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DepEd: Reforms are for learners, not rankings

If we introduce reforms, it will not necessarily because we want to raise our rankings in PISA, it is because we care about the future of our 27.2 million learners and the future of this country.

Neil Alcober

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Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones reminded stakeholders that the country’s participation in the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) was meant to prioritize introducing reforms in the education system and not just with the mere goal of raising the country’s rankings.

Briones emphasized that the government must use the PISA results beyond the rankings to evaluate the situation and inject necessary reforms during the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture hearing on the PISA results on Thursday.

“If we introduce reforms, it will not necessarily because we want to raise our rankings in PISA, it is because we care about the future of our 27.2 million learners and the future of this country. We should not fall into a trap of implementing special programs in order to (just) rank highly,” Briones said.

“The purpose of education is not ranking. But ranking in international assessment is useful because we see ourselves to the mirror of global standard. We must face the challenges that confront education for the country, for the future, for our learners, and not to (attain) rank number one,” she added.

The PISA, a student assessment of 15-year-old learners in 79 countries done by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), saw dismal results in 2018 for the Philippines as it ranked 79th in reading comprehension with an average of 340 — lower than the OECD average of 487.

Filipino students also ranked low in mathematics and science, with 353 points and 357 points respectively against a 489 OECD average for both categories.

The DepEd has recently implemented key reforms, including the review and updating of the K to 12 curriculum. According to Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instructions Diosdado San Antonio, the complete results of the review will be available on March and a transition curriculum could be implemented in the field as early as the next school year.

Briones, on her part, started sitting down with officials and teachers of top performing public schools nationwide in PISA to gain additional insights on their best practices and further contribute in enhancing the curriculum.

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