“Ma’am, pwede Taglish na lang?” is the usual response of some of my students whenever I ask them to write an essay.
 
After spending weeks analyzing the errors of my students in their essays submitted last school year (SY), I breathed a sigh of relief. At last, I could finally take this research project off my shoulder especially that SY 2021-2022 is already waving. 
 
But that sigh of relief was replaced by frustration after realizing that most of the common errors committed were just basic like plural forms of nouns, subject-verb agreement, vague pronoun reference, and even capitalization of proper nouns. 
 
My initial findings resonate with the laments of college teachers about their students’ inability to construct a correct and logical sentence, or that their students come to them unprepared for the demands of college life. Perhaps, the said findings also reflect the reality and the perennial problem of Philippine education. 
 
Speaking of quality education, last July 5, Senator Sonny Angara filed Senate Bill 2312 that seeks to establish a Teacher Education for Achievers Program or TEACH. It aims to ensure that future educators are classroom-ready and are competent to teach. The explanatory note of the proposed legislation cites the dismal ranking of the country in three international assessments that it participated in last 2018 and 2019. These were the same assessments that prompted the World Bank to conclude recently that the Philippines is facing an education crisis as 80 percent of its learners fared badly in the said tests. 
 
While proposing a bill as a response to the problem is a welcome effort, I’m thinking, do we really need such? Isn’t it that we’re still grappling with the transitioning of the newly implemented K-12 system under the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (RA 10533)? 
 
Among others, RA 10533 stresses that all agencies should work together to ensure a smooth transition and success of the K-12 system. Its Section 7 particularly states that “New graduates of the current Teacher Education curriculum shall undergo additional training, upon hiring, to upgrade their skills to the content standards of the new curriculum. Furthermore, the CHED, in coordination with the DepED and relevant stakeholders, shall ensure that the Teacher Education curriculum offered … will meet necessary quality standards for new teachers….”
 
So, do we really need another legislation to such effect? Or do we just need to review the implementation of the prevailing statute? Is the provision above not enough to move the concerned agencies to produce competent teachers? I guess not. 
 
As far as I know, state universities and colleges like Western Philippines University have been submitting their curricular programs to various assessments such as the ones done by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to ensure that their programs meet or even exceed the standards set by the gatekeepers of the academic community. 
 
Of course, research studies, curricula accreditations, and legislations devoid of a clear plan of actions and execution of such cannot change the face of our educational landscape. What we need then is to translate these research findings into methodologies to develop inclusive pedagogy, these survey results into doable action plans, and these legal provisions into mechanisms that will be strictly implemented and closely monitored up to the last mile of school in the country. 
 
Passing a bill, accrediting a curricular program, or analyzing all the errors in students’ essays mean nothing if their outcome won’t be turned into something more tangible. Something that will speed up the learning curve, and not something that will just add another item to our never-ending wish list to achieve quality education. 
 
Weak implementation of programs or perhaps duplication of some is not just ineffective and wasteful, but it is also costly and will drain our already depleting resources especially amidst a pandemic. This COVID-19 pandemic has troubled the already troubling situation of our education system, which boils down to the possibility that we’re not giving enough to our learners given our limitations. Have we addressed this issue yet? 
 
How about addressing the problems that afflict our system by not simply changing the subject? A joke from the internet says:
 
A guy walks into a bank, pulls out a gun, points to the teller, and yells:
“Give me all your money, or you are geography!”
The teller replies: “Don’t you mean history?”
The robber screams: “Don’t change the subject!”

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