Saturday, July 18, 2009

New MLE DepEd Order

Thank God that the new MLE DepED order is now finally signed! You can download it from the DepEd Website

Saturday, July 4, 2009

EFA 2015: The Grand Alliance strategy

Below is an article written by someone I deeply respect and admire for his passion and hard work in promoting EDUCATION in the real sense of the word. He was part of the Philippine delegation in the launching of EFA in Jomtien. In our TEDP loop, he lamented the fact that instead of becoming education for all, EFA has virtually been perceived and implemented as "schooling for all."

The constant school drop out rate (out of 10 grade one entrants, 4 of them won't finish grade six) over the past 30 years indicates that we need to think beyond schooling to make all our citizens functionally literate. In reality, various groups are promoting functional literacy tho they do not call it as such. They include cooperatives where members learn "business math" as they compute their patronage refund and interests of their savings. AVON and Natasha ladies strengthen their reading and computing skills through those colorful catalogues. Bible sharing groups read and analyze verses and engage in lively debates. Bgy health workers teach women to read medicine labels and read and interpret thermometers. Junk shops or environmentalist groups teach their collectors various classification of recyclable materials, including alternative ways to measure quantity and quality. These groups are more effective in promoting functional literacy because reading and writing are done in a particular context of need (usually economic in nature). They are also not bound by an English Only policy and therefore free to use the mother tongue and popular education methods. They are not confined in a classroom (where things are represented by drawings) but they are in places (like junkshops/MRF) where they can actually handle the real thing. Compare those groups to the traditional literacy classes where participants are stigmatized as they are labeled as illiterates.

These beyond schooling educators are to supposed to join the grand alliance for EFA. I suppose this might take quite a process since they have to know that they are actually doing functional literacy programs (and not just promoting cooperativism or environmental awareness, or what some groups call "life skills").

A backgrounder of Education For All (EFA)--

EFA is a global movement led by UNESCO, aiming to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015. The movement was launched in 1990 at the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand. There, representatives of the international community (155 countries, as well as representatives from some 150 organizations) agreed to "universalize primary education and massively reduce illiteracy by the end of the decade". In 2000, ten years later, the international community met again in Dakar, Senegal, and took stock of many countries being far from having reached this goal. They affirmed their commitment to achieving Education for All by the year 2015, and identified six key measurable education goals which aim to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015.

The six goals are:

* Goal 1: Expand early childhood care and education
* Goal 2: Provide free and compulsory primary education for all
* Goal 3: Promote learning and life skills for young people and adults
* Goal 4: Increase adult literacy by 50 per cent
* Goal 5: Achieve gender parity by 2005, gender equality by 2015
* Goal 6: Improve the quality of education

Inquirer Opinion / Columns

Commentary : EFA 2015: The Grand Alliance strategy

By Napoleon B. Imperial
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: July 04, 2009

Almost 10 years since the inception of the second decade of the Education For All movement and with just six years left before it closes in 2015, I just discovered how little most people in the country’s education community know about EFA. What is startling is that the innocence afflicts those who are supposed to be in the inner circle of the movement of what is supposed to be the EFA Grand Alliance at the national and sub-national levels.

You might have been wondering how different it is from the day-to-day business of the Department of Education (DepEd) in general and basic education in particular.

I hope that the following foreword I have written for the Mid-Decade Monitoring and Evaluation Report in 2007 will shed more light and deepen everyone’s perspectives. Beyond mere understanding, the new perspective of delivering what for whom may spur some thinking and action for innovating basic education so that it will be enjoyed by and benefit all.

Attaining functional literacy in the country in the next 10 EFA years is not just about schools and schooling. It is about education. In line with the World Declaration on Education for All embodied in both the Jomtien Declaration and the Dakar Framework, we would like to meet the totality of the so-called Basic Learning Needs (BLNs) of Filipinos of all ages and circumstances. This is to be pursued within EFA’s “expanded vision of education” in a manner that will fulfill our people’s basic human right.

This is not the usual type of educational planning. Our EFA 2015 Plan of Action’s significance to the country and the international education community lies more in its being a document of political will, imagination and creativity that should address long-persistent problems of basic education. This is about harnessing technical change or new ways of doing things that have been proven valid, feasible and desirable in the past in order that the marginalized, those outside or shut out of school system, those in danger of getting out of the school system, special groups and gender disadvantaged may be redeemed and prevented from further marginalization.

The school remains as the backbone of our educational delivery system. We would like to improve on it as the conventional venue for teaching and learning. However, for all the natural limitations and social and financial constraints of the school system to attract, enroll and keep children in schools, EFA 2015 is a time to maximize the use of educational innovations and technology, both simple and appropriate or advance, where applicable, to reach out to and keep more children and enable them to learn better. This way, we can move toward universalizing quality primary education and making secondary education more accessible to all.

Schooling need not be the end and sole venue for acquiring functional skills needed for life. We realized during the past 15 years since EFA 1 that if we would depend on the schools alone, we would not be able to provide education to All educable Filipinos. Thus, consistent with the EFA vision, it is also our intention to deliver or cause to deliver the BLNs via the non-school modalities. Those who cannot be accommodated in schools or choose learning outside the classroom have the Alternative Learning System or ALS as an option for our youths and adults from all social classes. With ALS, they can utilize their prior learning and go on learning and be empowered by the basic but useful competencies to survive and develop themselves for greater upward social mobility.

Whether in school or out of school, such learning shall be delivered with quality assurance anchored on the Philippine concept of “functionality.” With this as the hallmark of the plan, gaining “life skills” will be afforded to all Filipino learners.

The Department of Education, thankfully, is not alone in the pursuit of this goal and provision of the BLNs for all. Full partnership with the key stakeholders, particularly those responsible for delivery, planning and funding, is operationalized under the Grand Alliance for EFA prescribed by the World Declarations. Hence, a new way of looking at and counting, allocating and mobilizing financial and non-monetary resources has been launched under EFA. These processes will be orchestrated under one strategy and governance so that with the comprehensive set of old and new monitoring and evaluation indicators attuned to the educational objectives, the synchronized efforts will bring out commonly desired results preferably at the scheduled time.

Lastly and with a sense of humility, EFA 2015 and its Grand Alliance strategy behoove learning from and capitalizing on the past experiences of our successes, pitfalls and inadequacies. Through this strategy, we hope to ensure continuity, coherence of purpose and complementation of efforts regardless of management and administrations until the year 2015.

(Napoleon B. Imperial ( is former assistant coordinator of the EFA Project Management Team and an education reform advocate.)