DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – Incoming Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones has underscored the importance of having reforms in the country’s education system to achieve social and economic independence in her speech during the 118th Independence Day celebration in the city yesterday.
Briones was the keynote speaker of the Independence Day celebration held at Quezon Park,
In her speech, she asked the audience composed of city officials and representatives of various sectors if they experience social and economic independence.
Briones pointed out that Negros Oriental belongs to the list 16 poorest provinces in the Philippines.
“If you look at Dumaguete City, you cannot see a strong indicator that there are many poor people but if you go to the hinterlands and coastal towns, you will see the poor,” she said.
Briones stressed there is a big connection between employment and poverty and this is where the role of education comes in.
She cited that reforms in the country’s education system are necessary because it can lead to employment of more people.
Briones acknowledged there is an ongoing debate on the implementation of Senior High School (SHS).
“Whether you have SHS or not, every year, on an average of 1. 2 million kids who graduate from high school, only 50 percent proceed to college. There is a big fall out,” she said.
She said some of the reasons why some school children do not proceed to college is because they could no longer afford the tuition or because some parents require their children to work in their fields.
The incoming education secretary noted that with the SHS, young people have many options on what educational track to take, namely: academic track, technical-vocational-livelihood track which include agriculture, and sports track.
Briones emphasized that SHS is a precursor to college and the teaching methods applied in this program are similar to college level.
Moreover, she also noted that the reform in the country’s education system will also bring benefit to young people seeking employment.
Briones explained that the number of years spent in basic education is a one of the factors employers consider in hiring an applicant.
“Whether you are nurse, a doctor, or a physicist, they will still count the number of years in basic education,” she pointed out.
With the ASEAN integration happening, Briones also said foreigners who are from other ASEAN countries get more chance of getting hired in multi-national companies because they have more years in basic education.
With this, Briones declared that reforms in the country’s educational system are long overdue.
“These reforms are long overdue because we really need to catch up,” she said.
Meanwhile, Briones also added the government must intensify its efforts to push for “Education for All” or giving quality education opportunities to many especially indigenous people through alternative learning systems.
She concluded her speech by pointing out that education is one of the powerful tools in raising public’s consciousness on all aspects independence. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was originally published at PIA website on June 14, 2016)