Aspirations for Philippine Elementary Education
Byline: Evelina Maclang-Vicencio (Ret.) Professor, College of Education-UP
IN the tradition of Delphi, the hallowed site of the most revered oracle in ancient Greece, after whom the most widely used futuristic technique was named, the aspirations for elementary education were sought from selected teacher experts - Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Teacher awardees at the elementary level. The teachers' initial responses were organized, resulting in 77 preferred aspirations; they were furnished with the results, until a consensus of opinion was reached regarding the future. The final results are 10 aspirations for Philippine elementary education 20 years hence.
What is the usefulness of having a vision for education? A vision will make educators and stakeholders think actively of the future and make them realize that it is not something that they should adjust to when it arrives, but rather phenomena that they can prepare for. It enables them to pro-act rather than to react. It enables them to plan courses of action. It gives them direction, opens a highway towards a clear destination. If they don't know where they are going, how are they going to get there?
Franklin Field said, "Poor eyes limit your sight; poor vision limits your deeds." Deeds will hopefully not be limited because these aspirations are the product of some of the best minds in elementary education in the country.
These are the series of events that outstanding elementary school teachers would like to see happening in the future:
1. Elementary education aiming for the total development of Filipino children - holistic individuals who are globally competitive citizens of the country.
2. Elementary education developing the potential skills of the pupils to prepare them for future challenges in life; using life - its issues and concerns - as the themes of all lessons; and developing life skills to make the whole learning process meaningful and useful.
3. "Multiple voices" in the schools, specifically in audiovisual laboratories of learning as schools are provided with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, modern conveniences and apparatuses in the hands of pupils engaging in hands-on learning - making learning meaningful, enjoyable, and lasting; pupils who are computer literate; the elementary school wired to other schools in the country as well as to schools in other countries; text2teach being common in classrooms.
4. Universal access to quality and relevant elementary education through non-formal and informal channels; providing alternative learning systems to address the needs of pupils in distant places, outof-school youths, dropouts, and street children.
5. Teachers using strategies that make pupils learn - making use of cooperative learning, instructional aids utilizing multi-media, independent and guided study, higher levels of practical work, and field trips enriched through further reading and discussion; and with teachers and pupils interacting with each other and with the media.
6. A seven-year elementary school program with kindergarten classes, and pupils better prepared for high school.
7. School managers competent and effective in implementing quality, goal-oriented, product-oriented programs; principals empowered in its true sense, each principal devoting efforts to faculty capacity-building instead of attending to various non-academic concerns; administrators exposed to advanced technology to meet the demands of current trends in education.
8. A wholesome helping relationship among teachers, school officials, government, and significant others (parents, NGOs, etc.); basic education cultivating a climate of shared responsibility that seeks to enhance empathy and sensitivity among stakeholders; advocacy in all the barangays to participate in educational concerns; and a highly effective two-way communication system.