system and explored possible ways to tackle such. The uniqueness of each one was shared as well as the interventions that worked and produce results in each educational system.
The final session on this capacity building initiative is the institutional visit for the participants to have the opportunity for learning through direct experience. The first visit was with Mirim Meister School – Mirim Girls’ Information Science High School and the second visit was with Neul-pu-ruen Education Center. During the visit in both institutions, the participants were presented with its various programs and has the chance to actively interact with the its personnel. The participants were given the chance to see and observe the school facilities and learning sessions.
Mr. Ronald Valeriano, ALS Mobile Teacher from Division of Leyte in the Philippines said in his reflection on this capacity building, “As an ALS Mobile Teacher, I am with high hopes on the progress of my country especially in education. I will continue to support whatever policies that DepED will have and will try to make some innovations. I will device mechanism that will elicit the learners’ ‘need to learn.’ I will continue to promote the programs and projects of ALS to enable to establish a strong support system within our municipality.”
This capacity building provided an opportunity for the participants to experience Korean culture through authentic traditional Korean cuisine served during the welcome and farewell receptions gladly arranged by IWFF.