"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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Why a centralized Department of Education fails.

A centralized organization for public school education may sound more efficient but challenges in schools are often local. One example is teacher shortage in the United States. The National Council on Teacher Quality reports, "In some places in America, there are shortages--some of them quite severe. In other places, there are not. The biggest problems the nation faces are chronic shortages of some kinds of teachers (e.g. STEM, special education)." Clearly, to address such problems, solutions need not be at the national level but more at the local level. The Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines illustrates why a centralized system fails to meet local needs. The Philippine Senate recently scolded DepEd for failing to use tens of billions of pesos in its 2016 budget.

Above copied from the Inquirer

Affected by this unspent budget are teaching positions, textbooks, provision and maintenance of basic education facilities, and many more. Shortages in Philippine public schools are well known. This past school year, Anne Marxze D. Umil enumerated the following:
13,995 classrooms, 88,267 teachers; 235 million instructional and other learning materials; 2.2 million school seats for 2016 and 66,492 sets – each seat with 45 seats and 1 teacher’s desk; and 44,538 computer packages.
The lack of learning materials has become a burden not only to students but teachers.

Schools need local attention. It appears that someone in the central air-conditioned office at DepEd can not really pay attention to the needs of students in schools. The central office failed to spend more than 30 billion pesos while its regional offices had unspent funds amounting to 12 billion. There seems to be no sense of urgency.




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