By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
In the last three years of the Duterte administration, the Department of Education (DepEd) said that the schools that “need help” – particularly those located in far-flung areas – will be prioritized.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones underscored DepEd’s accomplishments, as well as the challenges, in providing access to basic education in the Pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Forum: Tatak ng Pagbabago 2019 held in Cebu City recently.
Briones shared that the strengthening of DepEd’s Last Mile Schools Program for geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA).
“During the three years last miles of President Duterte, we will do something about the 27,000 schools na kailangan pang tulungan,” she added.
Meanwhile, Briones also highlighted other accomplishments and challenges in basic education in the pre-SONA forum. “It is with great honor and privilege that I report to you that in the next three years under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, we will continue to address the remaining gaps and challenges [in education],” Briones said in vernacular during the forum spearheaded by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
Briones also shared that participation rate in “formal education has significantly improved” and that the DepEd is working from “enhancing access to improving the quality of basic education” – as mandated by the Constitution.
For instance, Briones cited the DepEd’s move to strengthen the National Educators’ Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) to “capacitate teachers.” She also noted the efforts of the department to “instill critical thinking” among learners.
“Critical analysis is to study and analyze problems and find solutions – this is what we teach our high school students,” Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino. She also recalled the group of public school students who participated and won awards in the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, Arizona.
Representatives from the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster (HDPRC) and Participatory Governance Cluster (PGC) discussed their efforts to provide every Filipino broader access to education, employment, healthcare, and government services.
Also present in the event were Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista, who delivered updates on the HDRPC; Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Officer-in-Charge Janet Abuel who discussed updates on participatory governance.
With the theme “Patuloy na Pag-unlad at Malasakit,” the Cebu event is the second of the three-part forum in preparation for the President’s 4th SONA on July 22. The series provides a platform for discussion of policies and programs implemented in the past three years.