What ails PH education? 23 experts go into deep dive
MANILA, Philippines — National Scientist Dr. Carmencita Padilla, former Education Undersecretary Dr. Dina Ocampo, and former Far Eastern University president Dr. Michael Alba are leading a select group of 23 scholars who will go on a deep dive into what ails the country’s education system and chart a road map to its recovery.
Collectively, they were named Uppeja fellows under an agreement signed in June between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Second Congressional Commission on Education (Edcom 2). Uppeja stands for “UP President Edgardo J. Angara,” who is also a former Senate President and statesman who died in 2018.
The 23 Uppeja fellows will be writing 19 research studies tackling priority areas identified by Edcom 2, a congressional body created through Republic Act No. 11899 that is tasked to undertake a comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the performance of the Philippine education sector.
‘Power of research’
The 23 fellows were announced on Tuesday in a program attended by UP president Angelo Jimenez, Edcom 2 co-chairs Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian and Rep. Roman Romulo, and Edcom 2 Commissioners Senators Sonny Angara, Pia Cayetano, and Joel Villanueva, with members of the Angara family led by Gloria Angara.
“My father (the late UP president) really wanted to recruit student leaders from all persuasions, from all sides of the political spectrum. He was really a believer in the power of research,” Sen. Angara said.
The fellowship will award P500,000 for each of the 19 research studies. The scholars will be required to present their research output, hold lectures, workshops, and seminars, and engage with other academics, policymakers, and the business community in discussions of national significance.
Padilla, the chancellor of UP Manila and executive director of the Philippine Genome Center, will work on leveraging higher education to address constraints in the healthcare system.
“The study will assess human resource deficits in healthcare using data from the Department of Health, and juxtapose it against the current supply of healthcare practitioners produced by higher education institutions,” Edcom 2 said.
Alba will focus on a “normative regulation analysis” of the state of higher education in the country, which could serve as a basis to propose regulatory approaches and performance management strategies for the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).
Former National Statistician and Executive Director of the Commission on Population and Development Lisa Grace Bersales will look into the labor market outcomes of graduates in the informal economy.
Also among the fellows are Dr. Elizabeth King, adjunct professor at Georgetown University and former director of education at the World Bank; Dr. Rosario “Chat” Manasan, senior education policy economist at the Asian Development Bank and Dr. Luis Rey Velasco, a former chancellor of UP Los Baños and executive member of the National Innovation Council.
Gen Z values
According to Edcom 2, the research topics will explore ways to achieve seamless and integrated learning delivery, study the career values of the Filipino “Gen Z,” empower citizens to participate in improving education governance and charting the course for higher education curricular reform amid the rise of artificial intelligence.
Edcom 2 has identified 28 priority areas to guide its assessment and development of policy reforms in early childhood care and development, basic education, higher education, teacher education and development, technical and vocational education and training, and governance and finance.
“Through this partnership between UP and Edcom, we believe that we will succeed in the challenges that have long prevented the Filipino youth from reaching a brighter future,” Edcom 2 executive director Dr. Karol Mark Yee said in Filipino.
In a webinar held in July, Yee said they would work on finding new solutions that are grounded on “genuine understanding” of the real problems on the ground.
This will be done through consultations with stakeholders, including school leaders, teachers, youth, parents, local governments, and employees of the Department of Education, CHEd, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
On Sept. 20, Edcom 2 conducted consultations in different technical vocational institutions in Mindanao, including the Tesda KorPhil Training Center.