“Pursue Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education”, COCOPEA tells members

Article/News by: Arnel L. Cadeliña, MBA, RREA
Date Posted: February 22, 2016

Close to a thousand educators and academic leaders gathered last February 18-19, 2016 at Novotel Araneta Center, Quezon City for the 6th Coordinating Council of Private Educational Association (COCOPEA) National Congress. The COCOPEA, as the leading voice of private education, themed the 2-day congress as “ Road Map for Philippines Education: Pursuing Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education, Lifelong Human Flourishing and Sustainable Development”.

Bro. Armin Luistro FSC, Secretary of Department of Education, delivered the keynote address by sharing a summary report done by his Department. Focusing on the Public Policy and Legislative Agenda on Quality Education, Secretary Luistro, reiterated that the most critical reforms done by the DepEd were the partnership with the private sector and the kindergarten reform. He shared that “the most difficult were the implementation of the mother-tongue approach for the primary grades of which an assessment test are not yet standardized”. Secretary Luistro reminded the COCOPEA delegates to “encourage parents in their respective area of influence to enroll their children in primary education” because around 610,000 drop-outs happened before reaching grade 2 level. The school, he added, “should spearhead the balancing the sense of co-responsibility of parents and the environment”. Secretary Luistro also shared that “the government increased subsidies to private school up to the tune of P 21 billion” . In terms of DepEd accomplishments, he added that “around 300,000 incoming Grade 11 will be beneficiaries of SHS vouchers. 10,440 schools will offer senior high school for S.Y. 2016-2017 of which 4,998 are private high schools”. Secretary Luistro reminded the delegates that “the student skills should be aligned in the Philippine Qualification Framework because employment now talks about skills of applicants and less where the student graduate”. In closing, Secretary Luistro, proposed two directions for DepEd of which COCOPEA should support: first an Institutionalized National Assessment should be implemented for those ending Grade 6, Grade 10 and Grade 12 and second an International Large Scale Assessment called Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) starting 2018 for Grade 8 that will be given every 4 years and Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) for Grade 10 to be given every 3 years.

Dr. Terero S. Tullao, Jr., of DLSU Institute for Economic and Business Education shared his keynote address in a very amusing way by delivering Economic and Business Concepts in Filipino. By saying “Kung sino ang nakikinabang siya ang dapat magbayad” because according to him education is a public good, no exclusivity, offered benefits to the individual and support should depend on kind and scope. He added, “Sa mga graduates ng public and state colleges kung kayo ang lilipad lamang sa ibang bansa, nararapat lamang na kayo ay magbayad ng inyong edukasyon”. Mr. Tullao added that “social benefits education is greater in basic education therefore the government should fund the basic education”. He also mentioned that “COCOPEA member schools should produce trainable graduates who are good in research”. Mr. Tullao, in his passionate voice said that “Ang mahuhusay na guro ay dapat tumanggap ng sweldo na angkop sa kanilang kakayahan”. These teachers, according to him, should be supported by giving scholarships because they are the one who will help transform the students.

Ms. Rhodora Angela F. Ferrer, Executive Director, Private Education Assistance Committee -Funds for the Assistance to Private Education (PEAC-FAPE) provided updates on the Education Service Contracting Vouchers (ESC) wherein she said that her office is very aggressive on re-certification of school to ensure compliance with the minimum standards set by the Department of Education in the implementation of the voucher program. Ms. Ferrer reminded the COCOPEA delegates that the Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC) is organizing the regional orientation for all ESC schools and licensed SHS providers that will participate in the SHS Voucher Program for the implementation of the programs in 2016-2017.

She said that the orientation for 4A is on May 20-21, 2016. The first day of the orientation is for the SHS VP Guidelines and Voucher Management System (SHS VMS). The second day is for the ESC and TSS Program Guidelines and Information Management System (ESC IMS). Target participants of the orientation are the school heads, coordinators for ESC and SHS, and IT personnel. School representatives who will attend the orientation should register online from February 22 to March 8, 2016. Ms. Ferrer said that “all schools will be in the VMS, will be provided an online assess, a password directly given to school and payment will be made through Land Bank of the Philippines and the payment will be 2 within a year and voucher values for one school year”.

Ms. Ferrer also invites private schools that will offer senior high school to attend a three-day training for teachers who will handle the Grade 11 core subjects. The training is designed to expand teacher tools in the classroom, encourage reflection of practice through continuous feedback and mentoring, and demonstrate excellent teaching practices through hands-on workshops. The training is in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP). The schedule and venue for Region IV-A is April 21-23 at De La Salle Lipa, Lipa City, Batangas.

After Ms. Ferrer’s sharing, Commissioner Ma. Cynthia Rose B. Bautista of the Commission of Higher Education, presented the revised Graduate Scholarships for HEI Faculty and Staff in the K-12 transition period. She said that CHED will now accept nomination for Masteral and Doctoral scholarships by April 1, 2016 and that the new age limit is 52 years old for those who will pursue their master’s degree and 50 years old for doctoral degree. The stipend were also increased by giving P20,000/month for master degree and P28,000/month for doctoral degree pursuers.

Dr. Reynaldo Vea, President, Mapua Institute of Technology tackled on concurrent session A the topic “Leading change: Effective leadership at the Time of the K to 12” wherein he mentioned that “Senior High School will hit our bottom line, will lessen our revenues and will affect our personnel”. Dr. Vea added that strategic plans of schools should be adjusted for Senior High School and that “Senior High School is both an opportunity and threat that we should focus on strengthening our strengths such as hiring good faculty, improving infrastructure, focusing on in-house research, work on educational materials and administrative systems such as international accreditation”. He further emphasized that the challenge now is how to be credible in international arena and how our graduates will perform in international stage. “In my view”, Dr. Vea ended, “we should improve our entire educational system and work together to improve for our graduates to be globally competitive”.

A reaction was made by Dr. Luis Maria R. Calingo, President of Holy Angel University, wherein he stated that “once we produced the best graduates of Grade 12 the possibility that other countries will recruit them to enroll in their tertiary institution will be high which will give us a diminishing number of talents”. He added that “the pursuit of international accreditation will be the new normal”. “In order for tertiary institutions to be prepared”, Dr. Calingo emphasized, “ we should focus on four areas: Vision for us to craft school direction, Understand for us get fresh perspectives, Clarity for us make sense of chaos and Agility for us to render quick innovation, make decision and succeed must faster”. In his clarification about challenges and obstacles faced by educators, Dr. Calingo gave three main thoughts: we have to arrest the devolution of Liberal Arts, we have to be agile in order to train our students to be creative in a multi-disciplinary environment and the regulatory environment should foster future needs starting by making the playing fields between public and private schools equal. Dr Calingo ended his reaction by saying “at the end of the day it is all about students”.

In the press conference attended by Dean Cadeliña, COCOPEA President Bro. Narciso Erquiza, Jr said “the private schools need support from the government and we deserve the same kind of assistance that they give to the public sector”. Government support according to COCOPEA should include financial assistance to raise the salary of teachers in the private sector and funding for the continuing education of teachers who wish to pursue graduate studies and scholarships of students enrolled in the private schools.

The participation of Sacred Heart College in the COCOPEA conference was made possible through the vision and leadership of Sr. Josefina Quiachon, DC.

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