Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Feature: Reform(at) in the Education Sector

By Assemblywoman Samira Gutoc Tomawis, Chair, RLA Committee on Education, Culture and Sports Development

Reduce problems is what describes the reform roadmap in the sector that was starring in last year's SONA with a special mention of a ghost student walking a ghost bridge to go to a ghost school.

One year later, removing ghost employees saving the Dep-Ed ARMM hundreds of millions of pesos is the landmark achievement of the ARMM. 

But the trail is not safe as many know. The clean-up crew led by new Dep-Ed ARMM officials and ARMM OIC Governor Mujiv Hataman whose close adviser Raffy Nabre was shot in the night after a whole-day planning about reforms in personnel and finance in Dep-Ed ARMM was rocked but the crew remain adamant.

Upgrading the standards to level up Dep-Ed ARMM will be a rocky climb especially against those satisfied with the status quo. Retireables will not want to leave because of the dark tunnel in not being able to get their GSIS remittance. Superintendents and other education personnel have acquired a long-term relationship that would face trial with Civil Service standards that have brought us negative attention in the House Committee Meeting called by Congress. 

Fixers who charged hundreds of thousands are slowly turning ghost as they know applicants are no longer naive despite the geographic distance. The process is slow because of identifying the fakes, but the patience is rewarded as LET passers who need not have an MBA (may backer ako) are elevated to entry on the strength of their documents. MBA should now be MAY BIG ACHIEVEMENT AKO.

This is not to discount the stark problems which remain.

In the last 3 school years, ARMM is the poorest in terms of, to name a few – Completion Rate, Drop-Out Rate, Cohort Survival Rate and the National Achievement Test.

Another pressing concern is the insufficiency of our classrooms. An AUSAID study revealed that through 2012, we have a need for 3,326 for elementary and 1,269 for secondary – both for repair and new construction. Obviously, the need for other school facilities like science laboratories, libraries, water and sanitation facilities is also high.

In the same AUSAID report, ARMM has additional need for 3,267 elementary and 1,145 high school teachers. The problems on teacher shortage and insufficient classrooms result to overcrowding and opening of multi-grade classes that negatively impact on quality of learning.

ARMM recorded the highest percentage of out of school youth 6-24 years old based on the 2010 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey of the National Statistics Office. 24% of the estimated 6.2 million OSYs in the Philippines are in ARMM. This means that close to 1.5 million 6-24 years old in ARMM are out of school. In this context, OSY means 6-24 years old who either dropped out of school at some point or never went to school. The reason as usual is poverty aggravated by unstable peace and order condition. There are other reasons but poverty tops the list. Using basic mathematics further, this report tells us that 35% of ARMM population is out of school using the 2007 population of 4.2M rounded off.

Madaris remains maddeningly unattended to by the national Dep-Ed with no corresponding plantilla in the DBM. An ARMM without Islamic studies support is definitely going against being Muslim Mindanao, mashaallah. The CSC urges the agency to make representations for additional positions so that the hundreds of "voluntary" Islamic teachers get what they deserve.

Education reform will be the centrepiece of this reform administration. The mountains may be high but we have to trek the climb. This is to invite concerned individuals and civil society organizations including the media to continue supporting the effort of the present ARMM government for education reform.

"Moral Governance"

English - "Good governance for a progressive and peaceful BARMM."

Sinama - "Hap pamarinta tudju BARMM na sambu maka salamat"

Bahasa Sug - "Dan mabuntul tudju pa BARMM masambu iban mahatul"

Meranaw - "Mathitu a kandatu sa BARMM ko katagompiya go kalilintad"


"Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE)"