While access to education is important, the government should focus on improving the quality of education and training in the country.
This was pointed out by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) President Aniceto Orbeta Jr. during a knowledge-sharing forum jointly organized by PIDS and the Socioeconomic Research Portal for the Philippines Network recently.
To do this, Orbeta emphasized the importance of generating, reporting, and discussing data on education quality and performance in formulating related policies and plans.
“For example, how do we improve our performance in classes? We should not be afraid of looking at the outcome of our exam scores because these will tell us how much we have learned,” Orbeta explained.
He added that the country should face its education issues “squarely” and ask for help from various stakeholders because “test scores are a problem of both schools and households.” The contribution of the private sector should also be maximized.
Meanwhile, given the COVID-19 pandemic, Orbeta said the education sector should continue to adapt to flexible learning. However, he emphasized the need for more interaction between teachers and their students.
“In basic education, or maybe in [technical and vocational education and training] as well, we see that online [learning] does not work because most of our students are [still reliant] on paper-based learning,” Orbeta said.
He recommended using other means of technology to make learning more interactive. For instance, teachers could be provided with cellphone load so “they can talk to the students and interact [with them] as they read their paper module”.
“Online [learning] will only serve the richer ones who have [internet] access at home but not most of our public schools,” Orbeta said, adding that the education sector should be strategic in using technology.
Moreover, he urged the government to address equity issues in the education sector, with policies specifically targeted at the poor.
The culture of research and development (R&D) and innovation in the country should also be developed, according to Orbeta.
“It is a complex thing to do, but we should build our R&D systems,” Orbeta said. ###
You may watch the forum here.