Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell and Philippine education officials opened recently the Assessment, Curriculum and Technology Research Centre (ACTRC).
Located at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Education building in Diliman, Quezon City, the facility will focus on research in support of the Philippines’ implementation of the K to 12 program, which is covered by a law recently signed by President Aquino.
Tweddell, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Commission on Higher Education Commissioner Cynthia Bautista, UP president Alfredo Pascual, other education officials and members of the academe attended ACTRC’s opening.
The Australian government gave the P150-million grant for the establishment of the center in support of the country’s basic education reform program.
ACTRC will focus on curriculum development, school assessment and the application of technology in upgrading the education system.
“Australia strongly supports the Philippine government’s efforts in implementing the
K to 12 program. Investing in a quality education system will provide better opportunities for all and a pathway out of poverty for the most disadvantaged,” Tweddell said in a statement.
ACTRC will bring together the Philippines’ and Australia’s top research institutions—the UP College of Education and the University of Melbourne’s Assessment Research Centre— in “grounded research and evaluation activities in the areas of assessment, curriculum and technology as they relate to the implementation of the Philippine government’s K to 12 program.”
Through grant-funding, the Australian Agency for International Development would support the center’s first three years of operation, the Australian embassy said.
“Australia shares the Philippine government’s vision that K to 12, if implemented well, will bring the Philippines’ school system closer to international standards. The interaction of curriculum, assessment and the use of technology are important facets of a successful education program,” Tweddell said.
“The curriculum is the blueprint of an education system. Assessment provides a picture of where we are in that blueprint today. Technology enables the curriculum to respond to the needs of the 21st century,” he added.
K to 12 is the Aquino administration’s flagship education reform program that aims to improve the quality of Philippine high school graduates by spreading the clogged 10-year curriculum over 12 years.
In essence, the program hopes to give Filipino youth longer time to learn and prepare for life after basic education, whether they hope to go on to college or find employment after graduating from high school.
“The University of Melbourne and its Graduate School of Education is proud to be associated with this major initiative to inform the Philippines’ education and research communities. The center will provide an opportunity to put into practice evidence-based research outcomes through its collaborative activities with the Philippines’ Department of Education,” said Professor Field Rickards, dean of the Graduate School of Education of the University of Melbourne.
UP College of Education dean Rosario Alonzo said the facility and the collaboration it allowed would help promote the professional development of the UP faculty.
“This is crucial to the university’s (UP) fulfillment of its mandate as a research university,” she said.