Author Topic: Philippine education reform under poverty and scarcity  (Read 9771 times)


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Philippine education reform under poverty and scarcity
« on: October 03, 2010, 10:21:38 AM »
By Flor Lacanilao

The problems of basic education in the country have become worse despite various reform programs of past administrations. For example, one of them is the teacher problem—a shortage due to migration to developed countries. The usual remedy is massive training programs. But their number has even deceased because the training itself made them more qualified for working abroad. Hence, we have been training teachers to serve other countries.

These are among the observations of the husband-and-wife team of academic scientists Christopher and Ma.Victoria Bernido, this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awardees for education. As published physicists, they have shown that “Poverty and scarcity are no barriers to quality education.” Click this link to read the full text of their paper.

For example, they have shown that innovative teaching methods in basic education resulted in improved performance: “For our school, we have seen a marked increase in proficiency levels of our students, especially in science, math and reading comprehension. This is seen from their performance in college admissions tests and the National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE).”

Among the innovative changes they introduced are in the following areas:
1. Teacher problem – Bypassing the need for qualified teachers.
2. Textbook – Only one copy per class is needed.
3. Laboratory – No need for expensive lab equipment.
4. Teaching – Only 1/4 of the allotted class period.
5. Students – Not given homework.

With their continuing research work, the Bernidos foresee this: “We are expecting a profound transformation of educational systems and institutions within the early part of the present century.”

That statement, of course, assumes that academic scientists—that is, scientists who, like the Bernidos, are published in peer-reviewed international journals—are appointed to educational and science institutions in the Philippines. At present, none of these institutions have such leadership. Since these are basic institutions for development, President Benigno Aquino III can be the first Philippine president to start real national progress if he thinks about that conditional prediction seriously. Having the trust by many Filipinos who pin their last hope in him, he must not fail.

The government’s proposed reforms in basic education are not based in properly done studies. As in all previous reform programs in the country by academic nonscientists, the failure of the proposed program is easily predictable.

Dr. Flor Lacanilao obtained both his BS and MS in Zoology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman and his PhD, with specialization in comparative endocrinology, from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as professor and chairman of the Zoology Department at UP Diliman and chancellor of UP Visayas. He made pioneering discoveries in neuroendocrinology and led the research group that achieved the first spontaneous breeding of milkfish in captivity. As chief of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center in Iloilo, Philippines, he encouraged publication in peer-reviewed international journals, providing incentives that propelled the output of the center’s 50 all-Filipino research staff to world-class level. After retirement from the Marine Science Institute at UP Diliman, Dr. Lacanilao went on a crusade to improve Philippine research publications in science.