"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Right at the Very Beginning, the Philippines' DepEd Misses What Really Counts in Education

If we do not understand the problem, we can never solve it. If we keep denying what the real problem is, we likewise can not find the appropriate solution. This applies for example to solving problems at the end of the chapter in a chemistry textbook. In fact, the error is glaringly clear when the mistake is committed right at the very first step. It is obvious when a student fails to understand the problem. Problems in Philippine basic education are no different. These need to be understood first. Unfortunately, the head of the education department Armin Luistro makes a gross mistake about education. And it happened right at the very beginning:


It is amazing that just hours ago, Pope Francis tweeted the following:


Perhaps, Pope Francis does know something about what is really important in education. After all, research is quite clear on what reforms are behind the successful educational systems in the world. Perhaps, Pope Francis is aware of how Fullan and Pomfret started their article, "Research on Curriculum and Instruction Implementation", in the journal Review of Educational Research. They began their article with a quote from Charles Francis Adams, Jr., director of the Union Pacific Railway in 1884:
"No matter what sort of bill you have, everything depends upon the men who, so to speak, are inside of it, and who are to make it work. In the hands of the right men, any bill would produce the desired results."
Or maybe, Pope Francis is aware of the McKinsey Report in 2007 authored by Michael Barber and Mona Mourshed, "How the world's best-performing school systems come out on top". That report has quite a catchy Table of Contents:


Number one is teacher. Number two is teaching. And number three is equity. The report provides some sort of a guide in reforming education:

The above report does neglect the contributions to learning outcomes from home, but there are plenty of articles out there that point to the importance of poverty. Still, there is no doubt that the second most important factor in the school is the teacher, followed by resources. 

But Pope Francis is probably simply speaking from the heart. I am sure a lot of people who do not have access to research articles on education would have never thought that teachers are not crucial to solving problems in basic education. Only those who have chosen to be blind are unable to see the truth.





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