Roxas: Education reform requires not just more of the same

Sunday, July 13, 2008 | posted in , , , , | 0 comments

Senator Mar Roxas stressed that the road to world-class education in the Philippines would require spending on focused and effective programs, as well as a change in outlook on what the Philippine education system needs.
"If we want to improve our youth's education outcomes and give them a better chance to progress, we can't be in 'business-as-usual' mode anymore."

"We can't raise our education standards by doing just more of the same. We can't drop a larger lump sum in the lap of DepEd and expect things to get better," he said, noting that the Palace is set to submit its proposed 2009 national budget next month.
Roxas has filed Senate Bill No. 2294, the Omnibus Education Reform Act, which is based on a continuing study on the defects of our educational system. It seeks to initiate the promoting of higher standards in our country's education system.

"We need to have a focused approach in improving Philippine education. We have to get to the root of the problem of poor student performance, insufficient aptitude of teachers, and the overall resources provided to our youth," he said.
The bill proposes the institutionalization of a long-term planning process for education, through rolling five-year budget plans that are consistent with quantitative and qualitative targets.

"Kung sa aritmetik lang, pinakamalaki na nga ang nakukuha ng edukasyon sa budget. Ang tanong, bukod sa 'sapat ba ito,' ay 'tama ba ang paggamit dito?' (Arithmetically, education gets the largest chunk of the budget. But the question, aside from 'is it sufficient,' is 'is it spent the right way?)" he added.
The bill also seeks that ten years after reforms have been implemented, improvements in key metrics must have already been achieved, such as:

  • Grade school cohort survival rate, to 83% (now 68%);
  • Transition rate from Grade 6 to 1st year High School, to 99% (now 87%);
  • High School cohort survival rate, to 85% (now 72%);
  • Overall completion rate, to 70% (now 43%);
To help identify and focus on students that require special learning assistance, the bill seeks to impose performance standards through diagnostic tests at the end of Grades 3 and 6, key junction points of the students' learning of core competencies.

Meanwhile, to help teachers arm their students with the right competencies and knowledge, the bill seeks intensive training and upgrading programs for teachers. These include training programs on teaching methods using the mother language for teachers in Grades 1 to 3; and upgrading courses for English, Science and Math teachers who are not majors in these subjects.

The proposed reforms in the bill also include mandating the use of the mother tongue as medium of instruction for Grades 1 to 3, as studies have shown that early education in the local language tends to be more effective; and electives for High School, to equip students with the competencies needed as they decide to pursue College or to join the workforce after graduation.

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