PHILIPPINE schools can achieve global competitiveness and sustainability by 2015, in time for the planned Asean integration, according to Carol Porio, executive director of Funds for Assistance to Private Education (FAPE).
But Porio said that the quality of teaching depends on the political leaders and teachers.
“We need leaders who have passion for education and a political will. Of course, we also need good teachers,” she said during the last leg of this year’s National Education Conference which aims to discuss the preparedness of Philippine schools to respond to the challenges of the integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2015.
“Marami tayong dapat gawin, assessment for students’ performance and assessment on teacher qualification (We have a lot of things to do),” she added.
Porio noted that leadership training for teachers is critical in the improvement of education.
“We must have a retooling program for the teachers and scholarships for them,” she said.
The FAPE official also stressed that all schools should adopt the national qualification framework to ensure that the programs and courses they offer will adhere to quality standards.
Porio said the government should provide more funds for education if they want to become globally competitive.
“Funding is very essential. We cannot achieve this if we only have limited funds and resources,” she added.
But for Cristina Manabat, president of the Harris Memorial College in Taytay, Rizal, it will be difficult for the Philippines to compete globally. She said that the Asean integration poses challenges that schools will have to prepare for to remain competitive and viable.
“Other Asean countries have already prepared for this. The Philippines is cramming because of the short span of time, and it’s very difficult on our part because it’s all in the name of global competition. It’s hard to compete,” Manabat said.
“My thought is that, if the Philippines would really improve itself in terms of good services, infrastructures and everything – we can attract other people from other countries like Asean countries. We can be competitive if we have good services and if we invest in national industrialization which would benefit for the most vulnerable Filipino people,” she added.
Manabat said it would be hard for the Philippines to compete globally especially now that enrolment in private schools is decreasing.
“Sa higher education pinakamalaki ang percentage ng private schools compared with the public schools and yet very little lang ang support ng government,” she said.
Asia Society Senior Adviser for Education Vivien Stewart, who was the keynote lecturer in the Philippine Education Conference, said the Philippines should adopt effective ways to a high-performing system.
Stewart said that in order to develop a world-class education system, the Philippines should have a clear vision or prediction.
“I think the first thing is there have to be a long term vision about the need to change in the education. It’s about a need to educate children with a high standard in a very rapidly change. Secondly, you need to sustain leadership because it takes more than a year to change the education system. Thirdly, you need to have ambitious standard because what would a great education 20 years ago will not children in the future,” she said.
In her book, A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation, Stewart pointed out that “all countries face challenges in adapting their education systems to the vast transformations taking place around the world,” but a number of countries have had success in improving their schools and consequently become the world’s top-performing systems.
She cited Shanghai/ Hong Kong, Singapore, Finland, Canada, Japan, Australia/ New Zealand, and Korea as countries that have the best school systems in the 21st century.