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On Basic Education Reform

Philippines, education, reform, school, teacher, student

Education is fundamental in embracing the quality of human life and ensuring social and economic progress. The principal institutional mechanism for developing human skills and knowledge is the formal educational system.

Most third world nations believe that the rapid quantitative expansion of educational opportunities is the key to national development. Philippines is one of these countries committed to the goal of universal quality education for all. Thus, the Department of Education envisions every learner to be functionally literate, equipped with life skills, appreciative of the arts and sports, and imbued with the desirable values of a person who is makabayan (nationalistic), makatao (humane), makakakalikasan (environment-conscious) at maka-Diyos (God-loving).

In line with this vision, the Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS) has the mission to provide quality basic education that is equitably accessible to all, and to lay the foundation for lifelong learning and service for the common good. Given this mission and the economic condition of our country there is an urgent need for the Philippines Basic Education Curriculum Reform.

A curriculum develops through a dynamic process and is subject to periodic evaluation, which produces recommendation for modifications or even major changes. A process of reviewing the curriculum of the Philippines basic education started in 1997, which took into consideration both worldwide trends and Philippine realities.

Curriculum design or reform must be relevant and responsive to the rapidly changing world. In this fast-changing world—because of instantaneous communication and mass transport today—a distant event can have immediate impact on a certain community whose response can also influence the unfolding of an event. Our world has become inseparably global and local at the same time.

We are living more and more in a world in which we filter all kinds of information and news from afar and near places and we act on the basis of that filtering process everyday. Our world is increasingly constituted by information, and is one in which we have to take many forward-oriented decisions. Contemporary Filipino learners are confronted with an explosion of knowledge and they have to take stock of daily barrage of data and commentaries from afar and near sources.

This process of filtering a variety of information however, does not necessarily involve the exercise of profound thinking, and some of the items that impress contemporary learners are trivial, irrelevant, misleading or even dehumanizing. How can Filipino learners take advantage of the explosion of knowledge so that they can secure a life of dignity in the family, in our society, and in the community of nations?

How can they discern the essential from the trivial, or the humanizing from the dehumanizing, with the lowly barrage of information? How can they sort out from the changing mass of information the knowledge and values to become global citizens yet still retain a firm commitment to help Philippine society become more just and humane?

We have to educate the Filipino learners to filter information critically, seek credible sources of knowledge, and use data and facts creatively so that they survive, overcome poverty, raise their personal and national self-esteem, and realize a gracious life in our risky new world. This is a world that has become borderless to information, commodities, financial investments, crime and ecological problems.

To actualize a gracious life in our changing world, Filipino learners need an educational system that empowers them to be competent in learning how to learn anywhere even when left to themselves. Lifelong learning meets the challenges posed by a rapidly changing world, but it is nearly impossible today for anybody without functional literacy, which includes essential skills like linguistic fluency and scientifically-numerical competence. Thus learners must attain functional literacy, via Basic Education Curriculum Reform.
Published: 2006-04-29
Author: Royce Ambrocio

About the author or the publisher
The author has been writing professionally for 10 years now across various industries: TV, print, advertising, and online commerce. He has done scripts for TV, feature articles in magazines and newspapers and copywriting for consumer, tranport and service companies.

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