Children of overseas Filipino workers in Thailand can pursue secondary or tertiary education when they come back to the Philippines if they pass the Accreditation and Equivalency (A & E) Test conducted by the Department of Education in February.
A & E was administered by DepEd to some 14 elementary and 27 secondary test takers upon the invitation of the Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Linglingay Lacanlale and ARK Bangkok Schoolhouse, a non-government organization that assists the families of OFWs in Thailand.
“We want to open the opportunity for the children of OFW to get Philippine mainstream education when they come back to the country,” said Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC.
A & E test gauges the knowledge gained by out of school children, youth and adults after they went through a non-formal school intervention program. A &E takers took the test on five learning strands namely communication skills, problem solving and critical thinking, sustainable use of resources and productivity, development of self and sense of community and expanding one’s world vision.
“These learning strands are actually life skills which the learners can use in everyday life as part of functional literacy,” explained Luistro.
The result is expected to be released in April. Those who pass the test for elementary A & E can proceed to secondary education when they return to the country. Examinees who passed the A & E for secondary can pursue tertiary education upon their return.
According to deputy chief of mission of the Philippine Embassy in Thailand Ms. Maria Teresa Taguiang, the successful conduct of A & E Test in Bangkok is a critical step to enable OFW families who cannot afford the fees in local and international schools in Thailand a chance to continue schooling in the Philippines.
Plans are afoot to conduct the A & E program and tests in other member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) especially in places where there are a concentration of OFWs.
DepEd and the DFA are closely coordinating for the planned introduction of DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) curriculum in Thailand. ARK Bangkok Schoolhouse will initially serve as the main facilitator of the program.
“This will give Filipino families a chance to avail of education with Filipino content that is officially recognized by the Philippine government,” the DFA said.
ARK Bangkok Schoolhouse and Ministry Centre is a non-profit, faith-based, educational resource center offering affordable education to Filipino families living in Bangkok.
The Department of Education welcomes the offer of child welfare group, Akap Bata Party-List to monitor the schools to ensure that no fees are collected among students as a prerequisite to graduation in public schools.
Education Secretary Armin said the DepEd is open to working with private watchdogs, non-government organizations and other education stakeholders so that the no-collection policy is strictly adhered to in all public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.
“DepEd is such a big organization and we need more hands on deck in ensuring that graduation rites are devoid of pomp and pageantry and that no fees are collected from students,” Luistro stressed.
Akap Bata launched “GRADFEE MONITOR 2012” and allotted the (02) 5163206 hotline number as a grievance center for parents and students to air their complaints regarding graduation fees.
”We are one with the DepEd in pushing this kind of policy that will surely benefit our graduating students,” says Arlene Brosas, national secretary-general of Akap Bata Party-List.
Brosas added, “we encourage concerned individuals, especially parents and even students to call the hotline and report any forms of charges being collected by public school officials for graduation rites, yearbooks and alike.”
DepEd has reiterated the intent of DepEd Order No 8 series of 2005 which prohibits the collection of any graduation fees or any kind of contribution for the graduation rites. The order also stipulated that no extravagant special graduation attire and extraordinary venue are required.
Moreover, Luistro emphasized that the graduation rites itself should be solemn, focused on the students and their parents, and not be used as a venue for political forum.
Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC welcomes the passing of the Universal Kindergarten Bill into law, - the Republic Act (R.A.) 10157, giving the department more elbow room to institutionalize reforms in basic education which include the implementation of the universal kindergarten program in all public schools.
“The Kindergarten Education Act is just among the components of our thrust to push for serious education reforms. This should be propelled by strong political will and commitment to help the school children reach their maximum potential through a variety of carefully selected and meaningful experiences just like what is expected of a premium kindergarten education program,” said Luistro in a ceremonial presentation of the Kindergarten Education Act at the Malacañang Palace on Monday, February 27, 2012.
No less than His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered the keynote address, declaring the policy statement of the new law – to provide equal opportunities for all children to avail of accessible mandatory and compulsory kindergarten education that effectively promotes physical, social, intellectual, emotional, and skills stimulation and values formation to sufficiently prepare them for formal education.
Luistro seconded that by saying “with the Kindergarten Education Act, DepEd believes that it can achieve more in delivering quality education to the school children in line with its commitment Millennium Development Goals on achieving Education for All (EFA) by the year 2015.”
Among the ten-point education agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the universal kindergarten program will prepare the young learners for the rigors of regular schooling. Specifically, the R.A. 10157 or the Kindergarten Education Act is important so that the program becomes a permanent stage in the school children’s school life without it being affected by changes in the political landscape.
R.A. 10157 or “An Act Institutionalizing the Kindergarten Education into the Basic Education System and Appropriating Funds Therefore” marks a milestone reached by the Aquino government – an achievement of one of the President’s education agenda four years ahead of the target year.
In 2011, DepEd has implemented the universal public kindergarten program for 5-year olds to give new entrants to basic education the proper preparation on the rigors of schooling as it continues to explore possibilities that will scale up basic education performance in the country. For the next school year, kindergarten education shall be made mandatory and compulsory for entrance to Grade 1.
As stated in the Act, kindergarten education shall apply to elementary school system being the first stage of compulsory and mandatory formal education. Thus, kindergarten will now be an integral part of the basic education system of the country.
Moreover, DepEd shall adopt the mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) method. The mother tongue of the learner shall be the primary medium of instruction for teaching and learning in the kindergarten level.
The Department of Education is reaching out to learners who are beyond the reach of the formal school system by inviting them to a summer class where lessons are delivered in an alternative mode using learning-friendly teaching strategies.
Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC said this initiative is part of the department’s move to make education accessible and inclusive of all learners. “We are calling on children and youth who have not been to school to attend this summer class which was specifically designed for them. This caters to all youths regardless of gender, physical, intellectual, social condition, and linguistic background, including high school drop-outs,” added Luistro.
The alternative delivery mode (ADM) summer program aims to provide more inclusive approaches and wider strategies to address concerns on access and quality of education in elementary and secondary levels.
Based on DepEd Memo No. 20, Luistro instructed all regional ADM teams to convene all division coordinators to launch a massive information dissemination campaign to reach the targeted summer class attendees.
“We are likewise enlisting the support of other education stakeholders such as the Parent Teachers Association, local government units, alumni associations as well as barangay personnel to help DepEd bring these learners to the summer class,” explained Luistro.
Registrations are conducted during the four Saturdays of February to give the department enough time to prepare the learning modules. “We are preparing the modified in-school, out-of- school approach (MISOSA) modules for elementary and the open high school program for secondary students,” Luistro pointed out.
In case of loss or inadequate registration documents, (elementary certificate of graduation, elementary card or high school report card of the last year attended) interested attendees should bring a certification from the LGU, and the local office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The certification shall express the willingness of the agency/institution to temporarily act as guardian and assist the prospective enrollees in the submission of the required documents.
Six Philippine high school students made history by reaching the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC) semi-final in Cape Town, South Africa in January this year, thereby emerging among the top four teams of the tournament.
Having participated since 2002, this was the furthest that any team from the Philippines had ever progressed. The team, composed of Joaquin Maria Bonoan Escano from PAREF Southridge School, Donald Felbaum and Nico Lorenzo Flaminiano from Xavier School, Rico Rey Francis Holganza, Jr., from PAREF Springdale School in Cebu, Sanjeev Parmanand from Ateneo de Zamboanga University High School, and Mariella Antoinette Salazar from International School Manila, finished 8th after 8 preliminary rounds of debating, with 6 wins – the highest ever for a team from the Philippines.
Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC extends his greetings to the Philippine team for the honor they have brought to the country. “I am truly pleased with the convergence of young people from different parts of the world to share their opinions on issues affecting their respective countries locally and globally. But more importantly, hats off to the Philippine team for showing the world the great potential of Filipino students,” said Luistro.
He added that the competition has been a golden opportunity for the world to hear and understand the youth’s views on topics that are often discussed only by the older generation – when the issues discussed shall most certainly affect the younger generation.
The team proved to be the tournament’s surprise package, earning the respect of judges and coaches all over the world, as they went on to defeat Canada (2010 champions) in the first round of the finals, and Singapore (2011 champions) in the quarter-finals. They were narrowly defeated in the semi-finals by eventual champions Scotland.
“The team put in a great amount of work, researching topics and practicing their debating, along with having to manage their schoolwork, and it’s good to see their effort and dedication rewarded,” said Sharmila Parmanand, a three-time Asian Champion debater and former member of the Ateneo de Manila Debate Society, who served as coach this year.
Kip Oebanda, a Philippine national champion and two-time Asian semi-finalist, who coached the Philippine team for the previous two championships, noted that this was the first team to field speakers from outside Manila, with a speaker each from Visayas and Mindanao.
“It’s exciting to see debate spreading across the country,” he said.
The Department of Education accepted yesterday the turn-over of school buildings complete with school equipment donated by a Japanese philanthropist who wants to build additional school buildings along the route of the infamous death march.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the donation is a concrete manifestation of healing from the ghastly memories of the past and of looking forward to a future with hope and positivism. “We thankfully accept this donation from R.K Shimizu (Nagasaki) Foundation, Inc. through its president Mr. Katsutoshi Shimizu whose mission is to help build dreams and bridge societies. We hope many will follow suit.” Luistro added.
The recipients of the donations were Bantan Elementary School in Orion, Bataan and Angelina Jimenez Elementary School in Capas, Tarlac. Both schools received a 2- classroom school building with toilet, a Japanese garden, 2 sets of computer units, 2 sets of LCD TV units, school uniform and classroom equipment including tables, chairs and chalkboards.
The donation program is lodged under DepEd’s Adopt-A-School program which invites the private sector to donate to public schools and help raise the quality of education.
Shimizu believes that the best way to pay back the government for more than 40 years of successfully doing business in the Philippines is to build classrooms and provide Filipino school children with a comfortable learning environment.
To date, the foundation has adopted and donated school buildings and the same set of school furniture to one school in Talisay and two schools in Calatagan, Batangas.
“The chairs and tables — donated by the Prefecture of Nagasaki where Shimizu hails – are designed not only to carry 5 times the weight of an adult person but also to protect school children in times of emergency,” said Luistro.
Shimizu, now 74, first visited the Philippines in 1969 and has since made good business in bringing to the Philippines used assorted ships/parts and Japanese technology. Having been in and out of the country more than 500 times, Shimizu considers the Philippines his second home.
To prove his commitment to help Philippine education Shimizu said he created the Shimizu foundation and ordered this son to continue his legacy even if he is gone.
Shimizu said he wants to become a private ambassador of friendship between Japan and the Philippines. “To become a beautiful rainbow where one end is in Japan and the other end is in the Philippines,” he quipped.
Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC expressed his confidence in the leadership of newly appointed Regional Secretary of DepEd Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Jamar Kulayan.
In a meeting held recently between the two education leaders, Luistro offered to Kulayan the full support of the DepEd national office. “We express strong confidence in the new DepEd ARMM administration. We offer our full support to their programs and new initiatives. This will be a good opportunity for us to work closer together, to be more collaborative, and have better coordination. All this is for the education of the children in Mindanao.”
Kulayan, on the other hand, assured his counterpart that they aim to make a difference and elevate the quality of education in ARMM. “We want to institutionalize reforms. We want to be able to say that ‘Mindanao is back in business.’ We have initiated the ‘Reform ARMM Movement’ in the regional government to implement critical reforms.”
While one is autonomous from the other, Luistro and Kulayan agree that this does not prevent them from sharing solutions to problems. “ARMM concerns are also DepEd concerns. ARMM concerns are concerns of the whole country,” both said.
Luistro expressed the national government’s appreciation of the efforts of the new leadership. “We salute the new leadership for the good things that are happening in ARMM,” he shared. “We wish to assure Secretary Kulayan and the DepEd ARMM family that we will help them achieve their goal to bring the quality of their personnel and service to higher standards.”
The DepEd ARMM team visited the education headquarters to exchange notes and familiarize themselves with the operations of the national office.
Among those discussed during the meeting are the administrative and operational procedures and organization of both agencies, their common and unique programs and projects, and ways to work together for the common goal of providing Education for All.
Right information can bring the right services.
This is the essence of the partnership between the Department of Education and the Ateneo School of Government under the checkmyschool.org, a website that provides information about the condition, services and facilities in public schools and how community stakeholders can pitch in.
By logging in to checkmyschool.org, the public can access a particular school’s budget, enrolment data, number of teaching personnel, furniture, textbooks, classrooms, toilets and information on test performance among others. The public may use the information to fill up resource gaps or provide inputs on how to better improve the delivery of education services.
“We welcome this partnership with checkmyschool because it helps us address resource gaps and other school concerns from information identified and double-checked by stakeholders. This is transparency at work and it is the public school which gets the benefit when such valuable information are made available to education stakeholders,” said Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC.
The partnership has already reached 14 areas across the country involving the training of 20 infomediaries or area coordinators who check the information provided by schools and counter-check them based on actual community validation. Information resulting from the validation activity is brought to the attention of concerned authorities/agencies.
According to Dondon Parafina, coordinator for checkmyschool, the project has so far served some 243 elementary and secondary schools in Manila, Benguet, Tacloban, Leyte, Dumaguete, Pagadian, North Cotabato, among others.
DepEd Assistant Secretary Reynaldo Laguda has expressed the department’s appreciation to this initiative which encourages a thorough review of the school system of record-keeping. “We look forward to not only continuing this partnership but also in making it work better for both parties,” he added.
As a result of the validation, 231 concerns have been reported and are being acted upon in DepEd Central office and 130 in local DepEd offices. Meanwhile, 129 issues have been forwarded to the local school boards and 143 to other education stakeholders.
The Department of Education announces the winners of the 2011 National Search for Outstanding Special Education (SPED) teachers and SPED centers across the country in recognition of their exemplary work in responding to the learning needs of children with learning disabilities or giftedness.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said these special needs teachers play a very important role in making Education For All (EFA) a reality. “Inclusive education means all learners including those who are differently-abled and we have the SPED teachers and centers nationwide to thank for their exemplary work,” Luistro said.
There were categories used to better classify and appreciate the different areas of exceptionalities such that there is an outstanding teacher for children with autism, hearing impairment, visual impairment, intellectual disability, learning disability and children with intellectual giftedness.
The national winners for SPED teachers teaching children with autism are Ma. Cristina Cardinal of Sta Ana Elementary School SPED Center, NCR, first place; Marife de Guzman of Tomana ES SPED Center, Pangasinan, second place; and Marilou Oliveros of Sinag SPED Center of Kalalake, Olongapo City, third place.
For SPED teachers for children with hearing impairment, first place winner is Salvacion Olinares of P. Gomez ES SPED Center, NCR; second place winner is Rosebeth Gabay of La Union SPED Center of San Fernando City, third placer is Mylene Cosico of Candelaria West SPED Center of Quezon.
For SPED teachers for children with visual impairment, first placer is Apolinaria Sun of West City Exceptional Child Learning Center of Dumaguete City; second placer is Estela Sembrano of M. Hizon ES SPED Center of NCR and third placer is Sheryll Ativo of Legazpi City SPED Center of Region 5.
Best SPED teachers for children with intellectual disability are Zoraida Gonzales, first place, of La Union SPED Center in Region 1; Evelyn Basa, second place, of Baguio City SPED Center; and Juliet Sepe Sonjaco of West City Exceptional Child Learning Center of Dumaguete City.
The winners for teachers handling children with learning disabilities are Flordelina Lee, first place, of Baguio City SPED Center; Myrakay Palana, second place, of Sto. Nino SPED Center in Tacloban City and Luz Cabogrin, third place, of Dipolog City SPED Center in Region 9.
For teachers teaching children with giftedness, first place winner is Lelibeth Duran of West City Exceptional Child Learning Center of Dumaguete City; second placer is Amcy Esteban of Legarda Es SPED Center of NCR and third placer is Aubrey Marie Oasay of Catalino Acosta Memorial ES SPED Center of Batac City in Region 1.
Meanwhile the country’s top three SPED Centers are Baguio City SPED Center, first place; Butuan City SPED Center, second place; and Angeles City SPED Center, third place.
The winners received a plaque of recognition each and cash prizes.
In preparation for the adoption of the new curriculum under the K to 12 program, the Department of Education is conducting the Test of English Proficiency (TEPT) and Process Skills Test (PST) in Science and Math to all Grades 1 and 2 public school teachers nationwide.
The tests, according to Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC, are part of DepEd’s assessment on the capability of public school teachers to teach the new curriculum under the K to 12 program. The Grade 1 and first year high school curriculum will debut when classes open in June 2012. “We want our teachers fully equipped when we introduce the new curriculum this school year,” he explained.
Luistro pointed out that the result of the TEPT and PST will serve as the basis for the kind of training and intervention the department will introduce this summer to fully prepare the teachers for the new curriculum.
The tests started in February 5 for NCR teachers. On Feb 12, teachers from CaLaBaRZon and MIMAROPA will take the tests; February 19 in Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley; February 26 for Regions 5 and 9; March 11 for Region 12; March 18 for Regions 6 and CARAGA; March 25 for Northern Mindanao and Davao Region; April 1 for Regions 7 and 8; April 15 for Central Luzon and CAR and April 22 for ARMM.
DepEd has jumpstarted the K to 12 program last year when it introduced the universal kindergarten program in all public schools. K to 12, as envisioned by DepEd, aims to produce high school graduates who have the competency to land a job and to be better prepared for college education and global opportunities.