Lacson: The future of 2.9 million learners

An excerpt from a message before DepEd officials and personnel:

How do you imagine yourself ten or twenty years from now? Well, most of us have already retired from government service, maybe enjoying life as pensioners or some may still take on part-time jobs teaching graduate studies. Whatever the scenario is, I know that you all want a bright, happy future for yourselves.

How about the future of 2.9 million learners in Region III ten to twenty years from now? How do you see their future? Do you see their future bright or have you envisioned a dim picture of them in the years to come?

As educators and officials of the Department of Education, the answers to these questions are in our hands.

In her Basic Education Report 2023, Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte presented the sad plight and status of our learners and the entire educational system. In many of my school visits, I have felt the urgency to act on these problems and hopefully address them accordingly.

We can begin with the end in mind or better yet, we can begin with many possibilities in mind---we must envision the future through “backcasting” or moving from the future to the present. Last year, all our SDSs and ASDSs attended the Strategic Foresight and Futures Thinking Seminar, and they presented a vision of their respective SDOs twenty years from now. The possibilities they visualized were endless, exciting, and promising.

Definitely, this endeavor, which will span 4 months, is going to be arduous, lengthy, mind-boggling, and challenging. We shall delve into the issues, concerns, and challenges that confront teaching in the different learning areas and special programs across all grade levels.

And I encourage you to think creatively and open yourselves to the future, focus on what’s coming next and not what happened in the past. The vision is for us to develop strategic foresight skills which you will learn from the many sessions of this workshop.

And so, let us envision what a Region III basic education completer would be a decade from now. Will they be learners who acquired literacy, numeracy, science, and 21st Century competencies and at the same time developed character required to succeed in higher education, employment, or entrepreneurship?

I certainly hope that our answer is not “hope so or sana” or “fingers crossed” or worst “bahala na total retired na ako nun.” As educators and public servants, we are accountable for the future of the 2.9 million Region III learners. And so, it is but proper that we MUST do something about this education crisis that did not happen because of the pandemic, but which the pandemic made even worse.

We do not just owe it to the government for the job that earns us a living, but more importantly, we owe it to the learners who are in our classrooms and their future. Our goal as embodied in our Regional Education Development Plan is to ensure that our “learners across the region developed holistically foundational and relevant skills and character for lifelong learning, and full participation in society to fulfill their social and community responsibilities as global citizens.”

This is not just a challenge for us, rather it is our moral and social obligation to ensure that our children will have the brightest future possible through education.


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