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When Reforms Don't Transform (REACTION PAPER)

When Reforms Don't Transform (REACTION PAPER)

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Published by cuteMICHI
...my reaction paper of UP Centennial Lecture, "When Reforms Don't Transform"...it tackles the present condition of Philippine Education and why does the various education reforms in Philippine education don't take its root to transform...
...my reaction paper of UP Centennial Lecture, "When Reforms Don't Transform"...it tackles the present condition of Philippine Education and why does the various education reforms in Philippine education don't take its root to transform...

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Published by: cuteMICHI on Jul 27, 2009
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Authors’ LogicThis lecture focuses on the present condition of Philippine education – howis it now and how far does it reaches now most especially the different reformsproposed by Department of Education (DepEd). Does our education here in thePhilippine is still sustaining its primary objective? Does our educational systemstill fit for all Filipinos? Does the education given here in our country candevelop the competencies that a Filipino youth must have? Do all Filipino studentsor pupils learn something as we point out the different weaknesses of oureducational system here in the Philippines? Does the DepEd do something about it?What the society can do about it? What kind of reform our education need in orderto transform? Will it be possible or not? Will this reform can truly transform thepresent condition of our education here in the Philippine? And when does thistransformation through reformation will happen?The questions above could be answered by three professors who conducted alecture on the state of Philippine basic education. This lecture was entitled as“When Reforms Don‘t Transform: Reflections on Philippine Education” and wasconducted by two University of the Philippines - Diliman (UPD) professors Ma.Cynthia Rose B. Bautista (Sociology, College of Social Science and Philosophy),Dina S. Ocampo (Reading Education, College of Education), and De La SalleUniversity (DLSU) professor Allan B. I. Bernardo (Cognitive and EducationalPsychology, DLSU‘s College of Education).As they started their lecture, they pointed out the reform that thePhilippine education had underwent through the years as formal education firststarted under the Spanish era and how it was reformed when the Americans invadedour country.The three lecturers were saying that as the Americans reformed thePhilippine educational system, this reform was no longer reformed again to sustainthe current condition of our country although the DepEd kept saying there is areform that is happening.Same old problems are still lying today. Primary education was for theworking class; secondary education was for the middle class; and, tertiaryeducation for leaders and economic elite. For somehow, this situation stillhappens today and it is a sad fact that there are many poor Filipinos that’s whyafter attaining primary education, many Filipino youths stop schooling and theystart working to survive. Also, another problem arises when we consider the 1925Monroe survey, where Yale professor George Counts was part of this team, about theeducational system here in the Philippines.George Counts pinpointed these problems that arouse and as according to thethree lectures, these problems are still present today in the educational systemof our country. One of these was the problem to the language of teaching; Countsprotested the teaching of English in the absence of lingua franca. Second was thecurriculum was not suited to the Filipino children of the 1920s; third, theteachers were also professionally untrained; and the last was the excessivecentralized control over the education which resulted in the uniformimplementation of a Western curriculum throughout the archipelago. We can clearlyread that from the problems stated during 1920s, it sounded like the issuesconfronting our country today. Since 1925, various reviews have cited the samefundamental issues afflicting Philippine education. The three lecturers promptlysaid that the education landscape of our country has not changed since colonialdays.According to the lecturers, what is distressing about the problemscontinually arising in our country is that as according to an assessment in Math,Science and English revealed that sample students in three Mindanao regions hadgreat difficulty with items requiring higher order thinking skills? Also, thecomparisons of the country’s primary net enrolment and completion rates to theother countries are so distressing. It seems that the Philippine is left behindbecause some of our neighbouring countries have higher primary net enrolment andcompletion rates than us. It just only signifies that the problems concerning
Philippine education should be solved right away.Back to reformation of Philippine education, the three lecturers have saidfew more reform or changes happened. One of these is the spanning of the educationspectrum by having neighbourhood day care centers, alternative schools for specialchildren and farmer-scientist programs. The Congressional Commission on Educationor EDCOM proposed a comprehensive set of reforms on issues ranging from access andquality to language of instruction. It restructured the educational system intoDepEd, CHED, and TESDA.The three lecturers had also said that there are reform projects that arestill operating now through the help of the community and sprouted wonderfullywhere they were implemented. Project IMPACT or the Project on InstructionalManagement by Parents, Community, and Teachers is an example. It was initiated asa practical intervention to address overcrowding in Philippine public schools. Ithas many notable features that are beneficial to students. The fact that the threelecturers puzzled at this time is why the effective IMPACT technology of the 1970swas not uses to address Metro Manila’s overcrowded public schools.Another reform projects told by our lecturers are the BEAM or BasicEducation Assistance for Mindanao and TEEP or Third Elementary Education Project.Both TEEP and BEAM implemented the School-Based Management (SBM), a framework thatintegrates school governance with various school level inputs for achievingequitable access to quality education and this includes changes in perspectives onlearning, pedagogy, and community participation.BEAM and TEEP differed in many respects but they had remarkable outcomes.BEAM aims to improve the access and education quality in three regions in Mindanaoand it asserts higher order thinking skills develop in flexible and cooperativelearning classroom environments rather than in classroom characterized by a oneway transmission of knowledge to passive learners. TEEP, on the other hand, morefocuses on its decentralization objective and research-identified determinants ofdesirable student outcomes rather than specific learning theories. Reflecting onthese two reform projects, the three lecturers believed that combining thefeatures of these projects is the fastest way to implement SBM nationwide. Theyalso said that it could be effective since BEAM and TEEP are both successfulreform projects.After discussing the reformation underwent by the Philippine education andthe reform projects that successfully bloomed, the three lecturers discussed whyreforms don’t transform when it comes to the educational system of our countrysince we can see that the DepEd is doing some reform projects and they are doingtheir job. What are these problems that became hindrances for reform to transform?First, the education sector is a highly centralized system that does notgive teachers and principals the freedom and responsibility to design the bestschool for their children and community. Second, DepEd has developed a “project”approach to reform where key reform thrusts are externally initiated and thendropped once the project is over. Third, attempts at reform have focused oninstitutional inputs such as school building, textbooks, and training teachers.The wrong assumption in this case is that when such institutional elements arepresent, they will automatically result in learning. Fourth, learning has simplybeen assumed and has actually been taken for granted in the reform process.DepEd is truly doing its job to make a solution but then this solution isonly applicable for a short period of time and thus, resulting in the repetitionof the problem. The lecturers said that the other countries that successfullyreformed their educational system used a long-term transformational approach. Thetransformation of their educational system was designed carefully and so that theycould meet long-term national development goals. The three lecturers were justsaying that the DepEd should also use long-term solution rather than short-termsolution to the underlying problems.In the Philippine, there are initiatives that aim to improve studentachievement levels but the question of what and how our students should belearning has not been a central concern in discussions of education reform.
The three lecturers proposed that all education reform in the Philippineshould first formulate answers to these fundamental questions: First, what kindof knowledge and skills will enable Filipinos to participate effectively in theworld of work and also to transform their communities and societies? Second, whatkinds of knowledge and skills will enable citizens to build better futures forthemselves and for others in their communities? In these questions, competencyenters the scenario and thus, the key that our educational system is lacking of orcannot give.As the three lecturers talked about competency, functional literacy andtransformational citizenship came into picture. The goals of these two are: toprovide learners a window to the world and linguistic, textual, and symbolic toolsto engage with the world as acting and autonomous individuals interacting withvarious groups; to participate the students in transformative ways that they willlearn to understand and analyze, to negotiate and cooperate, and if necessary toprotest and initiate new forms of social participation; and to develop in allstudents an intrinsic value for learning and knowledge.In order to attain competency or in order to give it to the students,educational reform must transform our schools into powerful learning environments.Also, there should be a transformation in the traditional pedagogies for classroominstruction. Everyone should know that learning can also be found in informal andnonformal activities and practices based in communities, places of work, and evenin the virtual spaces of the internet. It is also said that competency can beattain if there will be combination of creative and flexible forms of alternativelearning system. It will best provide access to powerful lifelong learningopportunities to as many diverse learners as possible. As an addition to that, ourschools and teachers should be allowed to explore diverse approaches to help ourstudents attain the desired learning competencies.The three lecturers also discussed the case of language used in oureducational system. The lecturers also see problems regarding with the languagethat is use as medium of instruction. These problems have already aroused sincethe 1925 Monroe survey and this problem continues to affect the learning ofFilipino children today.English language has been chosen to be the medium of instruction and it’sbeen the challenges for native Filipino children to learn two unfamiliar languagessimultaneously. They have to master the vocabulary and grammar of these languagesto make meaning. While doing that, they have to learn to read. Then, they have tobe quick because they have to learn social studies, math, and science at the sametime. The lecturers see it as a heavy burden for Filipino children.Individual difference is a simple and fundamental principle in educationwhich means that teaching must start with the student’s strengths. This is basedon the view of learning that children will eventually transverse the unknown ifthey are able to connect this to what they already know. To be specific and directto the point, the lecturers were just saying that education should begin with thechild’s language before systematically moving towards our desired additionallanguages.The three professors who were also the lecturers ended this lecture bysuggesting what UP can do in the service of education reform. They said that UPcan mobilize its multidisciplinary expertise as it did in the past. It can alsoprovide the much needed research on all aspects of Philippine education includingits own policies.As a well-known university that have high degree of excellency in education,UP must find ways for the education system to break free from the tirelessrepetitions of problems and so called solutions and if there’s one thing that UPmust do in the service of the nation, it is this: bring together the country’seducation reformists to work with the public, and even with the private educationsector.Student’s Logic

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