Tell it to SunStar: Rekindling hope in our educational system

The Philippine educational system has been in bad shape. The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2018 survey revealed the students’ performance in Reading Literacy, Mathematics, and Science is the lowest among PISA participating countries. We ranked 74 in Reading Literacy, 73 in Mathematics, and 74 in Science among 75 participating countries.

The pre-pandemic assessment worsened during the onset of Covid-19 when the country adopted blended learning using online classes and distance learning. Online learning is the most ambitious program in an ill-equipped environment. Modular learning is the most expensive but least effective learning program. The Department of Education (DepEd) desperately opted for such never tested learning modality despite its limitations, lack of resources, and the call for an academic freeze.

DepEd only thought about what is best for Filipino learners under such circumstances. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The department believed education must go on amid health crises, and no student should be left behind.

The 2023 Basic Education Report by the secretary of education further confirmed the sad deteriorating status of education in the Philippines in the post-pandemic period. The report stated the lack of infrastructure and resources to support the ideal teaching process as the most pressing issue pounding the Philippine basic education. Also, the weakness of procurement practices, the lack of employability of K-12 graduates, and the heavy workload assigned to teachers burden them with backbreaking and time-consuming administrative tasks.

Last year with the issuance of DepEd Order 24 S. 2022, the department launched Basic Education Development Plan (BEDP) 2030, a strategic plan for DepEd covering all formal education from kindergarten, elementary, junior high school and senior high school, as well as the non-formal education through alternative learning education. It is the first long-term plan for education that serves as a strategic roadmap for improving the quality of basic education and the learners’ experiences in the learning environment.

Vice President Sara Duterte, the concurrent DepEd secretary, unveiled her education MATATAG Agenda that hopes to resolve basic education challenges: MA – Make the curriculum relevant to produce job-ready, active and responsible citizens; TA – Take steps to accelerate delivery of basic education facilities and services; TA – take good care of learners by promoting learner well-being, inclusive education, and positive learning environment; and G -Give support to teachers to teach better.

The theme, “Nation for children, children for the nation,” is focused on curriculum reform, accelerated delivery of services, promoting the well-being of learners, and providing enormous support to teachers.

Furthermore, as part of its National Learning Recovery Program, the department conducts a thorough assessment and encourages the giving of remediation activities to all learners. And to address learning gaps and losses among learners, the department will implement the National Learning Camp (NLC) starting July 24, 2023. The NLC is open to all learners. However, participation in the program is voluntary and not mandatory for teachers and students. Among the features of the program include intervention, enrichment and remediation.

The department is optimistic that properly implementing, supporting and monitoring its various programs can ensure quality education and revitalize hope for Filipino learners.