The onset of storm Yolanda (Hayan) did not dampen the spirit of students and teachers in our country specially if it’s about education (not even in the areas deeply affected). Today, where ever you go, you will notice classrooms and more school buildings are being built, more so the regions where the deadliest storm of 2013 had hit. It may still take a couple of months or years to really see what the Department of Education is doing to improve the quality of our education. As school year 2013-2014 come to a close, the acceptance of the newly implemented K to 12 system have grown unanimously.
With that being said, our students’ dreams can now be attainable, clearly and thoughtfully as the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) inked the Memorandum of Subsidiary Arrangement (MSA) for the Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST) Program to boost the education agenda at Neptali Gonzales High School in Mandaluyong, Friday.
“DepEd and AusAID have been partners in pushing the educational agenda for 15 years. This new partnership signifies the commitment of both parties to attain quality education for Filipino learners,” Secretary Br. Armin Luistro said adding that AusAID had always helped the education sector by implementing projects across the country—some of which covered Basic Education Assistance in Mindanao (BEAM), Technical Vocational Educational Project, School Building Projects for Basic Education, and other projects in partnership with DepEd.
The BEST Program, a Aus$150M six-year program, aims to assist the Philippines in improving learning quality and access to education in the context of the K to 12 program. The program would aid in teacher development, boost a unified management and information system, enhance education leadership and management, promote gender sensitive education, and advance curriculum, assessment and materials.
“Through BEST, there will be additional 1,000 classrooms, 40 science and computer laboratories, and two Indigenous Peoples’ Learning Centers for our learners,” said Luistro.
In addition to this, scholarships and trainings for teachers would be provided. A technology and research center focusing on Assessment, Curriculum and ICT in education would be established through this program. It would also aid in strengthening DepEd’s capacity for disaster preparedness.
The program would improve teaching and learning and strengthen systems within the Department. BEST would work at the national level and would provide intensive support to six regions initially—National Capital Region, Bicol, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas.
It was such an honor to be present at the event as a witness to the collaborative efforts of the LGU’s, schools and all the people behind BEST. It indeed have made me more proud to be a parent of kids enjoying education as it is today, not minding all our hard works just to give them the structure that will make them more competitive and assertive not only here in our country but also globally.
Present at the signing of MSA were Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell, Commission of Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, and Mayor Benjamin Abalos, Jr.
Here are more photos I was able to capture on the event at Neptali Gonzalez High School, in Mandaluyong.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and DepEd Sec. Bro. Armin Luistro answering the media queries.
Also, Bishop, Luistro and Mayor Benjamin Abalos visited some classrooms at the said school to see how students are doing during their regular school days.
The students gave a warm and cheery welcome as Bishop herself sat in and asked the students of their activity.
The Australian Minister by the way used to be an education minister, dreamed to be a teacher to be her country’s Foreign Minister. It was inspiring to see her sit with the students and see what they are doing and partially guided them through, while answering the student’s questions.