Transparency does not mean data, it means dealing straight: DepEd case study

high school

A visual metric. What is DepEd doing about classroom overcrowding?

I started this blog as an update on the Department of Education (DepEd), but a broader lesson emerged from the study. This will be a case study of DepEd’s “transparency” fulfillment, and what we learn can be applied to other departments as well.

The resources for this article are all available at DepEd’s web site.

As we look at Philippine culture and matters of ethics, voting patterns, civic awareness and attitudes, the subject of education repeatedly comes up as one of the most important elements of a positive, progressive, enriched and enriching Philippines. I’ve written critically of the Department of Education in the past for being locked into “more of the same”: build classrooms and try to keep up with all the heavy demands for good teachers and instruction, that instruction being book-based and featuring learning by rules, or rote, rather than for student enrichment, psychological health and creative thinking. New models, like internet based lessons, do not seem to be on the horizon.

Mission, Mandate

The Department of Education’s mission statement, to me, is uninspired and uninspiring. It cites high-minded generalities that anyone would support. What exactly does it mean that:

“The Department of Education (DepEd) formulates, implements, and coordinates policies, plans, programs and projects in the areas of formal and non-formal basic education. It supervises all elementary and secondary education institutions, including alternative learning systems, both public and private; and provides for the establishment and maintenance of a complete, adequate, and integrated system of basic education relevant to the goals of national development.”

This is such high, high level language. How are we doing on the execution of this mandate?

If we wander around the site we can piece together some particulars to make sense of it. But in no place does DepEd level with us to say, “well, these are the problems we see with regard to achieving thte mission, and this is how we intend to overcome them; these are the opportunities we see, and this is how we will take advantage of them”.

The impression the site provides is that everything is hunky dory, A-okay, peachy keen.

Yet we know it is not.

K-12 as a driver for significant change

What is clear is that the multi-year transition from a 10-year primary education to 12 is driving some significant changes. To me, it looks like this is for the good if the very pronounced obstacles of teacher quantity and quality are overcome. The high school curriculum (grades 11 and 12) is deep and rich, and students should graduate with those qualities, too.

Let me focus on the two years added.

As I understand it, the high school curriculum has a core curriculum, an applied track, and four “strands” that a student can aspire toward. How these elements fit together is unclear. A LOT of different courses are cited but we don’t know if these are just hopeful ideas, or if the richer classes are actually available to ambitious students.

  1. Core curriculum (Oral communication, reading and writing, Filipino culture and language, literature, arts, media, general math, statistics, earth life sciences, physical science, philosophy, PE, personal development, understanding culture, disaster readiness)
  2. Applied track (English, Filipino, technology, research, entrepreneurship, inquiries/investigations)
  3. Specialized subjects

I particularly like three of the courses in the applied track. They move toward character development and innovation that seem so missing from the “rote”, or authoritarian, style of teaching.

  1. Personal Development (PDF) (Personal awareness, coping with stress, powers of the mind, mental health, emotional intelligence, personal relationships, social relationships)
  2. Empowerment technologies (PDF) (Current state of information and communication technology, ethics, online search, productivity tools (tailored to chosen track), imaging/design, online platforms, collaborative development, multimedia, ICT as a vehicle for social change, website publishing, social change project)
  3. Inquiries, Investigations and Immersion (PDF) (Brainstorming for research topics, identifying the problem, reading related studies, ways to collect data, finding answers, reporting findings, conclusions and recommendations, presentation of research)

Three showstoppers

DepEd provides a thorough FAQ section that answers a lot of basic questions. One of the showstoppers, or huge obstacles that suggest the DepEd words are more ideals than actual achievement, is the following statement:

  • The tracks or specializations to be offered will be according to the resources available in a locality, the needs and interests of most students, and the opportunities and demands of the community.

In writing corporate contracts, that is called an “escape provision”. DepEd provides no assurance that classes will be made available. Some kids get choice and quality. Some do not.

I’m guessing larger metro Manila schools have enough teachers to give students choices, but provinces do not. I’d guess that small schools are disadvantaged. It is impossible to know because this kind of qualitative information is not available on the web site.

Here’s what is available in the DepEd web site section headed “datasets“:

  • List of enrollment counts by school
  • List of teachers by school
  • List of schools
  • List of schools with water
  • List of schools with electricity

This is data. It is not really information, or its richer partner, knowledge.

The second showstopper is the fact that DepEd considers technology to be a field of study, as agriculture or physics is a field of study. Computers are not incorporated into the METHOD of instruction so that students become proficient in using the full power of computers at a young age, and are high skill upon graduation. Rather, the system relies on textbooks and paper. We will see in the various “report cards” that huge volumes of materials must be supplied yearly.


transparency_seal_bigA section dedicated to “transparency” identifies DepEd’s main objectives and provides report cards on achievements.

Here is the transparency regulation that DepEd complies with:

National Budget Circular 542, issued by the Department of Budget and Management on August 29, 2012, reiterates compliance with Section 93 of the General Appropriations Act of FY 2012. Section 93 is the Transparency Seal provision, to wit:

Sec. 93. Transparency Seal. To enhance transparency and enforce accountability, all national government agencies shall maintain a transparency seal on their official websites. The transparency seal shall contain the following information: (i) the agency’s mandates and functions, names of its officials with their position and designation, and contact information; (ii) annual reports, as required under National Budget Circular Nos. 507 and 507-A dated January 31, 2007 and June 12, 2007, respectively, for the last three (3) years; (iii) their respective approved budgets and corresponding targets immediately upon approval of this Act; (iv) major programs and projects categorized in accordance with the five key results areas under E.O. No. 43, s. 2011; (v) the program/projects beneficiaries as identified in the applicable special provisions; (vi) status of implementation and program/project evaluation and/or assessment reports; and (vii) annual procurement plan, contracts awarded and the name of contractors/suppliers/consultants.

I have not focused on the financial reports but instead focused on programs and progress. I presume the financials add up. What I am more interested in is the QUALITY of work product done by the Department of Education.

Here are some excerpts:

Departments Key Programs and Projects Targets (PDF)

  • Creation of teaching positions:  61,510 in 2013; 33,194 target for 2014
  • Construction of classrooms: 34,686 and 43,183
  • Delivery of textbooks and teaching material: 37,164,917 and 42,600,000
  • Procurement of school furniture (seats): 2,745,568 and 1,596,921
  • Construction of water and sanitation facilities: 16,884 and 13,586

There is a listing of beneficiary schools, but what they received is not shown.

Three report cards are generated to measure results:

MFO Accountability Report Card (MARC-1) (PDF)

Number of students, percentage scoring above average on the National Achievement Test (primary 82% in 2013; secondary 48%), and percentage completing the school year (primary 74%  and secondary 75%).

Management Accountability Report Card (MARC-2) (PDF)

Evaluates the following five areas, with 2013 ratings shown:

– TRANSPARENCY SEAL: Substantial Compliance

– PhilGEPS POSTING: Substantial Compliance



– SALN: Conditional Compliance

Priority Program Accountability Report Program (PPARC) (PDF)

Reports number of teaching positions created (61,510 in 2013) and classrooms built (34,686); it is redundant as information is already reported on program achievement.


DepEd’s transparency report is a technical product aimed at satisfying regulations. It is compliance by rote, by authority. But it provides precious little information on the REAL WORLD issues faced by Department of Education. It gives little assurance that students are going to get better service next year.

There are some very important numbers in the MARC-1 report:

82% of primary grade students are above average on NAT tests, but this percentage drops sharply to 48% for secondary schools.

WHY?? Not said. Not enough quality teachers? Where is the quality of teachers metric? Not said.

A full one-fourth of all students do not complete the school year.

WHY?? Not said. The teacher issue? Expenses? Family problems? Not said. We can judge that up to 25% of the dedicated resources are wasted. Students will likely be back again next year to try again, compounding the problem of classroom congestion and inadequate teaching staff.

That is the quality kind of information that is missing from the “transparency” report.

The rules are followed to the letter. Post the seal. However, we cannot discover any candor, problems and solutions, innovation or confidence about the real situation. That all remains hidden.

“Trust us”

In a way, DepEd does what it teaches. DepEd follows the rules without generating the kind of deep, honest self-assessment and engagement that gives us confidence that next year will be a qualitative improvement over this year – for the students – or that the Philippines will ever lead Asia in its education model.

Undoubtedly, a lot of people are working hard to build schools, hire teachers, develop courses, get text books created, and teach. Thousands of earnest, dedicated people.

DepEd would honor them by producing the kind of product it expects of its top students. A deep, meaningful discussion on its web site that identifies a more striking vision, and that shows how metrics are driving improvements.

Secondary schools are now producing average students. One fourth of all students aren’t making it through the school year. It is likely that very important classes are not being provided to many high school students.

This is not good enough.

What’s being done to do better next year?

Transparency means DepEd should tell us.


143 Responses to “Transparency does not mean data, it means dealing straight: DepEd case study”
  1. Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

    @Joe: EXCELLENT ANALYSIS. I am normally short on praise but this time I must do it!

    In the spirit of Edgar Lores, who is somehow a multiply reincarnated being, I enumerate: (some of it is my personal story of being in Marcos days – secret history – please bear with the digressions)


    A. I was lucky to not be under DepEd education. In Bavarian Depp means fool, so DeppEd can be interpreted as FoolsEd in my crazy mind, but I digress once again.

    A.1.a. I was in High School at in Pisay (not DepEd but DOST controlled, we were the 240 best pupils selected by competitive exam throughout the republic, PSHS is now federalized over the entire country, I recently met a young consul who is a PSHS Davao graduate)

    A1.b. During Marcos time, Philippine Science High School or Pisay was practically a regime school. We had a discipline officer, in charge of Sports and Youth Development (CAT, sports and health training) who everybody knew came from NISA – the Marcos secret service.

    A.1.c.i. When I was 14, I was filmed at an activist meeting. Ramos – the discipline officer – made me report to him every month, even wanted me to spy on my father.

    A.1.c.ii. I got the undeserved reputation of being a government spy within the school. Told him total nonsense about activities of unruly students, like that we were drinking a lot of gin and whiskey and some were smoking pot. Ramos looked annoyed.

    A.1.c.iii. After we got jailed at a union teach-in – half of the Student Council, including me the Council Public Relations Officer, I broke into Ramos’s office and stole all his evidence, some janitors (they and the security were under Ramos) saw me and reported it to him.

    A.1.c.iv. Ramos summoned me to his office, asked me what I had done. I told him I had stolen his papers and burned them at the back of the dormitory – one of us who is now an engineer OFW in the Middle East witnessed it and told our comrades about it.

    A.1.c.v. He started shouting at me. I told him “well if you had had German locks and not that stupid American Yale stuff I was able to pick, it would not have happened” – he shouted even more and the lights went off. I told him “hey you can’t even manage to prevent brownouts, so much for your palpak dictatorship” – and suddenly he was silent. In the meeting about our possible expulsion, he was shouting. Our director, a cousin of Marcos and friend of my father, hushed things up. Besides, Ramos had no more evidence to give NISA just a few blocks away.


    A.1.d. When I was 15, third year high school, my father forbade me to join the SCO (school for cadet officers) and I obeyed and withstood cadet officers pressure. Ramos told me “you are half-German, you are good material for a cadet officer, why did you not join?” – I gave no answer. Cadet officer trainees had to walk on the left side of the hallway at all times and salute cadet officers (4th year high school) in and out of uniform. Pushups if forgotten.

    A.1.e. I was in the group that decided to stay Boy Scouts, we were treated like garbage by the officers, we listened to 70s rock and smoked weed. We were only allowed to salute with three fingers while SCOs and fourth year people in CAT saluted with four fingers, salute with thumb and four fingers being reserved for true soldiers in the AFP. The group I was with was a breeding ground for activists, a lot of us became Kabataang Makabayan, me Kasamang Ryan.

    THIS PART HAD TO BE TOLD. Happened exactly 33 years ago. Pisay the movie tells about the batch that came 4 years after us and was part of the February revolution. We were the first to dare things, they might have heard of us crazies, rebels in the inner sanctum of the regime.


    A.2.a. I went to U.P. Elementary (not DepEd but U.P. College of Education controlled, U.P. has its own charter and reports only to the President of the Republic, I was lucky because they tested experimental programs on us, or maybe that is the reason I am so crazy).

    A.2.b. One of my elementary school classmates, the very dark son of a University technician, was to become my cell leader in Kabataang Makabayan. He is a feared and respected NPA leader to this day and cannot come to Manila except undercover. Will not divulge his name.


    A.3. Core curriculum, applied strand, and especially tracks remind of of German Gymnasium where I was from Grade 11 to 13.

    A.3.a. Used to be that Gymnasium were divided into Humanistic Gymnasium, Natural Science and Technical Gymnasium etc. even after the war.

    A.3.b. They decided on a system that is almost like junior college.

    A.3.b.i. my primary focus subjects (Leistungskurse = performance subjects ) were Mathematics and Biology.

    A.3.b.ii. my secondary focus subjects were Geography and Latin.


    A.3.b.ii.a. I had to take Latin because every K-13 grad (they have K-12 in old East Germany from GDR times) has to have at least two foreign languages.

    A.3.b.ii.b. My English was recognized, my Filipino could not be recognized because who could have given the certification test – except for my parents – my German mother speaks Tagalog.

    A.3.b.ii.c. The school director tricked the Ministry of Education in NRW by just enrolling me in Grade 11 without asking first.

    A.3.b.ii.d. After my first semester my grades in German were so high, he sent them there and they scolded him – I still have the letter – writing that we are retroactively OK with this pupil because of his high grades in German, but please inform us next time..

    A.3.b.ii.e. Herr Salazar should have been sent to an integration year first, Philippine high schools are known to have a standard under Grade 9 vocational high school in Germany!


    B. The Filipino difference between lofty ideals in theory and implementation.

    B.1.a. The 1987 Philippine Constitution is lofty, international standard. The implementation?

    B.1.b. The ideas of K-12 are international standard, equivalent to the German system.

    B.1.c. Japan and Korea have the German educational system since the 19th century already.

    B.2. DATA is NOT KNOWLEDGE IS NOT INFORMATION IS NOT WISDOM was the poster on the door of my German university computer science professor’s door – I did a Master’s Degree.


    B.2.a. The ones who had to implement the reporting where probably schooled in the classic Filipino way – rote memorization of facts instead of learning true knowledge.

    B.2.b.i. My father was one of those who moved history teaching at U.P. from only memorizing dates and facts to telling important national stories.

    B.2.b.ii. From Knowledge in the beginning to Information, applying the stuff he had learned at the Sorbonne in Paris where he wrote his Doctorate on the Anito in the Pacific…

    B.2.c.iii. – ancestor worship which you can see from the Ifugao up to the megalithic statues on Easter Island. It was damned hard work getting that into heads. The new teaching I mean.

    B.2.c. Probably the implementation of K-12 will be done in the same headless and thoughtless way many things in the Philippines are done – just following the letter and not the spirit of what is intended. If even the Supreme Court is like that sometimes, come on…

    B.2.d. English in the Philippines is but a ritual, like Latin for peasants in the Middle Ages. Just like Catholic rites for Filipinos are also as meaningful for most as for medieval peasants. My German mother once told me as a child that the Philippines is in the Spanish Middle Ages.

    B.2.e.i. My father’s idea in using Filipino as a medium of instruction and communication was because language and culture are closely connected.

    B.2.e.ii. It was the main reason he supported Estrada back in the days, Binay as well. He is silent on Erap now, hates Binay deeply, and has disowned the daughter of his friend Fernando Poe.

    B.2.e.iii. A language that is just used a gibberish by many will not reach the soul.

    B.2.e.iv. The blank stares and the Siiiirrr you get from many Filipinos has to do with that.

    B.2.e.v. Speak clear street Tagalog with them, especially the vulgar kind I too learned in Cubao – yeah up Quezon Avenue to EDSA, hopped on the bus to watch the movies, or go to Ali Mall to look at sexy fashionable high-class chicks, eat and drink beer at Shakeys – and they jolt! 🙂


    C. There has to be more follow-through up to the school level on this.

    C.1.a. But I do not know if even the people drafting K-12 just parroted it from abroad.

    C.1.b. If they didn’t, they make have the Filipino intellectual disease of over-loftiness.

    C.1.b.i. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, PSHS and UP graduate, is a typical manifestation of this.

    C.1.b.ii. Many Filipino intellectuals are hands-off and not hands-on, not in the trenches.

    C.1.b.iii. It has to do with feudalism, not getting one’s hands dirty. My father is like that too. 😦

    C.1.b.iv. There is a colonial friar attitude call obedezco pero no cumplo. I obey, but do otherwise.

    C.1.b.v. Large parts of the Philippine government still work by that old corrupt Spanish adage.

    C.2. The middle and lower levels may or may not understand the intention beyond word.

    C.3.a. There have to be teams going to all schools to personally coach and supervise the
    implementation of K-12.

    C.3.b. They must enable teams that will do the same all over the country, enable other teams until full commitment and real implementation is reached.

    C.3.c. This is similar to the idea of Manong sonny, enhanced by myself, to send teams to all barangays nationwide, but on a nationwide cause. Approach could be the same though.


    Many diffent ideas and stuff here, related to the main topic but branching out.

    Mind is a terrible thing to waste is the slogan of the United Negro College Fund.

    BTW an entire black division of the U.S. army deserted during the Philippine American War.

    They joined the Filipinos when they heard that their white superiors were calling us niggers.

    We are like Latin Americans and African-Americans in many ways – let us learn from them!

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      The tradition of my German mother and grandmother has shaped me a lot – and that of my German great-grandfather, a Lutheran missionary to Indonesia and Namibia who befriended native chiefs and protested against the Herero massacre.

      My grandmother has possible Slavic roots, which is possibly one of the reasons my grandfather, son of my great-grandfather the missionary, a businessman (like Americans, my German folks were either missionaries, farmers or businessmen) who joined the Nazis to be able to expropriate Jewish retailers and grow his business, divorced her. She got the big house in Wannsee they had built, close to the place where the Final Solution was decided upon. She had the right to go into the Nazi bunker close by but never did, taking her daughter – my mother – into the basement when English and American bombers came.

      She was close to Nina Stauffenberg, her neighbor and wife of Count Stauffenberg, the man played by Tom Cruise in Valkyrie. My mother went to school with several children of the 1944 coup attempt against Hitler. Their mothers did not get their officer’s widows pensions until the 1970s, when the last postwar Nazis still in place refused them, telling them your men were traitors, why should you get a pension. This shaped my mother very deeply.

      My grandmother was bold – she once told a Filipino immigration officer who was about to extend her visa in Marcos times to take his feet off the table and stop please smoking. Well a woman who had dealt with Nazis in the core of the regime did not care – a true Prussian, committed to honor and ethics, not the perversion the Nazis made out of it, which is why Prussian officers were the ones who led the Valkyrie coup attempt against that Austrian.

      Many Berlin women married foreign men, Prussian men being in short supply – their sense of duty sent them to the Russian front. Bavarian men were luckier, farmers families had at least one son exempted – the fields had to be tilled. One of my mothers friends married an American man who later became an Deputy Secretary of State. I visited them in Georgetown once. The son told me about how the F-14s were scanning all the rooftops, proudly showed me the planes in the sky, saying the President is about to come, they are doing this for safety. Was surprised that Germany with its 80 million people is just about the size of Montana. He said “hey we’re so lucky man, with our wide open spaces…” Yeah..

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        My grandfather, the opportunist Nazi, disowned my aunt for marrying a “half-Jew” from the Mendelssohn clan and my mother for marrying a Filipino. But helped the “half-Jew” save his neck by joining the Wehrmacht, even in that world there were compromises and half-truths – and half-Jews, who by the Wannsee conference were to be dealt with on a case to case basis depending on how they showed true Aryan values. His aunt Henny Mendelssohn, super-rich, paid protection money to the Nazis every year to survive.

        His three children from his true believer Nazi second wife got the stores in Cologne, Hamburg and Stuttgart. My mother and my aunt got a claim in the center of Berlin, a huge store at the crossing of Friedrichstraße and Leipzigerstraße. Being in the Soviet occupation zone, it was expropriated as being a Nazi business. The reunification treaty of 1990 forbade Germany from turning back Russian expropriations. Good, because I would not want blood money. My grandfather as a Nazi businessman was not sent to the front but wore the uniform bursting at the seams, parading in Hitlers 1936 Olympic stadium.

        The little compensation my mother and my aunt got was stolen by my half-Jewish uncle, my mother kept the money in her sister’s bank account because we were in Manila then. My father’s comment on that was “goddam Jew he cheated us, what did you all expect?”

        My German uncle gave me his Bundeswehr boots, very solidly made, for my CAT training. I wore them to formations in Marcos time. The others had nice and shiny leather boots, my officer tried to shine mine but they did not shine as well. I said well these are German boots, the entire platoon laughed and said did your grandfather wear them in World War 2, they look so old! We continued to march with our wooden fake rifles on the field.

        So much for inapplicability of foreign experiences. I know firsthand and from family stories two dictatorial regimes – one horribly efficient, one horrible and palpak at the same time.

        • i7sharp says:

          PIE (now IS?) – see
          “My grandfather as a Nazi businessman was not sent to the front but wore the uniform bursting at the seams, parading in Hitlers 1936 Olympic stadium.”

          It’s a small world.
          He probably personally met Louis Zamperini (Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken”).

    • Joe America says:

      At first I was going to complain about the length of the posting, pro forma. Then I started reading. The personal family history gives clear insight into the tugs of obedience, personal values and hedonism. I can see how today’s disciplined school model (I term it authoritarianism) is a leftover of the Marcos era.

      The science high schools remain the top of the crop. The school in Tacloban, Leyte, is far and away the best school in the Eastern Visayas region. Yolanda stripped it bare. Tragic. One has to apply in the 6th grade, so brains have to be displayed at a young age to qualify. Clearly, DOST runs a more rigorous program than DepEd. DepEd provides basic services for the masses. It is an enormous task and the product is quantity, not quality.

      I enjoyed your family insights. They provide an idea of the richness of the cross cultural experience, and, on occasion, the lunacy. I trust the Ramos at your school was future President Ramos?

      Do you still have the boots? I still have my jungle combat boots from Nam, steel toes, canvas uppers. Two pairs are crammed in a duffel bag of nonsense from that period in the attic of the garage of one of my assorted ex-wive’s home. Maybe I should give them to my son. 🙂

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        I think I left the boots in Manila when we made off for Germany… 😦

        Ramos died of a heart attack just a few years after our batch. Wonder sometimes if we worked him up too much, poor choleric guy… I think he was a major, don’t know.

        Started writing about the school stuff and the old stuff just came out, and I decided not to remove it but share the lunacy of that era. Many people still do not talk about it, it is very much a taboo topic, like the Nazi era was for Germans in the 1950s and 1960s.

        Since I have the benefit of distance, I was able to break the taboo. The unspoken, truly scary stuff that happened then hangs like a dark cloud over the Philippines. Knowing how many people refuse to believe Noynoy until now regarding Mamasapano, how people assume the worst regarding their fellowmen, it is hard to start talking. Marcos was truly evil in his ways of manipulating people, he crushed many with his extreme manipulations.

        What do you do in a situation of total distrust created by such a lunatic system? Could be that Philippine society is in such a state because of the regime? Think present crisis…

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        I did analyze to blog topic though, the final conclusions I repost here for brevity:

        There have to be teams going to all schools to personally coach and supervise the
        implementation of K-12.

        They must enable teams that will do the same all over the country, enable other teams until full commitment and real implementation is reached.

        This is similar to the idea of Manong sonny, enhanced by myself, to send teams to all barangays nationwide, but on a nationwide cause. Approach could be the same though.

        Otherwise K-12 might become an ineffective sham, just windowdressing.

  2. josephivo says:

    Apart from public schools there are the private ones, from Wikipedia: “In the Philippines, the private sector has been a major provider of educational services, accounting for about 7.5% of primary enrollment, 32% of secondary enrollment and about 80% of tertiary enrollment.” Are they included in the statistics? Seems to me that there is more variation in the private schools. 1 in 3 students in high school, 4 out of 5 in college!

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      They are subject to DepEd supervision. Only PSHS (DOST) and UP integrated School (UP System is chartered and autonomous) are outside DepEd as far as I know.

      But they may implement things much better I am sure…

      • Joe America says:

        Private schools have to be credentialed and meet DepEd education standards. They generally do it better. My son’s classroom size (private school) is 15 kids. He gets individual attention. The school goes K-12.

    • Joe America says:

      The statistics, I believe, are only for public schools. There is clearly a class distinction in Philippine education. Rich kids go to the best private schools, middle-class attend the Catholic school, and those without a lot of money get crammed in a public classroom, 45 students per room. Kids of extraordinary will and character and perhaps luck can use that as a platform for more. But I imagine the percentage doing that is small.

      I need to do an installment on college education in the Philippines. The local university here is actually well thought of, but narrow in its expertise. Criminology. Seafaring. Maybe a couple of other lines of study I am not aware of. It cranks out huge numbers, too. More graduates than there are jobs, unfortunately.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      The major theme of my above posting was Joes blog post. The digressions are my answers to those who suspect me of being a Marcos man, and those who try calling me a Nazi.

      It was important for me to show where I stand and what truly happened, to shed light to things.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        And I am a friend of America, for all appearances. My grandmother’s house became an American officer’s house in 1945. The first Filipino she saw was a GI, probably Ilocano.

        My mother’s heirloom furniture all have U.S. property stamped behind them, my grandmother became a maid for the U.S. major, together with HER North German maid.

        Yet all were happy to be in the American zone, in the Russian zone women were regularly raped and more. My mother learned American English from the US major. Yeah Joe! 🙂

        • mercedes santos says:

          Just relieved that the Pinoy techies in Silicon Valley don’t used Joe’s blog as a confessional; they ain’t magnet school grads either. Just your average run of the mill middle schools and high schools, toots ☺

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Did you read the martial law part? That is not just personal, that is part of history. Wonder how many people still know how it really was during those times, what really happened.

            I guess if we had been ordinary, the Marcos system would have left us alone. Typical crab mentality. Philippines was way up there in Asia in the 1950s. A lot of people decided to leave the country. Especially a country that treats its best people that way. Now if you get the point of Joe’s blog article, it is about education. Are you surprised that everything is that way if the intellectual elite that could be making things happen in the country leaves? Still I care a bit, but I have a second home in Germany. At some point I may no longer care.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              I have a decent job, my brother and my sister are OK over here – away from a country that might have otherwise destroyed us. I did not look at what was happening in the Philippines because it brought back painful memories, I shut everything out during Arroyo times.

              Many of us are quiet, but I can no longer be quiet. The Philippines has done a decent job of destroying itself in the past 50 or so years. You don’t want to realize that – then fine.

              Be the servants of others forever if that is all you have in your minds. I am truly pissed off.

            • mercedes santos says:

              Talk about your dog, why don’t yah ?

              • Joe America says:

                Ahahahaha ROFLMAO. Got your goat, did he? I suggest using the scroll bar, mercedes. I thank you for the laugh though. Tears in my eyes . . .

                Hey, I like Irineo. He may be verbose, but he is OUR verbose guy. Rather like Mariano, one of a kind.

          • Joe America says:

            🙂 I wouldn’t mind having a techie or two share insights of what it was like getting to where they got, especially if it involved burning a spy’s incriminating evidence.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              We really liked the bonfire. And the point from knowing two dictatorships, one first-hand the other from family, is that you go through scary choices that people who have never been in that situation don’t understand. Like my going to the spy monthly and “reporting”.

              Nobody asked me what really happened, nor did I ever try to talk about it. Probably some assumed this, others assumed that. The typical superstition we have even until now.,,

    • i7sharp says:

      Brings to mind Baldrige:
      The Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence

      … also this idea:
      ODPC (one drive per child/student)

      – Not OLPC

      • i7sharp says:

        It seems the
        One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative is not doing well.
        One Drive Per Child (ODPC) is better?

        About 7 years ago I posted this in a discussion group:

        I continue to create files that can be added as content to the flash
        or thumb drive that can be given to children (ODPC – One Drive Per
        Child) especially high school students.

        Aside from the 38 major works of Shakespeare (which I mentioned if
        only because I could show how useful a free software – […] – can
        be) I can include files regarding history (Jose Rizal, Douglas
        MacArthur), religion (the KJV which I believe, right or wrong, is the
        word of God), social studies (Good Manners and Right Conduct), and
        many, many more.


        ODPC was derived from OLPC; it needs a new name.

        In this list of 7-letter words that end with “PS”
        – for “Per Student” –
        lurks a better name?:

        On Information Architecture.
        Some for food thought here:

    • ray james says:

      I am a qualified trainer & auditor in Baldrige, EFQM, and ISO, and what i read smacks of ISO, not Baldrige

      “The rules are followed to the letter. Post the seal.”

      Precisely why i do not like, and no longer advocate ISO. It puts all the emphasis on the procedures but never questions the reasons, measures key results, or seeks continuous improvement as a philosophy. It places procedures above performance.

      A company can have an atrocious level of customer complaints, or high product reject rates, but if neatly recorded, then that is all ISO cares about.

      And if such an attitude is reflected in the mindset of management then the emphasis will be on ‘style’, not ‘substance’.

      It sounds like some consultants have produced a document/approach for Deped which can be waved around, but the hearts and minds of the ‘organisation’ will be elsewhere, and many of the issues in 2nd tier schools will remain, whilst the businesses of textbook publishing and testing will flourish, and the opportunities afforded by new methods missed.

      No-one would pretend that there are easy answers, but it sounds like Deped are adopting an easy approach, which is old fashioned, predictable, and lacks innovation.

      Unfortunately the results of educational change can only really be measured at a minimum in the medium term, by which time current post holders will be long gone.

      I advocate a move from the rote approach of the 3 R’ s – reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic, to the 4 C’s – creativity, computing, communication, confidence.

      I would also join PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) for independent global measurement and benchmarking. What gets measured, gets done.

      I would partner with IBM, Microsoft etc to develop a new curriculum and new methods of delivering lessons. (This is already being done in other developing countries, with added support/grants from The Bill Gates Education Foundation)

      I would make english the primary language – currently 19 ‘mother tongues’ being taught, with text books translated 19 times. The global knowledge base via Internet is irrelevant/useless to so many, except for games. ( which reminds me of a new learning method in education – arising from the corporate training world – gamification.)

      Clearly teachers salaries are an issue which directly relates to the quality and needs to be resolved

      The ability to use foreign teachers, and make use of teacher exchange programs and generally opening up the education market would benefit students, but it seems many decisions are not driven by the students benefit, but the benefit of other interested parties. Also predictable

      I would try to avoid, at all costs, a 2 tier system evolving, which i am sure will be the inevitable outcome based on current approaches.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        As long as a medieval ignorant attitude towards knowledge prevails and intellectual elites are either confined to the ivory tower where they are ineffective – or driven out, nothing will be truly accomplished in my opinion. All truly excellent countries have top level intellectual elites that drive the country – politically, economically, technologically. And in those countries these people are respected and influential, not movie stars and boxers.

        A major part of the intellectual elite was subjected to crushing pressure in the time of Marcos. The crab mentality evidenced by that seems not to have left the country.

        All good approaches will fizzle if they are just seen as highfalutin words, strange gibberish and things are just done any old way on the ground. The Philippines will just remain a source of skilled labor at a certain level. Until the key messages are finally understood.

      • i7sharp says:

        @ray james
        “I am a qualified trainer & auditor in Baldrige, EFQM, and ISO, and what i read smacks of ISO, not Baldrige.”

        I am not surprised. And I hope to learn more from you.
        What little I know I have learned by myself. I often fall asleep in classrooms.

        About 10 years ago (well, probably 7 because the number seems to like me) I advocated to a group that we look into the Baldrige system. I did not tell the group I like it because of its 7 steps.
        But nothing came out of it.

        I used to keep myself abreast of developments at GILAS but I guess the Ayala Foundation has given up on it.

        What happened to discussions at “myyouthtech” – a Yahoo Group site – probably speaks of tne spirit (for want of a better word) of Education in the Philippines.
        Youth Tech Project was developed by Ayala Foundation in the year 2000 as its contribution to help bridge the digital divide among the youth in the public secondary schools. Specifically, the project aims to:


        The sife has been overrun by spammers and nobody seems to care.

      • i7sharp says:

        Pampanga High School

        Alma mater of President Diosdado Macapagal – the father of PGMA.
        The school did not have an offucial website the whole tenure of Arroyo as Philippine president and as congresswoman.
        To think that she was President during the school centennial celebration!

        If I am not mistaken the present website was put up about a year ago only.

        An alumnus, I put up a Yahoo group site for PHS fifteen (15) years.
        I wish I could say there interesting exchanges in it.
        Well, at least the site is, unlike MyYouthTech, kept free of spam.

        Among the things that I wish I can find in it:
        1. The Pampangan, the official school organ.
        2. Honor Roll
        (I made it only once in four years, I think.)
        3. Discussion forum (if necessary, moderated).
        4. Links to alumni groups

        • Kapampangan, huh? How is your cooking, i7sharp? Manyaman ya?

          • i7sharp says:


            Am more a Capampangan than a Kapampangan. 🙂
            Old-fashioned me prefers old spelling or Bacolor (C, Q)orthography.
            Born and raised in Bacolor.

            The matter about orthography somehow brought to mind …
            Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education

            Am not sure which is messier – MTBMLE or K12

            As for my cooking, I wish I could say it is good but I would be prevaricating big time if I did. 😦

            btw, I came across permaculture when I was reading up on shmita.
            I mentioned of “Shmita in Luisita” here recently.

            Bought a can of worms, literally, the other week for my small garden from someone who also sells praying mantises.
            The worms were Eisenia fetida or something.

            • 🙂

              I can speak/write/comprehend the dialect better than the national language. I love reading the passion of Christ during Easter in the old fashioned dialect (in a makeshift altar in the middle of the barangay). I miss “maleldo” (mal a aldo in OFD?).

              My Dad is Pampango and he used to whip up the best food I ever tasted that is why I asked about your cooking.

              I do not buy worms. I make them come to my farm by giving them food in form of a compost pile from organic matter from my kitchen (veggies and fruit peels, mostly) and raked debris. I also plant a lot of native plants to attract beneficials such as praying mantises, lady bugs and bees. Feed them and they will come. 🙂

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                Small historical tidbit: did you know that the Pasig river used to be the boundary between Tagalog (Taga-Ilog, people of the river for the benefit of our readers) and Kapampangans (people of the pampang, the riverbanks). Raja Lakandula was a Kapampangan.

                History and the Spanish favored the Tagalogs, which is why Lakandula’s descendant Macapagal was born in Pampanga. Like Bob Marley sang in Buffalo Soldier: if you know your history, then you know where you’re coming from.

                Bulacan Tagalog dialect is close to Kapampangan I have been told, many words are the same. The original national language was by Bulakeño Lope K. Santos, but Manila Tagalog won in practice.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  I know only one sentence in Kapampangan:

                  keng leon, keng tigre, di ecu tatacut!

                • i7sharp says:

                  I know only one sentence in Kapampangan:

                  keng leon, keng tigre, di ecu tatacut!

                  Juana seems to have very good command of Ka … Capampangan. 🙂
                  And you have incredible gifts.
                  I would write this way what you said:
                  “Queng leon, queng tigre. ecu tatacut … queca pa?”
                  (Juana, would you agree?)

                  Have you heard these expressions that probably “distinguish” us Capampangans?:
                  1. ‘Tacsiapu mo!
                  2. ‘Tacnaidu mo!

                  Juana, would you dare translate the two? 🙂
                  They are used as terms of endearment much more often than but …

            • i7sharp says:

              Dacal a salamat.

              On native plants, …
              Have you been to Godofredo Umali Stuart’s StuartXchange site?
              Tons of info in it.

              On orthography, …
              A Googlenews search
              on “language Kapampangan”
              gave 237 results;
              on “language Capampangan,” only fourteen. 😦

              I am sure your dad (or even you) knows the Pampango word “qng” (QNG) which is probably unique. It would be one of the casualties if the K orthography is adopted. 😦

      • josephivo says:

        Haha, quality systems. Carefully.

        1- Quality systems went to “fashion” waves. And just as fashionable dogs are overbred leading to unwanted diseases, the same happened with quality systems and their implementing consultants.

        2- Quality people are often on a very negative diet, analyzing faulty products and processes. A negative diet often leads to negative attitudes, as looking for wrong font sizes and issue dates.

        3- ISO 9000 is about assurance and assurance only. How to assure that the product does what you told your customer it would? And very far behind because most consultants don’t have any “product market” knowledge, how to assure that the product delivers something the customer needs?

        4- Baldrige, EFQM are “best in class” set-ups. Recognizing best in class and sharing best in class practices. To compare one needs uniform criteria and independent judges and that’s what they deliver. Just as for beauty contests.

        5- Quality management is a step 2 process, just as accounting or marketing. First comes the “entrepreneurial” skills, “what to do for whom with what benefits for me, for the customers and for society?”.

        5- Education. Who are the customers? Who are the shareholders? Students? Parents paying the bills? Society needing educated citizens? The school owners? The teachers as main players? A free competitive market or all government regulated? This complex environment is where quality management gets confused.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      From Renato Constantino’s miseducation of the Filipino, written in 1959, still valid today:

      Because of their lack of command of English, the masses have gotten used to only half-understanding what is said to them in English. They appreciate the sounds without knowing the sense. This is a barrier to democracy. People don’t even think it is their duty to know, or that they are capable of understanding national problems. Because of the language barrier, therefore, they are content to leave everything to their leaders. This is one of the root causes of their apathy, their regionalism or parochialism. Thus, English which was supposedly envisioned as the language of democracy is in our country a barrier to the full flowering of democracy…

      A foreign tongue as a medium of instruction constitutes an impediment to learning and to thinking because a student first has to master new sounds, new inflections, and new sentence constructions. His innermost thoughts find difficulty of expression, and lack of expression in turn prevents the further development of thought. Thus we find in our society a deplorable lack of serious thinking among great sections of the population. We half understand books and periodicals written in English. We find it an ordeal to communicate with each other through a foreign medium, and yet we have so neglected our native language that we find ourselves at a loss expressing ourselves in this language.

      Language is a tool of the thinking process. Through language, thought develops, and the
      development of thought leads to further development of language. But when a language becomes a barrier of thought, the thinking process is impeded or retarded and we have the resultant cultural stagnation. Creative thinking, analytical thinking, abstract thinking are not fostered because the foreign language makes the student prone to memorization. Because of the mechanical process of learning, he is able to get only a general idea but not a deeper understanding. So, the tendency of students is to study in order to be able to answer correctly and to pass the examinations and thereby earn the required credits. Independent thinking is smothered because the language of learning ceases to be the language of communication outside the classroom. A student is mainly concerned with the acquisition of information. He is seldom able to utilize this information for deepening his understanding of his society’s problems.

      Parrot education is the key word. No real understanding except for a chosen few.

    • Steve says:

      The K-12 program looks good on paper, but it seems to me to be monumentally complex and very difficult to implement. Just staffing all of the high schools with qualified instructors in all of these specialties is going to be a huge challenge. They might have been better off simply adding two more years of basic education, possibly with a more general academic vs vocational track… but of course what’s done is done.

      I live in a part of the Philippines that is a bit of an educational outlier, partly because of the inherent egalitarianism and blunt directness that are part of Igorot culture, partly because the schools were run for many years by American Episcopalian missionaries who prioritized high quality education and saw education as a tool for advancement, rather than (as I fear the Catholic approach sees it) for indoctrination. The result is an unusually well educated community that takes scheisse from nobody

      My two older kids graduated from the local (Episcopal church run) high school, both are at UP (Los Banos) now so I could say a thing or two about university level education as well. One thing I’ve often observed is that the core science subjects, along with geography, seem deeply neglected and poorly taught. I don’t really understand, given the number of Filipinos abroad, why geography is so ignored: very few high school graduates can even read maps properly. It is a peculiar oversight. The sciences… well, my older son will graduate this sem (inshallah) with a degree in applied physics. His graduating class will number about 25. Communications graduates, political science, etc have hundreds. This seems hardly proportional to the number of jobs available in the respective fields.

      The obstacles rto meaningful educational reform are daunting: The facilities need massive upgrades simply to accommodate the number of students in manageable class sizes, and the philosophy and approach are terribly outdated. There is real resistance from a largely fossilized mass of senior teachers and administrators that are deeply rooted in old ways and resistant to change. Hard job, but desperately needs doing.

      • Joe America says:

        Discouraging, when the educational force for enlightenment is fossilized. The relief is via automation, I sincerely believe that. 40 million text books and instruction aids produced annually? Good Lord.

        I’d like to see a presidential candidate put education on the front burner, nut just to build more classrooms, but to solve the quality problems.

        • josephivo says:

          A zillion bottles of Coca Cola of all types and sizes reach every barangay every day, so what can be the problem with 40 million text books once a year?

          P.S. Once the government with undersecretary Lutz (?) had a contract with Coco Cola to help them with the distribution 🙂

          • Joe America says:

            Ask the teachers who start the school year, and the materials have not arrived yet. And the lessons are uninspired, old, wrong, and the ink runs in the rain. Coke is in a bottle.

          • karl garcia says:

            I thought soda is banned. Apparently not.Maybe the contract is for bottled water.

            • Joe America says:

              San Miguel builds freeways. Coke delivers books. My my, the Philippines is more creative than I knew. The kids also use banana leaves as umbrellas.

              • karl garcia says:

                I remember they (usual suspects) don’t want Coca Cola trucks to deliver the books because Coke doess not promote health, and used an analogy that the Lung Center accepting sponsorship from Philip Morris. My oh My.

                • Joe America says:

                  So rather than get the job done well and cheaply, because of superstition, get it done less well or more expensively. Yeah, that makes good sense.

            • josephivo says:

              After driving 4hrs through the mud to a far away school, Usec. Lutz saw a Cola van returning and had the brilliant idea to ask their help in distributing manuals to impossible to reach locations. The contract was only to transport manuals for free to some locations as part of their corporate something.

              If one organization can plan, produce and distribute anywhere, why should it be impossible for another? Its not about the difficulty of the task, it is only about the motivation of the implementers.

      • josephivo says:

        1- Shifting to perfect education is daunting, improve the current situation step by little step is doable. K12 might be a good alibi to ruffle the feathers of some dinosaur teachers.

        2- In my previous life, assisting DAR in region 7 and 9, I saw immense differences between schools and all depending on the headmaster. One was leading an ARC school in the hills behind Zamboanga and he was so good his school won national competitions and better-off people from the city sent there kids 45 min. up the hill to attend his school. Everything was better, light, energy, smiles, teachers, CRs, gardens, everything and all on a standard budget! Headmaster selection, motivation, training….!!!

        3- What is for the parents to teach, what for the “barangay” and what for the school? If the school need all its resources to teach a little discipline, social skills, conversational skills…, little might be left for practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

        4- Concentration schools or mixed schools. All the bright in one class, the stupid in the other? Or all the well-off in one (private school) class, the poor in another (of an overpopulated public school)?

        5- Role models, heroes!!! Where are the scientist to admire? How much more is the remittance of a “scientist” compared to a nurse, a helper? This society only has one boxer, beauty queens and many TV stars as heroes. And an OFW is an OFW, getting out of this country is getting out, regardless as helper or as highly qualified professional, regardless the hardship ahead. “My ate works abroad.”

    • karl garcia says:

      First, the issue of no college erollees for two years will happen very soon. Since no teachers in high school, they get college teachers. Of course the class rom shortage is being addressed by home schooling. All band aid solutio

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, the primary objections to K-12 come from the universities, and teachers’ groups among universities. What seems to be missing is assertive problem solving. I sure didn’t see any indication of it on the DepEd web site. But, in fairness, they are probably overwhelmed with just doing K-12, on top of the ordinary burden of huge proportions. Those original 400 American missionaries who came over here to teach sure laid a big egg.

    • karl garcia says:

      For some reason Trillanes wants to put the brakes on K 12, and a coalition supporting him has filed something in the Supreme Court.

    • karl garcia says:

      The text book issue is a problem, The COA admonished Deped for use if obsolete books, the deped cried foul, claiming obsolete means of no use at all. They say that the information can still be used.
      Maybe the COA saw that it was published in the 90s or something. Ok outdated not obsolete.Excuses abound.

    • karl garcia says:

      We send overseas workers, why not hire overseas teachers. If we try it,maybe there would be many takers.

      • Joe America says:

        I think the problems are credentials for the teachers, and salary levels. It’s a challenge. But what is worse, a class room of 45 kids, or two of 22 with one taught by someone credentialed elsewhere, or who demonstrates decent brainpower. Teaching is by rote, after all.

        • karl garcia says:

          As long as they don’t teach Filipino, I don’t see a problem. Who knows, they might be good at teaching Filipino as well.

      • Filipino teachers are imported by other countries. Here in the US, I know of several states that hired Filipino teachers and issued them working visas to fill shortages. The last I heard, New Zealand is luring them too. Some teachers quit and take domestic helpers jobs abroad because they are paid better.

        Sure, foreign teachers can be enticed to the Philippines easily but I greatly doubt a lot will stay a year or two after on living on local teacher’s salary.

        • karl garcia says:

          I think for this to be possible they pay them(foreign teachers) double, foreign students have different rates.The salary standardization advocates won’t like it. Let us continue to grow our economy and soon we can afford to pay. I know that there are many other reasons for going abroad, but pay is primary factor.Our debt to Gdp ratios are improving meaning the configuration of government spending of 30% for debt payment 30% salaries and 40% for others is no longer the case.Grow the economy, stabilize debt payments.Then our government can function , and we can afford to pay ,at last

    • karl garcia says:

      I7shap mentioned Gilas, what ever happened?

      And what happed to the partnership with microsoft?

    • edgar lores says:

      1. I scanned the post for many words. Most I found. But there are many I couldn’t:

      o Logic
      o Reasoning
      o Meditation
      o Potential
      o Self-actualization/realization
      o Defense/security/martial arts
      o Dance
      o History
      o Astronomy
      o Sex

      2. Instead of the first two, I found “powers of the mind.” What is that? In place of the next three, I found “personal development.”

      3. I think education has many purposes, but at the top I would place the following:

      3.1. To discover the child’s vocation, be it cook, cabbie, dancer, or mortician.
      3.2. To train the mind to refine itself.
      3.3. To train the individual to protect himself to give him confidence.

      4. The tail end of the lists are intriguing.

      4.1. Schools with water. You mean there are schools with no water? This would be alright if liquid refreshments were available. But does this mean there are schools with no toilet facilities?

      4.2. Schools with electricity. You mean there are schools with no electricity? And we expect each kid to have access to a computer?

      4.3. There should be more lists. Schools with canteens. Schools with media facilities. Schools for special children (special meaning with disabilities or with extraordinary abilities).

      5. The dropout rate is staggering… and there is no analysis? If public education (K-K6) is still largely free, then the main reason could not be economic… unless the issue has to do with child labor.

      6. I googled sex education and it seems that it is taught — except in Catholic schools! The correlation between Catholic majority and overpopulation is pretty convincing. Is this a case of intended or unintended consequence? If unintended, I am not sure if it is an “unexpected drawback” or a “perverse result”. I believe the positive spin of the Church is that it is an “unexpected benefit”.

    • karl garcia says:

      Of the young guns, I see Bam Aquino(him again?) as a champion for education.
      Trillanes is older than me so I can’t call him young. Trillanes plans to TRO k12. I am stil allergic to TROs, so I say, what good would that do?

      • karl garcia says:

        Just made sure that Sonny Angara is younger for me to call him young gun hehe, but actually I forgot about him for a moment, I think education is part of his advocacies.

        • Joe America says:

          I agree. Youth is relative, but even 40 is more idealistic than 50, and 50 more-so than 60. After 60, the cement hardens in most craniums. Idealism is important, for attached to work, it can become change. My rank order of enlightened senators who are capable of operating for the nation rather than their friends would be:

          Cayetano (A)

          Everyone else seems to be of mediocre talent (Sotto, Legarda, Villar) or restrained by personal allegiances (Poe, Escudero). Pimentel I am iffy about.

          I’d love to see Leni Robredo in the senate in 2016.

      • Joe America says:

        It would disrupt. Disruption is the last thing the Philippines needs.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      Here are my suggestions for better Philippines’ education:

      1. Scrutinize the curriculum in Teachers’ colleges and universities. Though most intelligent and gifted students will not be adversely affected by incompetent and ill-educated teachers, many students will be affected. Rote method teaching technique should not be taught to teachers in training.

      2. Review teachers’ salaries. If Filipino teachers willingly accept overseas jobs as maids because they pay better, there’s something wrong with that picture. Give them competency tests and reward those who deserves it. Some Filipino teachers are disgruntled employees and it shows in their students’ academic performance.

      3. Pay particular attention to “norms and values” of various stakeholders. Case in point, teachers’ norms and values need to be observed and improved. When I was a student in the Philippines, it is normal for teachers to yell, scream, and talk condescendingly to “bad” students. It is in Asian culture to respect elders and those in position of authority but some teachers takes that as a permission to verbally and psychologically abuse students.

      4. The government could offer teachers’ college loans or subsidize teachers’ education to stave off teachers’ shortage.

      5. The mass media could help by cutting on telenovelas, conspiracy theories, celebrity worship and unsubstantiated pronouncements and adding programs and literatures that build knowledge base.

      6. All schools should at least have a wired computer lab or computers in the library if students can not be provided with learning tablets. To quote Cha, ” In today’s technological world, ignorance is a choice.”

      7. The lack of quality education in the Philippines is a multifactorial problem. Factors involved are systemic, cultural, sociological, financial and more. A thorough study of the nations’ educational system is needed and a complete overhaul should be implemented.

      • Joe America says:

        It is a multifactorial problem. I rather think that the educational system is well suited to the economy, in a way, as unfortunate as that is for smart kids born into poor families. Labor is the way the nation works. And families with money can buy their way into a good track and remain in the country employed by an uncle or brother or father in a nice office job. Some of the factors go hand in hand. Fair employment laws that create fair career paths at large corporations is so . . . well, foreign here. And when I suggest it, I am told that I am naive. And so the nation has no channels in which ordinary people can aspire and thereby have productivity flourish and be rewarded with promotions and raises. If the only opportunities are overseas, that is where people will go. Smartly so.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      “82% of primary grade students are above average on NAT tests, but this percentage drops sharply to 48% for secondary schools.

      WHY?? Not said. Not enough quality teachers? Where is the quality of teachers metric? Not said.

      A full one-fourth of all students do not complete the school year.

      WHY?? Not said. The teacher issue? Expenses? Family problems? Not said.”

      Public education in the Philippines is not free. There are a lot of expenses involved in sending a kid to school even in the Philippines. I think if one correlates socio-demographic data with the data above, one will get the answer to the WHYs. Compound that with the systemic and other factors, you get a failed educational system.

      My firsthand experience is, for the poor, the lack of financial resources is the main problem which often results in high dropout rates. I am often told that so and so’s child dropped out of secondary school because she needs money for her to register and then there’s the lab fees, projects, field trips and miscellaneous expenses. That is also the time when a child becomes aware of her body, appearance, and place in the pecking order. A poor, unhappy, awkward and self conscious youth is bound not to do well academically.

      • Joe America says:

        DepEd issued a directive earlier this year to remind schools that no fees are to be charged. I think many of them are local fees, or teacher instigated, to sell a grade, even. It is indeed a barrier for poor students.

    • josephivo says:

      Joe, can you explain the average? In my book 50% is above and 50% is below. Is it an international population and the Philippines much better, or average over many years and today much better than before? Or is the distribution so askew, below 0% and above 100% not allowed?

      • Joe America says:

        I can’t actually, and wondered about that. Maybe 48% means things are good. In that number are a few top performers and some really poor performers, and a big bunch around the middle. It is bizarre, though, that the younger grades beat the average by such a huge margin. That kind of information is what DepEd should make available. Maybe 48% is a good achievement and the young kids are geniuses on the way up.

        I somehow doubt it.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Philippines USED to have K-12. You had Grade 1 to Grade 7, and 1st to 5th year high school. It is just that at some point Grade 7 was cut, then 5th year was removed, so finally you had K10. Just a story I heard from older people, so it must have been in the 1960s or so. Wonder who knows.

      Trillanes is right with his TRO – it is more disruptive just to go K-12 without a realistic plan. Just telling schools to do something without enabling them to do it comes across strange to me.

      And what is going to happen to colleges in the meantime – will they just be empty for two years?

      • Joe America says:

        How would you propose to get the Philippines to the point where its high school graduates are recognized at universities around the world? What would you consider a realistic plan to be?

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          It is pretty rare that Philippine high school graduates go and study at universities abroad.

          A realistic plan would be to get the basics working first, then build on that.

          Besides, the senior high school curriculum overlaps with the first two years of college.

          So colleges need to adjust their curriculum as well in response to K-12.

          Staffing and facilities for senior high need to be ready – apparently they are not.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            In the long term, there will be much less colleges in the Philippines, since the Philippine bachelor is only considered equivalent to an international baccalaureate. Let’s say it is a baccalaureate plus two years with one year missing for an international bachelor.

            The college professors that teach the 101 courses should be moved to senior high schools, but that has to be coordinated properly to prevent the disruptions that Trillanes very rightly sees. Colleges should first add one year to their bachelor courses so that they provide a true international bachelor, next step should be to implement K-12. Then you have only one batch missing. Some colleges will close as a result but that is foreseeable.

            Much colleges that teach just teach skills will no longer be needed, K-12 will fulfill that.

          • Joe America says:

            Refer to the following document for a thorough overview of the K-12 program:


            The program is exactly one-half way through. If objections were to have been taken to the Supreme Court, it should have been done three years ago.

            Can you imagine the chaos to pull the plug now?

            • Joe America says:

              The intentions are good. A lot of thinkning went into it. It was not just slapped together. Change requires change. I tend to think the overall objective of getting the Philippine education on a par with American and European schooling is good, and short term pain is better than forever being behind.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                It is a good objective. Probably some adjustments and a slight postponement to prepare things properly may be necessary. The first two years of Filipino college IMHO become redundant. Remove them. And add one year to give more substance to bachelor’s degree.

                My proposal is: add a year to the bachelor’s degree in 2016. Then introduce senior high school in 2017. After making sure everything is prepared in the right way.

                • Joe America says:

                  That’s a nice wish, but it seems like jerking the plan around from a view that is not as informed as that of the people implementing it. It’s a firm program, underway, and to change it would require study, re-configuring, changing. Making a tough program even tougher. I’m not sure what Senator Trillanes’ problem with it is, but the protests I’ve read about are mainly on grounds of loss of Filipino language courses. The claim is that it is “unconstitutional”. Well, to me, that is just people whose ox is gored not able to live with someone else’s oxen, when the idea is to plow fertile fields, not dine on the oxen. I think the overarching idea is good and it ought to be followed through. Not jerked around by vested interests.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  From what I read, teachers are not yet ready and parents neither according to him.

                  Well, let it go to court and if DepEd proves that they are ready all will be fine.

                • Joe America says:

                  They have never been fully ready and won’t be for a long time as long as salaries are low and poor performing college students are routed to teaching as their career.K-12 only makes the point clear and hardly causes it. Parents, too, are largely disengaged from their kids’ education. That is not a problem caused by K-12. So those arguments don’t make much sense to me.

            • josephivo says:

              It is impossible to change the direction of a large ship like this one with one K12 whack on the wheel. It will take years, many adjustments will be needed.

              It is not a question of what to do first, it is a question of doing as many things as physical possible at the same time and follow through. Adjust, improve again and again. K12 should not only add 2 years, it should wake up teachers, improve the curriculum, open a national debate on education, wake up colleges, increase the status/pay of teachers, share best practices, eradicate corruption in schools and LGU’s education budgets, educate parents with a lesser academic background, …and, and, and.

              The ball got kicked hard by Deped and its K12, keep it rolling!!! Don’t at think on how to stop it because you didn’t score a perfect 10 yet,

              • Joe America says:

                That’s a very healthy perspective, and one that I tended to overlook for the criticism on transparency. K-12 was a huge, huge, bold step. So my characterization that DepEd is doing “more of the same” is about as far off the mark as it is possible to be. Thanks for making that point, and the point that it is important to continue to develop.

    • josephivo says:

      Drop outs. The case of our ad hoc gardener. His wife left him and their 5 children 3 years ago. The eldest was in grade 6, she left school and became helper somewhere, 24/7, for a lousy 500 PHP a month. Last year I learned that she used to have very high grades and we proposed to send the kid back to school, pay all expenses and 1000 PHP a month “pocket money” to compensate for the lost income. She refused, a school is too childish, now she feels independent, ashamed to be 2 years too old… so she still is helper at 700PHP now, the next sister is helper too, the oldest boy is helping his father, the 2 youngest boys still in elementary. The father still working all over the subdivision from before daylight until late at night at hourly rates far below minimum.

      Where was the school, didn’t they see a kid disappearing? Where is the Barangay, shouldn’t they know their vulnerable customers?

    • i7sharp says:

      Thus far, it seems there is no mention yet of simplify.
      So, fwiw, let me bring it up and lump it with two other things:
      1. simplify
      2. asaasap (as short and as simple as possible)
      3. fjt
      – try googling for “fitly joined together”

      My idea of doing
      “Information Architecture”

      For example. why not place everything under 7 *main* categories”?
      This, below, is not perfect but it’s a start:
      1 Governance
      2 Education
      3 Technology
      4 Humanities
      5 Health
      6 Arts
      7 Culture
      My idea of “ssseven” – short ‘n’ simple ‘n’ seven

      Enough of that for now.

      Suggested activities
      1. Google for …
      “Philippine textbooks errors”
      Then, try adding to it “Antonio Calipjo-Go”

      2. Read “The Filipino Teacher 1907”
      Perhaps you will find it interesting.

      • i7sharp says:

        That should read …
        7 Faith (not 7 Culture)

        Now. …
        What to do with errors.

        In the early 80s I came upon what looked to me an error in an Operations Manual and informed the home office in Cologne (Germany) about it.
        Although the error was minor (definitely not posing any danger), within 15 minutes the company alerted all airports affected (where it operated its DC-10 aircraft).

        Today, three decades later, in the case of textbook errors, why can’t all affected schools right away be informed of them and be provided the corrected parts?

        If students have the textbook in their flash or thumb drive
        (ODPC – One Drive Per Child or student)
        they should be able to download the corrected parts in no time.
        ‘Di ba?

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Looks better than I thought:

      Luistro maintained that the situation is “manageable” because DepEd will hire 30,000 to 41,000 high school teachers for 2016 and 2017 and the department will prioritize displaced teaching and non-teaching staff.

      He noted that several private colleges have requested DepEd for permit to open senior high school programs that will absorb affected teachers, further bringing down the number of affected faculty.

      Colleges open senior high schools, then the next step would be for them to shorten the bachelor’s course to three years because a lot of material will move to senior high school.

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        But I still do not see how the new teachers will be enabled in teaching the new courses.

        The approach in senior high school is totally different from what the Philippines had before.

        The risk I see is that teachers will pretend to teach the new programs but do it the old way.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I wish the web site had been more elaborate in explaining that crucial issue.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

   – “Modeling Best Practices for Senior High School

            In SY 2012-2013, there are 33 public high schools, public technical-vocational high schools, and higher education institutions (HEIs) that have implemented Grade 11. This is a Research and Design (R&D) program to simulate different aspects of Senior High School in preparation for full nationwide implementation in SY 2016-2017. Modeling programs offered by these schools are based on students’ interests, community needs, and their respective capacities.”

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                This is positive too – a school that worked in the past, as shown in Amaya. I am on that trip at the moment, bear with me. A school of native “witches”, here posting between scenes:

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  Visayan witches Joe, cause that is where the story plays.

                  Never get your wife mad… 🙂

                • Joe America says:

                  I regret to inform you that I have already learned that lesson . . . it was dangerous to my health . . .

                • Joe America says:

                  I think I would like witches. Rich character.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  She is a witch too, and a warrior queen. Amaya with her snake-twin, an ancient legend said that those born during a lunar eclipse with a snake-twin had special powers.

                  Akin to the Bikol snake-woman Oryol, who ate ancient Bikol founder-king Handyong’s men one by one until she was impressed by Handyong and helped him destroy evil beasts. Which goes to show that snake-women can go both ways. Grace Poe is a modern one.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  Chief of Wildlife has matured and modernized. Must tell ancient stories of my people.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  My sister too is a snake woman, born in the Year of the Snake, and a warrior queen.

                  But her ancestor Oryol, wife of Bikol King Oryol, was the devil’s daughter. She is the daughter of Zeus himself, and therefore akin to Athena.

      • Joe America says:

        Or keep it at 4 and add depth. The idea is to raise Philippine education quality. I’d say carry that theme through to college level as well.

        • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

          The international standard is 3-4 years for bachelor, so there is some flexibility. The K12 senior high school program is more coherent than what is now offered in the first two years of college in the Philippines. Take those two years off, add one or two to have a bachelor’s degree that meets international standards like Bologna and Washington.

          • karl garcia says:

            TESDA should reinvent itself if tech voc is already part of High school curriculum.
            The improvements would just keep on coming.
            As well as CHED, they should strengthen the core subjects and have three electives to break monotony so long as the elective is not part of high school curriculum .

    • karl garcia says:

      Allow me to share my amazement

      A link to interactive whiteboards, and projectors.

      Add to that GILAS project,partnership with Microsoft and IBM

      I can smile and at the same time,wonder why i have to google and not rely one a one stop website.

      • Joe America says:

        I hold a little skepticism about technology. I believe it is the path of the future, but implementation is not the best I think. The early foray into giving computers to the schools left a lot of dead computers laying about because no one could keep them operating right.

        • karl garcia says:

          Sad but true, not only in schools, but the entire government.Implementation, sustaining kills it. Ningas cogon, good only at the start is one quirk we are allegedly “good” at.

          • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

            Karl, it is not always like that. The following video is an example – a teleserye but very EDUCATIONAL, advised by some of the greatest Philippine historians including my father, produced with great care including a real barangay boat rebuilt just for the teleserye which plays in the time when our people still had a good navy – the 1500s in the place were our best sailors come from – the VISAYAS: it is AMAYA, story of love and vengeance:

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              Correction: it is not a barangay boat, it is a caracoa that they reconstructed for Amaya. Did you know that the Spanish prohibited buiilding boats bigger than a certain size for our ancestors? Because they feared our boats then, like we now fear Abu Sayyaf speedboats.

              • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                This is what we once had, the Spanish galleons were too slow and they were faster in the shallow waters of the Visayan seas. What we once were we can be again but modern:

                • karl garcia says:

                  The Voyage of the Balangay-1

                  Balangay Replica

                • karl garcia says:

                  I wonder if the planned voyage of the balangay to cross the Indian ocean to retrace the land bridge path of our ancestors ever pushed through.


                  Art Valdez once lead a team to Everest.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:


                  I’m sure you know what your father’s rank would have been called back in the days…

         was a term also used in old Maynila.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  In the modern-day Indonesian Navy, he would be a Laksamana Pertama.

                  Retired of course..

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  You are of the warrior caste – mandirigma.

                  I am of the learned caste – dalubhasa.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  Another word for mandirigma in ancient times was maharlika, akin to the Javanese/Dutch word maardijker which the Dutch called their native troops. Unfortunately one man discredited the word maharlika. We will not mention him here.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  That man’s son went to England, but not to visit the Queen because his mother already thinks she is one, and especially did not go there to study but just to grow his hair long.

                • karl garcia says:

                  Cant reply due to faster than a speeding bullet posts. To answer, no probably knew before but forgot. Re laksamana.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  🙂 No problem. Ayos lang Karl. My weapon is my mind, being a dalubhasa. Whatever weapon you are using, mental or physical, it is essential to be fast and effective. Tayong dalawa, magkasparring lang tayo, ako 3rd Dan of the mind Tatay ko 7th Dan… 🙂

                  Si Edgar Lores naman, 5th reincarnation of Obi Wan Kenobi, on the way to eternal bliss but stayed to teach us mortals, a Bodhisattva of the mind, our Dalai Lama:

          • josephivo says:

            And an other problem, I visited many DAR offices we equipped with computers and those who were switched on all had the same screen, Free Cell. Little shame here between colleagues (and bosses) to do nothing, waiting for the next instruction.

            • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

              The mentality of colonial slaves that we unfortunately acquired. Doing nothing, waiting for the next instruction. Juan Tamad at least knew he was avoiding Spanish forced labor, and therefore was a real native hero.

              • karl garcia says:

                If they would just login to then they would not play free cell.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  Exactly – they would be modern (r)evolutionary grandchildren of Juan Tamad like me, avoiding work sometime but making good use of their free time.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  Did you know that Andres Bonifacio was warehouse manager for a German import/export firm in Tondo? That he used his Tondo smuggling connections to get guns for the Katipunan? That they used factories at night to produce their own guns?

                  Did you know that Tondo is the older Kingdom than Manila, the title of Hari ng Tundo held by gangsters is therefore the oldest royal title in the Philippines? Tondo is mentioned on the 900 A.D. Laguna copperplate inscription, its Laksamana = admiral is mentioned also.

                  Did you know that the Laguna copperplate is about debt forgiveness for services rendered by the Honorable Namwaran? So even then, mahilig tayo sa utang, meron nang mga certification at affidavit at pati iyong Hon. ginagamit na? And it starts with “long live”!

                  That around 1300 AD an ambassador was sent from “dongdo” on “Lusungdo” – Tondo in Luzon to the Ming court – the Ming annals record it clearly. Vibrant trade between China and Tondo for many centuries, causing Muslim Brunei to get interested in us?

                  That the Malays founded their settlement Kota Seludong on the other side of the river, and that the local people called it Maynila, because of the swamp plant nila that grew there, also known as al nil in Arabic and indigo in English?

                  That Rajah Sulayman came from the oldest political dynasty in the Malay world, the Bolkiahs of Brunei who have ruled for seven centuries? That Raja Lakandula became his vassal but remained the King of Tondo, respected even by a Malay superpower?

                  Did you know that when the Macabebe from Pampanga and the Bruneians attacked the Spanish at Bangkusay near Tondo, they lost and the nephews of Lakandula said they were only bystanders, so Legazpi had no choice but to accept Lakandula’s “neutrality”?

                  Now THAT is KNOWLEDGE people – a first spin-off from Manong Sonny’s and my project. Lakandula had a descendant named Macapagal in Pampanga, from him are descended not only two Presidents but also Senator Gil Puyat, Senator Jovito Salonga and Leah S.

                • Joe America says:

                  A very tantalizing tease . . .

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  This is how our teachers must TEACH people! This is what the gangsta rappers from Tondo must rap about people! Mind is a terrible thing to waste say the US blacks.

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  “A very tantalizing tease . . .” Tease is a concept I salazarcopied from you. 🙂

                  Made a jeepney out of your jeep. Put some salsa into your burgers to make them taste good like Jolibee. This is Irineo IN DA HOUSE of American Joe rappin’ to da pipol!

                • i7sharp says:

                  “Did you know that Tondo is the older Kingdom than Manila, the title of Hari ng Tundo held by gangsters is therefore the oldest royal title in the Philippines? Tondo is mentioned on the 900 A.D. Laguna copperplate inscription, its Laksamana = admiral is mentioned also.”


                  Which makes it incomprehensible (to me, anyway) why Tondo’s 259 barangays are merely “numbered” – and not given meaningful (historic, etc.) names:

                  btw, IBRS …
                  can you quickly check for errors or duplicates in the codes?

                • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

                  @i7sharp: hope enough old school locals still know the historical names.

                  When I once went to Tondo with my father to get a Philippine manufactured piano – the “harp” inside was German though, who knows how my father “organized” it hehe, the native names of the old places were still known, people referred to them.

                  Old Tagalog action films, the stuff I watched together with our lavandera on lazy mornings – I had afternoon classes until Grade 4, refer to old place names. Tundo – Isla Puting Bato is a powerful gangster movie.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      When I look at the K-12 webpage of the government, I get the impression that they do have a clear idea of where they want to go and a plan that they are implementing step-by-step.

      Trillanes is representing his typical clientele of government employees (teachers) and citizens (parents) by expressing their concerns. Just hope that he does not overdo it. And that DepEd will show that they are taking these concerns seriously. Then things will not go bad. Hopefully.

    • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

      Teaching can take many forms, use many mediums, even analogies if the message is right. This flexibility is something educators must have, and students must be taught in their courses.

      My father, Dr. Zeus Salazar, founder and head of the intellectual pantayong pananaw movement, REQUIRED his students to watch BRAVEHEART when it came out as an example of what it can mean to be there for your own people – and he was a coach for the making of AMAYA:

      • Irineo B. R. Salazar says:

        Of course my father loves movies, when I was a child we left no Roger Moore version of James Bond out – and of course what he took us boys to was every ROCKY movie, too teach us to never give up, keep coming back no matter what happens…

        Of course it fits that he was in the predecessor of MTCRB during Cory time, with his ID he could watch movies anytime he wanted, and that Fernando Poe Jr. was his friend.

        And of course he was behind the only screening of the “Last Temptation of Christ” in the Philippines, even on intellectual U.P. ground it was a controversial thing to do. Asked what happened, my father – then Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Palma Hall, said that he did not know what the students did, that left the hall to have an ensaymada and some coffee, then went to his office – Rm 2021 – and did some reading. 🙂

    • how can I force the teachers of my daughter to show me the computation of her grade.she is only grade 5.and i believe that there is an anomaly going on. it happened last year,i complaint and ask for them to show me the computation but this teacher refused instead she changed her grade.she is studying on a private school here in caloocan.

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