Fault Lines in Educational System

Manila Bulletin, May 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Fault Lines in Educational System


Education Secretary Armin Luistro, in his Foreword to The Nation's Journey to Greatness: Looking Beyond Five Decades of Philippine Education by former Education Secretary Mona Dumlao Valisno, introduces the book by saying that it documents an experience of five decades of educational leadership ( referring to the career of the author), and is therefore worthy of serious reflection. In this noteworthy publication, Dr. Valisno traces the evolution of our educational system and shares her diagnosis of the recurring ills and their solutions. Those who, therefore, wish to understand the rationale behind the series of educational reforms and innovations including the recent K to 12 program, would find the answers by reading the eight chapters of this book.

After going through the numerous educational reforms. a thoughtful critic would perhaps wonder why up to this time, the country continues to suffer from the "cracks" of what is considered by many as a less than "functional" learning system. Think of the visionary policies on political, social-cultural, and economic transformation with education as the core and center of all programs under President Marcos; the institutionalization of an alternative delivery system, education for all, a major educational survey (EDCOM), democratization, and values education under President Cory Aquino; the "trifocalization (setting up of 3 agencies with the Commission on Higher Education, the Technical Education, and Skills Development Authority for post-secondary education and the Department of Education for basic education); education as the key to Philippines 2000 Philippine agenda under President Ramos; the creation of the National Coordinating Council for Education and the Presidential Commission on Educational Reform under President Estrada; and under President Arroyo, the creation of the Presidential Task Force for Education which produced the Philippine Main Education Highway and the focus on early childhood care and development and basic education. I won't be surprised if we find ourselves in the top ten among countries of the world that had undergone the most educational reforms.

Still, these same problems continue to persist -high dropout rate, inadequate preparation of graduates who enter the work force, mismatch between skills and employment requirements, lack of participation of key stakeholders in the formulation of policies and programs, failure to utilize learning opportunities outside the classroom, inability to make education more competitive, etc.

The author recognizes the changing socio-cultural-economic and political landscape and its crucial role in putting pressure in the design of a more appropriate learning system She cites issues such as a burgeoning population, "politicization" of education, governance - that "trifocalization" has failed to achieve coordination and that the current state of decentralization has in fact become a "driver of inequality. …

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