Philippine Education for All
The Education for All (EFA) is a global commitment which was first launched in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 to bring the benefits of education to “every citizen in every society.” National governments, civil society groups, and development agencies like UNESCO and the World Bank are part of the commitment.
As a response, the Philippines crafted and implemented the 10-year EFA Philippine Plan of Action covering 1991-2000. The EFA plan articulated the country’s national goals, objectives, policies and strategies, as well as the regional programs for implementation for the first decade of the EFA movement. Under the 1991-2000 Plan (EFA 1), the thrusts included:
- Early Childhood Development
- Expansion of self-sustaining community-based ECCD
- Use of innovative approaches to parent education
- Promotion of preparatory education
- Accreditation of private pre-school programs and institutions
- Differentiated approaches for special categories of children.
- Strengthening of health, nutrition and other allied services.
- Socio-cultural adaptation of curriculum, materials and approaches.
- Single agency to coordinate programs for ECCD
- Universalization of Quality Primary Education
- Enhancing the holding power or student retention of schools
- Using alternative teaching-learning delivery modes
- Strengthening home-school partnership
- Emphasis on higher-level thinking skills
- Upgrading teacher competencies
- Alternative Learning Systems
- Eradication of illiteracy in selected areas
- Promotion of continuing education and development
- Implementation of integrated programs
In September 2000, the commitment was reaffirmed due to the slow progress over the decade when 189 countries and their partners adopted two of the EFA goals among the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was then that the Philippines reaffirmed its commitment and translated it into Philippine National Plan of Action to Achieve Education for All By Year 2015. Therefore, the Philippine Education For All (EFA) 2015 was developed with an aim of improving the quality of basic education for every Filipino by 2015.
Philippine EFA Vision
Considered as a program of reform, Philippine EFA dwells on the vision that by 2015, the Philippines is an educated nation where citizens are functionally literate. Functional literacy is considered as the ability to communicate, to solve problem, to sustainably use resources, to develop oneself, and to have a broad perspective about the world.
- Universal coverage of out-of-school youths and adults in the provision of basic learning needs. All persons who failed to acquire the essential competence to be functionally literate in their native tongue, in Filipino, and in English.
- Universal school participation and elimination of drop-outs and repetition in first three grades. All children aged six should enter school ready to learn and prepared to achieve the required competencies for Grades 1 to 3.
- Universal completion of the full cycle of basic education schooling with satisfactory achievement levels by all at every grade or year.
- Total community commitment to attainment of basic education competencies for all: Every community should mobilize all its social, political, cultural and economic resources and capabilities to support the universal attainment of basic education competencies in Filipino and English.
- Production Tasks
- Make every school continuously perform better.
- Make expansion of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) coverage to yield more EFA benefits.
- Transform non-formal and informal interventions into an alternative learning system (ALS) yielding more EFA benefits.
- Promote practice of high quality teaching.
- Adopt a 12-year program for formal basic education to the existing 10-year basic education schooling.
- Accelerate articulation, enrichment, development of the basic education curriculum in the context of the pillars of new functional literacy.
- Enabling Tasks
- Provide adequate and stable public funding for country-wide attainment of EFA goals.
- Create a network of community-based groups for local attainment of EFA goals.
- Monitor progress in efforts towards attainment of EFA goals. Of particular importance is the development and implementation of indicators of “quality education”.
Larger Concerns to the Nation
- Language. Education for all should enable everyone to speak in the vernacular, Filipino and English.
- National Identity. Education should not only develop critical thinking, but also enlarge horizons and inspire self-reflection and hope in every generation.
- Social capital. Education for all builds social capital. It makes possible the achievement of certain ends that would not otherwise be attainable in its absence.
- Cultural practices. Cultural values can be a highly productive component of social capital, allowing communities and the whole country to efficiently restrain opportunism and resolve problems of collective action such as individual refusal to serve the public good, etc.
- Individual freedom. Education for all is really about assuring the capacity to fully exercise freedom by all.