Gov’t eyes revamp of educational system

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    ANGELES CITY- Mandatory pre-school before Grade 1, compulsory aptitude tests for high school graduates entering college, and at least five years collage education to accommodate “pre university” or “pre specialty” units.

    These are among the Presidential Task Force on Education’s (PTFE) recommendations which are expected to be implemented by the government by the next school year, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Emmanuel Angeles said here yesterday.

    The PTFE, chaired by Ateneo de Manila president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, was formed by Pres. Arroyo in August 2007 to propose recommendations to improve the country’s education system. It submitted only recently its recommendations to the President.

    “A pre-school will be required to prepare children for entry into the elementary grades and existing day care centers will be used for this,” he said.

    He said the pre-schools are to be handled by “practiced teachers” who graduated from state colleges and universities. Local government units are to provide them with compensation, he added.

    Angeles said that the President favored this move as a measure to curb “significant drop outs” of pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 2 apparently due to lack of proficiency.

    Angeles also cited the need for reforms at all levels of the educational system to keep up with international standards.

    “The Philippines is one of the only two countries which requires only 10 years of basic education. The other country is Botswana. In other countries, basic education now lasts 12 years,” he said.

    Angeles said that the PTFE also recommended that all high school graduates be required to take aptitude tests before entry into college. “This is done in the US, Canada, Australia and other countries in Asia to determine the readiness and capability of the student before entering college,” he said.

    “The determination of the cut-off score will be left to the discretion of the admitting university,” he noted.

    At the college level, a two-year pre-university or pre-specialization under a “polytechnic system” has been proposed, he said.

    For two years, students would be provided skills which could immediately land them jobs should they choose not to pursue further college courses which would take at least another three years, he said.

    Angeles said the PTFE recommended the so-called Bologna approach which requires 15 years of schooling for a bachelor’s degree or the Washington accord which imposes 16 years, particularly for architecture and engineering courses.

    “It’s a tall order, but we must adjust our educational system to conform with international standards,” he said.

    Angeles also said that Congress has already approved the proposal for the establishment of a National Institute of Science and Technology.

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