Pursuing Dreams in the Face of Adversity
As a supporter of public education in the Philippines [PH], I had the opportunity to reflect on that theme when I was invited by the Nagpayong Highschool, a public school in Pasig, PH, for a talk with the teachers, school administrators and employees at the closing of the academic year.
I asked them what opportunities and challenges public education faces in the context of the post-truth era and consistently dismal PISA global literacy ranking?
Sharing some of the things here -
One of the dreams I shared was for the new leaders [the PH inaugurated a new administration] in the public education sector to recognise and reflect on why public education is in a deep existential crisis.
I dream that they will formulate an inspiring vision that puts the young people's best interests especially the disadvantaged learners at the heart of policy-making and introduce a new pedagogy of hope and freedom.
The PH is the global leader in social media and internet use. Based on the Digital Global 2021 report, more than half follow social media influencers. Imagine, if learning technologies are at the heart of public education, the teachers will be able to reduce admin tasks, the school will be able to provide wider access to learning particularly to the disadvantaged, and rather than being distracted by the internet, they will be empowered by it.
And I also dream that the public education leaders will raise their game by rethinking the school lunch feeding and nutrition programme, providing high-quality textbooks, building high-quality classrooms, raising the standards of teaching qualifications, increasing salary, and elevating public school teaching as one of the most important if not coveted professions in the PH.
If the new leaders will pour investments into public education and rethink the public teaching profession, we can expect dramatic improvement in the literacy levels, prevent the diaspora of Filipino teachers from seeking greener pastures and attract passionate people who love teaching.
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