Thursday, November 3, 2016

Tackling challenges head on at the PH Education Summit 2016

“Should K-12 be supported or opposed?” “How can the government provide learning resources when there is a shortage of classrooms, a number of which are damaged during typhoons?” “How can the education department raise teaching standards when teachers get measly salaries and many opt to work abroad instead?” “What should universities do to join the ranks of top-ranking higher educational institutions?” These are some of the issues that need to be raised in the Philippine Education Summit 2016 which started today November 3 at the SMX, Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

Education stakeholders gather at the start of the Philippine Education Summit 2016. (Photo by AJB)

It took a long time for the Philippines to adjust its basic education to the globally practiced K-12. The Philippines clung to K-10 until the passing of the 2013 Enhanced Basic Education Act (RA 10533). 

The new law however did not end the debate. Anti-K-12 proponents presented various petitions to the Supreme Court. Some of the reasons presented were: K-12 is anti-poor, unconstitutional, anti-labor,unpatriotic, and anti-Filipino. The petitioners were not deterred despite the fact that the Philippines is the only country in Asia to have K-10 and until recently was part of the old company with African countries Angola and Djibouti.

In March 2016, the Supreme Court rejected various petitions against K-12. Aside from the controversial K-12, the Philippine Education Summit 2016 will also look at the various issues facing technical-vocational (tech-voc) and higher education.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. (Photo by AJB)

The main problem of the education agencies over the years has been the lack of money. 

In his opening remarks, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno presented a different picture and said “Our problem is we may not be able to spend all the money before the term of President Duterte ends.” He added that the Philippine budget for 2017 is PHP 3.35 trillion (USD 67.7 billion). This means the budget will steadily rise for the next six years. He assured the participants that the current administration fully supports education.

FILCOLS executive director Alvin J. Buenaventura with DepEd's Cynthia Villafranca.
(Photo by DepEd's Joergette Razielle M. Regadio)

The two-day event brought under one roof 500 selected education stakeholders from all over the Philippines. FILCOLS executive director Alvin J. Buenaventura was one of the stakeholders invited to the education summit. FILCOLS is the government-accredited collective management organization (CMO) for printed works.

Various government agencies participated in the summit. (Photo by AJB)

The Philippine Education Summit 2016 was jointly convened by the country’s top education agencies: Department of Education (DepEd) which handles basic education and alternative learning systems (ALS), CHED which handles HEIs including SUCs, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which handles technical-vocational (tech-voc) education. Support was provided by the Australian Aid – Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST).

Text by Alvin J. Buenaventura.  Photos by AJB and Joergette Razielle M. Regadio. Text and photos may be re-posted as long as the authors are acknowledged.

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