Showing posts from July, 2012

Does DepEd Need PAGASA? A Tale of Two Visions

Forecasting is difficult. There are so many variables necessary to predict the future. While the United States has the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Philippines has the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). One acronym sounds like a character from Genesis while the other is the Tagalog word for hope. This maybe appropriate since, for some, hope is actually a readiness to whatever may happen in the future.  Reforming education is in a way similar to the challenges faced by climate and weather forecasters. The phrase "21st Century Learning" connotes tailoring the schools to meet the anticipated needs of the new century. Education is indeed very much about the future. Reforming education thus requires a vision. DepEd's K to 12 is advertised as a response to what other countries have done with their basic education. The claim of being left behind by other countries forms the very first rationale …

On Human Rights, Linguistic Rights, and Mother-Tongue Based Multilingual Education

These words are huge and complex. Each one represents a value, an expression of importance. These are supposedly beacons to guide priorities. Justice, one of the seven values that guided Finland's education reform, is another big word. And in Pasi Sahlberg's words, this entailed "Attaining the goal of offering equal opportunities to a quality education for all has required creating and maintaining a socially just school network."

"Education for All" encompasses all the words in the title of this post. It is the yardstick that must be used to gauge education reforms in the Philippines, including DepEd's K to 12. It must be the primary objective, the rule that should set priorities. When DepEd spends money, time and effort on advertising its new curriculum in shopping malls, one should ask if these efforts are indeed in line with the priorities set by "Education for All".  When DepEd institutes the use of the mother tongue as medium of instruct…

DepEd K to 12: "Must Have" versus "Could Do"

In line with the old cliche "First Things First" is the distinction between "Must" and "Could". The adage may be old and worn out, but it still helps in understanding complex systems such as education. While the rest of the world have focused on standards, tests and a massive overhaul of curriculum, successful countries in education like Finland simply worked with seven guiding principles: Depth, Length, Breadth, Justice, Diversity, Resourcefulness and Conservation. This perspective sets Finland apart from other countries. Finland chose to define the "Must Have's" and in the process, its schools were able to realize what they "Could Do."

One can easily contrast this with the Philippines DepEd's K to 12 approach, a glaring example of micromanagement. Sheila Lacanaria writes a comment on this blog:
"In the Science K+12 Curriculum Guide, it is stated: 'Rather than relying solely on textbooks, varied hands-on, minds-on…

Focus First on the Early Years

Educational research faces similar challenges as clinical studies of a drug. There are ethical concerns, for example. If a drug is indeed capable of curing cancer, why should a study be designed such that one group receives the experimental drug while another set gets placebo. Research on learning can raise similar questions. If a method is indeed promising, why not expose all the pupils to the new scheme then? The challenges, however, even go farther than these. Medical research can go as detailed as designing molecules for targets on a computer simulation. Potential drugs can be screened and an atomic resolution of the interactions responsible can be obtained. The mechanism of how exactly a drug works can be elucidated. And slowly but surely, these studies can go from a computer screen, to a test tube, a petri dish, a mouse model, and up to primates to mimic as closely as possible the environment and circumstances. Education occurs in the real world so educational research demands r…

ICT and DepEd K to 12: Different Angles, Same Conclusion

“My challenge to you is to think about how to place the evolution of learning technologies in comparison with the progress from technology‑aided theater to cinema and beyond. It’s almost inevitable that a new technology would be first used by grafting it onto existing practices. Thus, the computer gives rise to computer‑assisted teaching and the Internet to online teaching. In principle, these concepts are equivalent to technology-aided theater.”
-Seymour Papert
"Seymour Papert is a mathematician and one of the early pioneers of artificial intelligence. In addition, he is internationally recognized as the seminal thinker regarding computers and pedagogy for children. A mathematician by training, his collaboration with Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva led him to consider using mathematics in the service of understanding how children can learn and think"

I recently read from an email that the Philippines is currently looking for a well-published researcher to advise on de…

Simple Mathematics

Benjo Basas
Pilipino Mirror

Kamakailan ay inihayag ng ating pangulo ang kanyang ikatlong State of the Nation Address (SONA)- taunang pag-uulat ng pangulo hinggil sa kalalagayan ng bansa. Subalit mas madalas, ito ay pag-uulat ng mga nagawa at mga plano pang gawin ng nakaupong adminstrasyon. Kumbaga sa mag-aaral, ito ang kanyang report card. 

Ayaw ko nang talakayin pa ang hinggil sa ibang sektor, sa edukasyon na lamang tayo magpokus. May ilan ding talata mula sa 8, 000 salitang nilalaman ng SONA ang inilaan ng pangulo sa sektor na ito. Nakatutuwang isiping napakaraming problema sa edukasyon ang iniulat ng pangulo na naresolba at mareresolba sa ilalim ng kanyang administrasyon. Nariyan ang kakulangan sa mga upuan sa public schools, ang kulang na mga libro at ang malaking kakulangan sa silid-aralan. Hindi man ganap na naresolba ay nabawasan naman nang husto ang ating shortages. At inaasahang makakamit ang ‘zero backlog’ sa pagtatapos ng 2013. Kung paano ito gagawin, hindi pa malinaw.

Subalit …

DepEd's K to 12 Misses the Real Difference: Teachers' Salaries

There are three years left before the United Nations Millennium Develeopment Goal of Education for All. Philippine columnists continue to emphasize how much the country needs to catch up with the world with regard to basic education. DepEd's K to 12 has always been advertised as an effort to meet global standards. There is a rush in addition. In 2015, there is the anticipated free labor market among the members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). In this light, DepEd's K to 12 has been heralded as a response to the future union of countries in the region, a product of a comparative study with the country's neighbors.

Soliven writes in a recent column, "Only 3 years left to reach UN Millennium Development Goal 2015":
...Last year 2011, Dr. Ethel Agnes Valenzuela, the senior specialist and current Research Director of SEAMEO-INNOTECH was commissioned by DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to do a comparative study of the K to 12 Education in Southeas…

On DepEd's K to 12 Fuzzy Math and Logic

We all probably need to take remedial classes in mathematics. Numbers are indeed intricate pieces of information. What numbers represent is important. What operations are performed is equally significant. The numbers used to describe the current state of Philippine basic education can guide the nation on what needs to be done. With fuzziness, however, numbers can also mislead.

Shortages in the Philippine public school system that are described in numbers and reported in the news can be conflicting. But the shortages, as seen in photographs and as directly experienced by pupils, teachers and parents, are very clear. Somehow, the pictures we see become fuzzy as we apply numbers to describe the situation. Take, for example, the shortage in teachers. Pick a number. Some say 61,000. While others cite 47,000. And there are reports that claim 132,483 (this one is even stated to the ones' place). 74,178, this is another number floating around. Why different numbers? The difference lies i…