Wake Up, Philippines!

CHEd talks set on extra year in college

Posted in CHEd, DepEd, Education by Erineus on February 3, 2009

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Faced with an outcry against its proposal to add one more year to courses in college, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) assured the public that the agency would hold hearings on complaints before deciding whether to implement the policy or not.

CHEd chairman Emmanuel Angeles, in a press conference Monday, said they would hold public hearings as required by law to seek out the public’s views on the CHEd plan to add another year to college courses.

“We are presently studying this matter and consulting nationally, covering 17 regions so we can get feed-back from the stakeholders. Moreover, we are going to hold public hearings in compliance with [the law],” said Angeles.

“I want to assure you that CHEd is doing this review of the curriculum to prepare our young people to be globally competitive so that we will have a chance to survive as a nation,” he said.

A CHEd technical committee, composed of experts in various fields, is currently reviewing proposed changes to the college baccalaureate curriculum. After the review is finished by the end of this month, its findings and proposals will be presented to the major stakeholders in the country’s education system through the public hearings.

But Angeles said that he had made some initial consultations in Ilocos, Central Luzon, Cordillera, Davao and the Western and Central Mindanao regions and the feedback has been positive.

“We are in a democratic system. We are not forcing this down anyone’s throat,” Angeles said.

He said that CHEd might eventually present different “flexible” curriculum proposals and it would be up to the schools to choose whether to have four or five-year courses.

Under the CHEd program dubbed the “Philippine Main Education Highway,” existing courses requiring licensure exams by the Professional Regulation Commission will last five years starting this coming school year. And starting 2010, even non-board courses will also be extended by one year.

The program aims to reform the baccalaureate curriculum in the college level and will be implemented following the “10+2+3 formula” or 10 years of basic education, a two-year pre-university program, and then a final three years of specialization.

This means that, after completing six years in elementary and four years of high school, students can either proceed to vocational training or take a two-year “pre-university program” before finally taking their specialized courses.

Angeles said CHEd proposed the curriculum reform to put the country’s tertiary education system at par with that of other countries.

“Compared with other countries all over the world [except Botswana] our educational system lacks two years. We do not have Grades 11 and 12 … our four years bachelors program has two years only of professional courses because the first two years are devoted to general education courses. In Europe, it is three years,” Angeles said.

“To cover all the important professional courses, the last two years of college is crammed with too many courses, which is not conducive to an effective learning process,” he said.

“As a result, graduates are ill-prepared and more than 50 percent fail in board exams. In some programs, more than 2/3 fails the board examination,” Angeles added.

Angeles claimed that in “overcrowded” four-year courses and the proposed five-year courses, “the cost is almost the same.”

The CHEd chief also said that they proposed the additional year so that degrees taken here in the Philippines would also be recognized in other countries.

“Mutual recognition of qualifications and degrees will be undertaken by countries in the Asia-Pacific region so, we must prepare for it. The qualifications of our graduates must be improved to meet our development goals,” Angeles said.

By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 12:58:00 02/02/2009

SAYS ANGARA: DepEd system is cause of bad books

Posted in DepEd, Education by Erineus on February 3, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—An “incestuous” setup within the Department of Education’s book review system is one of the reasons for the perennial problem of error-filled textbooks in the school system, Sen. Edgardo Angara said Monday.

Angara said that up to now the government had yet to implement a provision in a 1995 law, Republic Act No. 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act, which removes from DepEd’s Instructional Material Corporation (IMC) the power to commission and review books to be used in schools.

The law transfers these powers to the National Book Development Board. But 14 years later, this provision has yet to be implemented.

“We want to take away the exclusive monopoly of the IMC, which is a martial law creation, so we decided the National Book [Development] Board will take charge of commissioning textbooks as well as vetting and reviewing those that go into the school system,” Angara said.

“The reason is I thought the commission and the review of textbooks should be separate from the customer, the customer being the education department. If both are undertaken in-house, it smacks of an incestuous relationship,” he said.

Angara said the provision had not been implemented because of the strong lobby by the book publishing industry.

“There is a lobby, not in a pejorative sense, but there is a pressure group that tries to market textbooks and instruction materials. This is a huge market,” he said.

“It’s really atrocious. We’re robbing our youth. [If the review] is done by an outside independent agency, like the National Book Development Board, then you will get an independent appraisal of the textbooks. Then you can encourage competition among writers of textbooks,” Angara said.

He said the IMC is in charge of selecting the writers of English, Math and Social Science textbooks.

“They designate the writer and the examiner—the one who will review and edit. It smacks of lutong macaw (a charade),” Angara said.

By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:22:00 02/03/2009

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Lessons for employee development

Posted in Education, Employment, Formation, Training by Erineus on February 2, 2009

MEMORIZING the lyrics of a new song, figuring out how to make new software work, driving a car and acquiring a new skill—any of these activities involves the process of learning.

The ability to learn is one of humankind’s most important qualities that differentiate us from lower forms of being. It allows us to adapt to changing surroundings and find solutions to increasingly complex problems. What and how we learn determine who or what we will become.

Differing learning styles

How do people learn?

A study was conducted by the Ateneo Center for Organization Research and Development to determine what is the Filipino adults’ learning style and whether there is a difference in learning styles in terms of age, status and gender. The survey was administered to 223 students and 277 employees and professionals.
The results of the study reveal that learning style varies according to one’s age and gender. It shows that the younger respondents are more reflective-observers, who prefer self-study, while older respondents are more of active learners and experimenters.

Working respondents opt to learn with computers and group interaction while students are more comfortable with learning by reading and listening to lectures.

In terms of gender, males prefer self-study, and females prefer coaching.

The findings of this study affirm the importance of knowing what learning styles are most applicable to certain groups. This knowledge would help in the design and development of interventions and would make trainers more efficient and effective.

This also implies the need for trainers to be well versed on the profile of their potential trainees so they can adjust the training methods to their learning styles.

Empowering learners

The reality is, however, that it may be impossible to tailor fit all programs to meet the variety of styles of all learners. Thus, using a good mix of approaches may ensure that learners respond to the development intervention.

The results also suggest the importance of skills in process observation and analysis and flexibility for trainers.

Being able to read your audience and determining whether they are involved in the learning process and being flexible in approaches and designs are vital to success as a trainer.

The findings also strongly point to the need to go beyond training as a means for development. Clearly, while classroom training is still preferred by many, others prefer self-paced or more informal methods such as coaching.

This suggests the need to explore nontraining interventions such as readings, coaching, project assignments, etc.

Beyond this, perhaps it is time that we begin empowering the learners to take more responsibility for their own development. Assisting learners to assess their own strengths and competencies as well as mapping out their development plan may, in the end, be the true embodiment of being sensitive to learner’s needs and styles. After all, the true determinants of what learning approaches will work best are the learners themselves.

By Edna P. Franco
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:44:00 02/01/2009

Counting the cost of corruption in the Philippines

“…Elections are like a sponge, it sucks up all the money, most of it from corruption.”

Among the very first lessons in business is that “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH”. Somebody is bound to pay, Always. Especially when it comes to corruption. So how does corruption get to us? Let’s count the ways.

1. Loss of Government Revenue

The first victim of corruption is government revenue. In a developing economy like the Philippines, this can be extremely debilitating. The continuing budgetary deficit of the government results into cutbacks in expenditures for much needed social services.

2. Education

The gap of classrooms in public elementary schools is estimated to be about 40,000 this coming school year. The case is even more pathetic, as the lack of qualified teachers further confound the problems. While student population keeps on growing year after year, these gaps in classroom, books and teachers is widening. What do these lead to? Poor quality education of the future citizens of the Republic further undermining their prospects of contributing to nation building. THAT IS A VERY HIGH PRICE TO PAY FOR CORRUPTION.

3. Infrastructure

With tightening sources of funding for infrastructure development, government has to resort to partnership with the private sector. A public good like roads, bridges, ports and airports will necessarily be charging user fees to be able to earn profit and recover capital. Nothing wrong with because he who benefits should share the cost. But a lot of these projects require performance undertaking from the government to be financiable to lenders. This results into the contingent liabilities of the national government burgeoning the levels no one wants to even find out. Remember the NAIA III Terminal? an edifice that can’t be operated until now. The MACAPAGAL BOULEVARD which can easily enter the Guiness Book as the world’s most expensive boulevard? THE SMOKEY MOUNTAIN PROJECT where almost a billion of OFW’s money was invested and has not been repaid until now? Last count in 2003, it stood to over P500 Billion. That’s about over 30,000 pesos per household. THAT IS NO LOOSE CHANGE TO PAY FOR CORRUPTION.

4. Environment

Because government resources are constrained, environment protection programs are neglected. We passed the Clean Air Act and yet we cannot put our acts together in ensuring clean air. The law is toothless because the government has no money to invest in monitoring equipment. Even garbage it cannot collect. Remember the PAYATAS TRAGEDY? Meanwhile, to be able to generate power and run our heavy industries, less desirable Plants are allowed to be established. ASK THE PEOPLE from CALACA, BATANGAS, PAGBILAO QUEZON, and SUAL PANGASINAN, all sites of COAL FIRED POWER PLANTS that contribute to withdrawals from our deposit of breathable air, potable water and liveable communities. The resource balance of our children’s future is rapidly depleting, A COST OF CORRUPTION THAT WE MAY NEVER BE ABLE TO ACCOUNT FOR.

5. Government Debt and Poverty

Again due to budget deficit, government keeps on accumulating debt, which at end of 2003 stood at over 2.4 trillion pesos. That’s over 30,000 pesos for every Filipino man, woman and child. At an average interest cost of 10% per year for both short and long term loans, that is equivalent to a staggering P240 Billion in interest payment alone every year. That’s the amount of money taken away form the mouth of the poor, who account to more than half of the Philippine population. TURNING OUR BACKS FROM OUR MARGINALIZED CITIZEN IS A STEEP PRICE TO PAY FOR CORRUPTION.

6. Political Patronage

Corruption doesn’t prosper without protection. Those who practice realize that to keep themselves in their lucrative posts, somebody politically powerful should be able to stop any attempts to cut him from illicit money flow. In return, he lavishes his patrons with gifts. Gifts in no small terms, which further corrupt him and his patron. His patron, in order to accumulate more gifts has to increase his influence. To increase his influence, he needs to milk his corrupt benefactors. And it goes on deeper and deeper.

Elections are like a sponge, it sucks up all the money, most of it from corruption. Election in the Philippines are nothing but patronage politics. How else does one explain the millions spent in a campaign in exchange for a few measly thousand pesos in the salary of a public servant? There is only one explanation I have, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH, SOMEONE IS BOUND TO PAY FOR IT.

How do campaign contributors expect to recover their investments? In the form of political protection to allow them to continue with their illegal activities. In the form of rigged government contracts. In the form of economic rents taxpayers eventually pay for.

7. Crime

Corruption corrupts and the deeper one gets into the mire, the more desperate one becomes in defending the well from where he draws his booty. He will be prepared to use trick, treat and threats to keep his business. And since corruption, like stale food attract flies and worms, criminal syndicates are not very far from them. So do their violent means of doing business.

The problem with the proliferation of illegal drugs can be linked solidly to corruption. How else do drug lords and pushers do their business under the noses of law enforcers and local government officials except that they pay-off this public servants or work in cahoots with them. Remember Mayor Mitra of Quezon Province? He was caught red handed transporting a ton of shabu using the town ambulance.

This social ill has led to the commission of many a heinous crime is prospering and multiplying in every Barangay of this country because of corruption. RAPES, MURDERS, and KIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM ARE TOO MUCH TO PAY FOR CORRUPTION.

8. High Cost of Doing Business

It is sometimes beyond our imagination for a businessman to spend three full days in the crowded city hall of a highly urbanized city trying to get a business license. And he was just going to buy and sell eggs. How much more if he wants to operate a industrial project. If there are 20 government offices he needs to go through for various permits, licenses, certificates, approvals and signatures, he needs an entire army of fixers to handle them. Precious hours are lost among senior officers of the firm who have to wine and dine to the whims and caprices of government officials. Remember the stinking IMPSA and PIATCO deals?

Those companies whose code of conduct does not permit them to provide bribes and pseudo-bribes end up spending tons of money just to end up deciding to leave the country in exasperation.

On the other hand, many of those who stay to do business have gotten used to government people scratching their heads as they show up in their offices asking for all sorts of gifts for every known relatives of a mayor, congressman, senator, department secretary, bureau director or chief of police. What does the businessman do? He just passes on to his customers this extra cost incurred in doing business in the Philippines. Remember the Power Purchase Adjustment (PPA)? This is one bloody scheme that sucks us dry!!!

9. Loss of Investor Confidence

As Judge W.H. Heath said, if we cannot manage our money and assets, how can we be expected to manage other people’s money? Investors demand that there be a reasonable level of assurance that they will get their investment back. That their investment will in fact make money. And that it will not be taken over by political forces.

It becomes extremely challenging to attract investors to do business in a country where a fugitive from the FBI and convicted pedophile gets elected in Congress. Or where tax evasion case with very clear outcomes is lost to technicalities.

Multilateral donors find it hard to give us loans and technical assistance grants when they know that a large portion of their money will be used to line up the stomachs of politicians. They will have to invest in additional personnel, incur additional costs just to watch us spend their money. Every time we submit receipts they spend thrice the time just verifying whether they are genuine or not. This is the only country in the world whose AUTHENTIC DOCUMENTS (as declared and sealed from Malacanang) has one year expiry date. Believe me it can be tiring to do these things.

When many in the International community considers your country as corrupt, it does not feel good. It does not buy you goodwill. Jeers and sneers YES. But respect? NO!!! Just look at how we PINOYS are treated in foreign airports. Who would forget Senate President DRILON being forced to remove his shoes in a US airport despite showing his Diplomatic Passport. I myself had a very disgusting experience in SCHIPOL airport in the Netherlands (CARLO BUTALID & GRACE CABACTULAN MAY NOT AGREE WITH ME) and at Charles de Gaulle in France. But can we blame them? Of course not. There’s simply too much Pinoys who are going out of the country with spurious documents, escorted and facilitated by no less than BID personnel from NAIA. THAT IS WHAT WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION IS COSTING US.

We have only just began counting the cost of corruption. It cost us the prostitution of our political institutions. We have now hoodlums in uniforms and hoodlums in robes. It costs us many lives and honor lost to crime. It costs us our self respect. And it costs us lost opportunities for a better future of our children.


Author: Jun S. Aguilar
Date: March 12, 2004

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