On Philippine Education: The Basic Education School Reform Agenda (BESRA)
BASIC EDUCATION SECTOR REFORM AGENDA (BESRA) is a package of policy reforms that as a whole seeks to systematically improve critical regulatory, institutional, structural, financial, cultural, physical and informational conditions affecting basic education provision, access and delivery on the ground. It aims to create a basic education sector that is capable of attaining the country’s Education for All Objectives by the year 2015. In summary, its objectives are:
1. Universal Adult Functional Literacy;
2. Universal School Participation and Elimination of Drop-outs and Repetition in First Three Grades;
3. Universal Completion of the Full Cycle of Basic Education Schooling with Satisfactory Achievement Levels by All At Every Grade or Year; and
4. Total Community Commitment to Attainment of Basic Education Competencies for All.
In order for the basic education sector to achieve the above listed desired educational outcomes for all Filipinos, the BESRA focuses on specific policy actions within five key reform thrusts (KRT) as follows:
KRT 1: Get all schools to continuously improve.
KRT 2: Enable teachers to further enhance their contribution to learning outcomes.
KRT 3: Increase social support to attainment of desired learning outcomes.
KRT 4: Improve impact on outcomes from complementary early childhood education, alternative learning systems and private sector participation.
KRT 5: Change institutional culture of Dep. Ed to better support these key reform thrusts.
In short, the five key reform thrusts of BESRA are on: schools, teachers, social support to learning, complementary interventions, and Dep.Ed.’s institutional culture.
It is from these concepts that we can get the specific roles that administrators and teachers are expected to perform:
* Administrators must ensure that all schools and cluster of schools is led by a school head who is selected, prepared, supported, monitored and made accountable for organizing and leading an institutionalized school improvement process at the school/community level.
* must routinely prepare a school improvement plan (SIP), establish and maintain functional and empowered School Governing Councils (SGC) and work side by side with the community in establishing and sustaining school/community level actions for enhancing basic health and nutrition conditions of students and school staff
* must create a school-based resource management structure with the soul function of managing all resources available to the school
* must have a school-based representation in Local School Boards of Local Government Units
* must adopt the SBM (School-Based Management) Framework
* must increase number, type, and quality of community-school partnerships
* must adopt multi-sectoral national strategies in support of learning in three major areas of knowledge of common interest to all Filipinos, namely, learning in English, in Filipino and in Math and Science.
* must develop new or scale up existing locality-based early childhood education, enhance and accelerate Alternative Learning System coverage
*must develop and adopt a strategy for cost-effective use of ICT in basic education (for classroom instruction and teachers’ training in schools. Expand and mainstream those already tested, cost-saving educational technologies as tried out in past programs and projects.
(Since BESRA is focused on school administration, only few can be deduced from it that concerns teachers’ specific roles.)
* Generally, teachers must be key agents to make all the key reform thrusts happen.
* Teachers must raise the prevailing standards of their profession to meet demands for better learning outcomes.
* must progressively improve their quality/competency (based on national competency standards adapted to local conditions).
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