Philippine education: much leaves to be desired
The present may be challenging but the future looks bright for learners who have been nurtured, mentored, molded, and supported.
The pithy aphorism above applies to all learners, regardless of their grade level or aptitude. We teachers cannot lay claim to being the sole source of knowledge and wisdom for everyone in the community has a role in shaping our learners’ values, sharpening their skills, and harnessing their abilities.
Former US senator/secretary of state/first lady Hillary Rodham-Clinton once said that it takes a village to raise a child, which is actually an ancient word of wisdom in Africa. I may disagree with some of her viewpoints, but what she said definitely rings a bell and is utterly true. Ms. Clinton meant really well when she said it back in the 1990s (1996 to be exact, in her book It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us) to refer to inclusivity and to upholding quality education for all.
In light of the recent standing of the Philippines in the PISA test, which registered low ranks in reading, mathematics, and science, the dismal quality of education in the country is undeniably palpable.
Several factors come into play and are responsible for our low standing. First of all, the deplorable, obsolete basic education curriculum is to blame. We have all been contending with what the Department of Education has been serving to its learners- and it purports to serve it on a silver platter, not knowing that it would turn out to be utterly akin to cigarette butts in an ashtray- and so we all bear the brunt of a dilapidated and decadent educational system. Second, the way DepEd (and the Commission on Higher Education) regards its teachers and staff reflects their nearly total disregard for their efforts as well as their pains and rigors in carrying out their duties. Third, the way our learners are being assessed reflects the inadequacies brought about by the overfilled yet under-delivered curriculum that rendered our learners hapless and, to a point, hopeless.
The glimmering light in a dim room: PEMEA
The Philippine Educational Measurement and Evaluation Association (PEMEA) is one of the esteemed and dynamic educational organizations in the country today. Established in 2008 by a group of educationalists led by Mr. Richard Gonzales, Ph.D, PEMEA has been at the forefront of reforms in assessment and evaluation for more than ten years now, primarily through research and seminars.
The current crop of PEMEA members is composed of education practitioners, researchers, psychometricians, testing practitioners, and evaluation practitioners.
What is most commendable about PEMEA is that it has its own educational journal on educational measurement and evaluation, aptly entitled PEMEA Educational Measurement & Evaluation Review. It is one of the avenues to encourage educators, scholars, and other practitioners to share their research on assessment and evaluation practices in schools, on evaluations used to gauge learners’ competencies in certain subject areas, and other related areas of research.
Truth be told, it was only late last April when I first heard of PEMEA and of ICEME 2021.
My very good friend, Dr. Belen Manio-Chu of Philippine Academy of Sakya, first pitched an opportunity which I finally got to grab: being a scholar of the International Conference on Educational Measurement and Evaluation (ICEME) 2021, the fifth international conference of PEMEA and the first totally virtual conference.The theme of the conference?Assessment in the New Normal: Issues, Challenges, and Prospects.
When I learned that I was accepted to be one of the scholars to the ICEME 2021, I jumped for joy and did not mince any words in expressing my delight. It was my first time to be a scholar and I decided to seize the day by wholeheartedly being glued to the proceedings from start to finish.
From the first to the third (and final) day, I learned from many distinguished scholars- such as Dr. Lorin Anderson (university of South Carolina), Dr. Rick Stiggins (Assessment Training Institute in Portland, Oregon), Dr. Carlo Magno (De La Salle University), Dr. William Atweh (Ateneo de Manila University) et al- and I have gained so many nuggets of wisdom related to both theory and practice in assessment and evaluation. The icing on the cake was the slew of concurrent sessions and paper presentations which added to my already existing knowledge of assessment and evaluation.
Overall, the three-day ICEME 2021 was very well-organized, with more than 400 in attendance (including myself). The organizers were very warm, accommodating, and helpful. For the first time in so many years, I was only an attendee, only because I was not able to submit my abstract. However, for the very first time, I was a scholar and I am proud to say that I am one.
Thank you very much, PEMEA, for opening the doors for me to becoming more well-versed in assessment and evaluation by choosing me to be one of your scholars! I thank the officials, distinguished guests, and my fellow participants for the wonderful experience of having attended ICEME 2021 (and I will surely attend its yearly conferences)!
For more information about PEMEA and its programs and advocacies (and how to be a member), please visit https://pemea.org and like its official Facebook page: Philippine Educational Measurement and Evaluation Association (https://www.facebook.com/pemea2008).
With PEMEA and other organizations steadfastly working for educational reform, particularly in terms of assessment, evaluation, educational measurement, and testing, reforms are underway and efforts by these organizations will be recognized in the form of policy reform and implementation by DepEd and CHED.
Assessment and evaluation must be reformed, contextualized, and be bereft of any discrimination or any other biases in order to serve its true purpose: to supplement and bolster teaching and learning in the 21st century.
If you have suggestions in terms of the education-related topics that you want me to feature, please feel free to send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com and I will reply to you as soon as I receive your email.