IN THE previous editions of my column, I have mentioned the four major areas of Sulong EduKalidad, a vehicle of the Department of Education under the leadership of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones in shifting the focus from access to quality. These are the KITE or K to 12 Curriculum Review and Update, Improvement of the Learning Environment, Teachers Upskilling and Reskilling and Engagement of the Stakeholders for Support and Collaboration.
In a published news article in Manila Bulletin written by Merlina Hernando-Malipot, the DepEd Chief was quoted saying that aside from reviewing the curriculum, the Department of Education (DepEd) underscored the need for teachers to undergo “upskilling and reskilling” to achieve quality education.
In previous events, the Secretary said that arguably the most crucial challenge, is with our teachers that with fast-changing standards of education quality, our teachers must be able to constantly keep up with the times.
Briones said emphasized that focusing on teachers, is as crucial as reviewing the curriculum and addressing gaps in education resources because she believes and has even mentioned several times before that the battle for quality basic education will be fought and won inside the classroom, by our teachers.
One of the main reforms being given strong push by the Secretary in line with its efforts to address the upskilling and reskilling of the teachers and personnel is the need to transform the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP). In May, she issued DepEd Order No. 11 s. of 2019 which directed the implementation of NEAP transformation.
Now on its finishing stage, the NEAP, according to DepEd, responds to the “demand for professional competence as well as management and leadership excellence in the educational community.” It focuses on three components: training and development, program and development, and research and development.
So in order to address the realization of the said components, NEAP as the principal agency for training and development for teachers and school leaders needs to be fully realized, address the constrain by lack of organizational scale and overlapping functions with various bureaus and offices.”
The DepEd tapped existing and available technical resources to review NEAP as well as the overall professional development activities of DepEd and to study how reforms may be introduced which was completed and submitted in August 2018.
A Task Force was created on October 2018 to evaluate the recommendations as well as to study and prepare a detailed design for the NEAP transformation alongside with a transition team headed by Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan to execute steps necessary for NEAP transformation.
With the way things are going, Briones said the NEAP transformation is now well underway with the following updates: secured Cabinet approval of additional plantilla items for the NEAP Central Office and NEAP in the regions and recognition guidelines for all proposed professional development programs or courses for teachers and school leaders, as well as the bidding out of the refurbishment and renovation of the NEAP training facility in Baguio were already scheduled
Aside from providing relevant trainings to teachers, she believes that broader promotions opportunities for our teachers as they advance in their professional development is also needed.
Because of this, the Secretary said that she has already secured the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Cabinet to expand the levels of teacher positions by adding Teacher 4 to Teacher 7 levels, with higher salary grades, to the existing Teacher 1 to Teacher 3 levels.
She emphasized that the Department will be investing and giving its full support to the teachers for their in- service professional development, and provide the proper incentives through career progression and promotion opportunities as they develop their teaching proficiency.
This Corner hopes that all of these initiatives will create ripples of positive change in all aspects and levels of DepEd for the good of the country and the learners with everyone moving towards the same direction - NO ONE WILL BE LEFT BEHIND.