𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐂𝐎𝐑𝐄 𝐎𝐅 𝐏𝐎𝐋𝐈𝐂𝐘𝐌𝐀𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐆
𝘉𝘺 𝘌𝘥𝘸𝘪𝘯 𝘊. 𝘍𝘶𝘦𝘨𝘰
𝙰𝚐𝚞𝚜𝚊𝚗 𝙿𝚎𝚚𝚞𝚎ñ𝚘 𝙽𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗𝚊𝚕 𝙷𝚒𝚐𝚑 𝚂𝚌𝚑𝚘𝚘𝚕, 𝙽𝚘𝚛𝚝𝚑𝚠𝚎𝚜𝚝 𝙱𝚞𝚝𝚞𝚊𝚗 𝙳𝚒𝚜𝚝𝚛𝚒𝚌𝚝, 𝙳𝚒𝚟𝚒𝚜𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚘𝚏 𝙱𝚞𝚝𝚞𝚊𝚗 𝙲𝚒𝚝𝚢
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗰 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝘄𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗰 𝗼𝗻 𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺𝘀 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱𝘄𝗶𝗱𝗲, 𝗮𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗹𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝟭.𝟲 𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀 𝟭𝟵𝟬 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀. 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝘂𝗯 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘂𝗽 𝘁𝗼 𝟵𝟵 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱’𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗽𝗼𝗽𝘂𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗹𝗼𝘄 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿-𝗺𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲-𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 (𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀, 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟬). 𝗕𝘂𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘆, 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗰𝗿𝗮𝗳𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝘂𝗲𝗱 𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘀?
The Philippines, a third-world country with most of its population living in poverty, was one of the most badly affected countries, with school closures being one of the most common consequences of the pandemic.
As the pandemic dragged on, the public and the Department of Education felt the need to reopen face-to-face classes, even as home learning was perceived to have adverse implications for students’ aptitude, competitiveness, and physical/mental health.
The World Bank report by Cho, Kataoka, and Piza (2021), namely, “Philippine Basic Education System: Strengthening Effective Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond,” showed that school closures and learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic could have a long-term negative impact on the current cohort of learners.
The influence of prior health and crisis emergencies has continued far longer than the disaster or pandemic. The number of 10-year-old children in the Philippines who cannot read and comprehend a short story is estimated to reach 69.5 percent in 2019, to rise further due to the crisis. School closures and long-term learning loss are also likely to hurt children’s economic potential and productivity in adulthood, undermining the country’s global competitiveness. It also impacted students’ diets and nutrition, particularly in the most disadvantaged communities. (ECLAC – UNESCO, 2021).
The following are some policy development alternatives based on the findings described above: (1) It is critical to provide in-person schooling for children whose parents desire it; (2) Distance learning delivery must be improved – by strengthening communication between teachers and students, engaging parents/guardians actively in education, improving the quality of paper modules, providing materials in local languages for early graders, and increasing awareness of complementary learning platforms; and (3) High-impact, learning recovery programs, are needed (World Bank Report, 2021).
As a result, the Department of Education organized a committee of policy designers from across the country to provide input, propose innovations, and draft legal policies to reopen schools in the School Year 2022–2023.
Although numerous schools around the country have begun piloting face-to-face classes, the trajectory for the next school year still leans more on the limited implementation of face-to-face classes with the continued implementation of blended instruction.
Policy development is one of the essential components of the DepEd operations. The policy formulation process begins with creating agenda under a consultation program involving experts from various educational disciplines. This stage identifies gaps, concerns, and needs. It is followed by writing the draft policy, then curating, analyzing, and reviewing its content structure. Once approved, it will be adopted by the agency’s various administrative bodies for its full implementation, with strict observance of progress monitoring to ensure grassroots compliance concomitant with all legal requirements. The final step is policy review, which involves checking and analyzing the policy’s impact on the relevant issues it intended to address (DepEd Order No. 13 s. 2015).
Policy development has become an absolute necessity following the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic – because the current situation has given rise to numerous concerns such as the availability of learning resources, educators’ ICT competence, partnerships, and linkages among various stakeholders, parents’ active participation at school, etc.
According to DepEd’s vision and mission, Filipino learners are at the core of policymaking. Hence, the agency always strives to satisfy the needs of the learners by providing them with 21st-century skills/capabilities (DepEd Order 19 s. 2021).
Policymaking impacts all the other elements in the agency’s undertakings and daily operations, be it in the goods and services delivery, curriculum implementation, and other related educational plans.
Policies have a wide-ranging impact: from the child’s participation in school activities to the teachers’ training and career progress to the education leaders’ management style and relationship with their subordinates.
Likewise, the grassroots policy implementation and its effects on constituents can provide new inputs to tailor and develop policies according to the DepEd’s mission and vision.
These may spark a debate or disagreement, but the fact remains that the core of DepEd policymaking is the Filipino learner.