In spite of the changes brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) underscored the need for initiatives that will focus and respond to the needs of the education sector in the future.
Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, in a recent international virtual summit, stressed the need for futures thinking in education to adapt to the changes.
Speaking at the SEAMEO Congress 2021, Briones cited the Philippines’ effort in preparing the country’s education system for the challenges and opportunities for the years to come.
“Whether there would be COVID-19 or not, the dimension, landscape, and method of education—as well as society—have changed rapidly,” Briones said in her ministerial message.
In the Philippines, Briones, 80, introduced the formation of the Education Futures Programme which “would endeavor to perceive, see, and discern what will happen in education in the near, middle, and perhaps even the far future.”
This Unit, she explained, is the country’s “response to the need for futures thinking in education, for readiness to confront the rapid changes, the challenges, and opportunities of the future.”
With the theme “Transforming Southeast Asian Education, Science and Culture in the Digital Age,” the Congress highlighted the sustainable and social development of education in the region amidst digital transformation during the two-day virtual event.
Briones explained that COVID-19 has “changed the landscape of education forever” but Education Ministries or departments in Southeast Asia are “not sitting idly by at this critical conjuncture of our lives.”
She added that “while we close the gaps that COVID-19 widened, ensure that learning continues, and prevent further learning loss, we must also kick and leap into the future.”
This year’s Congress was organized by SEAMEO in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Malaysia, and the Ministry of Education, Thailand.
The event – which gathered over 15,000 participants from 65 countries – aimed to concretize transformative educational programs and promote more inclusive and innovative learning paradigms and education policies in the region.