Thursday, August 05, 2021

Strengthening data-driven research in the new normal


FOR many years, a lot of people have been reserved to engaging themselves in research and at the same time utilizing significant data and information that are usually valuable in various aspects. From a personal perspective, engaging in a research work becomes an opportunity to learn something new, to develop new skills, or perhaps a change from routine as it allows one to do something different and work with new people. It also supports professional development and helps one to enhance his or her professional excellence and reputation. In an organization such as its importance in decision-making, the improvement of services and even just the simple value of gathering evidence of value. For many, research is often an uncharted world.

For the latter, this would be seen as to how the Department of Education (DepEd) developed a culture of research among all its governance levels, and instituting its responsibility to undertake educational research and studies that will serve as one of the bases for necessary reforms and policy development. (Chapter 1, Section 7 (5) of the Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001 (Republic Act 9155). Thus, in 2015, a systematic policy development process that promotes evidence-based policy formulation supported by research studies has been established through DepEd Order No. 13 s.2015. Consequently, the guidelines on the use of the Basic Education Research Fund or BERF through DO No. 43, s. 2015 and DO No. 4, s. 2016 have been issued and thereafter the promulgation of the Basic Education Research Agenda through DO 36 s.2016 to put emphasis and priority to the four themes as research priorities of the Department: (Teaching and Learning, Child Protection, Human Resource Development, and Governance) and three cross-cutting themes (Gender and Development, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, and Inclusive Education).

With its reform program Sulong Edukalidad, DepEd is keen on improving the quality of education that has been somewhat overlooked as we have prioritized access over quality. We all know how badly we have taken the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2018, the first time that we have joined the said assessment. The 2018 Pisa results revealed that the Philippines scored 353 in Mathematics, 357 in Science, and 340 in Reading, all below the average of participating OECD countries. The Pisa results, along with the Department’s own assessments and studies, will aid in policy formulation, planning and programming.

In one of its briefers published in its Learning Portal, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) International Institute for Educational Planning shared the importance of data in improving the quality of education.


It said:

"Learning data, in conjunction with other dimensions of quality such as context, teaching and learning environment, and learner characteristics can reveal the factors that most affect learning outcomes. By revealing gaps in student achievement and service provision, data can be used to identify those groups that are being underserved and are underperforming. Once identified, such inequities can be addressed.

"Data can be used to hold the system accountable for the use of resources by showing whether increased public investment in education has resulted in measurable gains in student achievement. Although direct accountability for results rests mainly with the school, the enabling policy and practice environment is the responsibility of decision-makers at all administrative levels."

The challenge to uplift the current state of our educational outcomes has been made more exigent as we are now facing the so-called new normal. With the strong commitment of our Secretary that education must continue amidst the pandemic, it is made clear that a lot of catching up needs to be done to achieve our goal of improving the performance of our learners in the global context. The decisions and the adjustments that will have to be made to address all these gaps must be based on pure data and information that must be generated by research.


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