By Mark Denisse A. De Jesus, EPS II, SDO Nueva Ecija – SGOD

Inclusive and quality education has been the battlecry of the international community regardless of each economic status. The expansion of each country’s effort in providing a kind of education that can address the needs, interests, and talents of learners regardless of their socio-cultural background and gender. This is the common voice of the international community and is supported by standards and frameworks which have been vital in various educational reforms all throughout the human history (Apex Learning, 2017). They are significant for the community as they set the tone on how teaching and learning process and the challenges in it should be viewed and answered.

On International and National Policy

Goal 4 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets the assurance of an inclusive and quality education which can provide life-long learning opportunities for all. It further highlights the following indicators stipulated in targets 4.4, 4.7 and 4.C to realize the goal by 2030. Each target and its indicators provide a clear path to achieve the long-term goal of the United Nations for the global citizens. Various frameworks and standards laid before the international community have been purposively answering the SDG’s targets which are born out of the found challenges in the society. Targets 4.4, 4.7 and 4.C provide a view on the kind of education the community could have by 2030 in terms of skills, number of teachers and quality of learners. Since 2016, these targets have become the firm ground of every nation in making evidence-based decisions.

In the Philippines, the National Government released its Development Plan entitled, “Ambisyon 2040” which is the country’s long-term plan answering the 17 targets of the SDG and is contextual to the needs of Filipino society. The Department of Education, in cognizant to the targets of Ambisyon 2040, pushed various educational reforms in the form of frameworks and standards such as Sulong Edukalidad which provides four reform agenda to boost the country’s quality basic education—KITE (K to 12 Review and Update, Improvement of Learning Environment, Teachers’ Upskilling and Reskilling, and Engagement of Stakeholders for support and collaboration). This framework is the current backbone of the department’s initiatives in a form of various programs, projects and activities (PPAs) such as the transformation of the National Educators’ Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) which is now mandated to quality assure all the professional development programs in the country based on the set professional standards (PPST, PPSS, PPSH). These reforms which are in the form of policies and various PPAs help in alleviating the challenges in every Filipino classroom which is a big part in the entire picture of Filipino society.

On Teaching and Learning

Educational reform efforts are done to answer existing challenges which are reflected in the international and national targets in instructional delivery and school governance. The introduction of the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST), School Heads (PPSSH) and Supervisors (PPSS) and their integration to the performance measures of the said employee groups was a big leap in pushing for a more effective and efficient way of determining employee needs in terms of their professional development, providing a way to guide the employees on their roles and functions, and assessing their improvement based on their performance. These standards give education leaders a clear way on how they should see and weight these key personnel for improvement of the teaching and learning process.

Like standards, theoretical frameworks and models such as Constructive Alignment, Backward Curriculum Design and Conversational Framework are significant in strengthening various learning designs for the enhancement of learning outcomes. John Biggs (1996) gave a clear explanation on how teaching frameworks and models help in achieving the desired learning outcomes inside the classroom. In his study, he pointed out that teaching frameworks and its components such as the learning outcomes, learning activities and assessment should always be aligned with each other, hence looking at the importance of each level/phase and how they are aligned assure the realization of the set learning objectives.

            Frameworks and standards are all born out of the research womb. They are the products of long testing and experimentation of human mind and behavior. These minds drive the changes in the society and bear various challenges which push governments to think of better ways on how to address them. The targets of Millennium Development Goal (2000-2015) and the current Sustainable Development Goal (2016-2030) magnify the lens of human development throughout the years. This magnification is seen not only from economic perspective but most especially in educational lens where various leaders continuously think and plan for better steps which can address the gaps of the past and needs of the future. When Horace Mann said, “Education, beyond all other devices of human origin is the great equalizer of the condition of people, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”, he described how education can eradicate social disparity and bring forth development. Like his idea, Paulo Freire taught us through his book, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed how education can liberate both the oppressed and their oppressors from the abusive condition of this world. Both ideas are integrated within the very fabric of the continuous development in educational delivery designed and brought by the great minds in this sector. The same people who are behind the many frameworks and models which aim to improve the quality education and the quality of people.