Tuesday, March 15, 2016

CFO provides website platform to help OFWs decide on SHS program for their children
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, March 14 (PNA) – The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) has opened a free website platform that would help Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) decide on schools and specialization tracks for their children at home who are entering the Senior high School (SHS) for the full implementation of the government’s K to 12 basic education program this year.

In a statement reaching here Monday, CFO Chair Imelda Nicolas said the website platform—Edukasyon.ph which the Commission established recently -- would help the around-27,500 incoming SHS students and their OFW parents in searching for the right school and curriculum tracks ahead of the opening of school year 2016-2017 in June, which will mark the start of the SHS course.

Edukasyon.ph is a free website platform that gives choice, convenience and pieces of advice on education to career options around the Philippines, Nicolas said.

“We understand how difficult it is for OFW parents to involve themselves in the education planning of their children, especially now that there would be SHS. Through the Edukasyon.ph #SeniorHighDreams component, they will no longer feel disconnected from their child’s education,” she said.

CFO has also been able to circulate a memorandum with enclosed tutorial kits on understanding Edukasyon.ph's services and on how using the website can aid them in the selection for their children of senior high tracks, career guidance and advisory, to the many OFWs, Nicolas said.

The memorandum was circulated around countries with large numbers of OFWs like Bahrain, China, East Timor, Greece, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, she said.

Through the Edukasyon.ph website, parents and students can easily search for senior high-ready schools and offered tracks that are near their home location or see which tuition fees are within their budget and what scholarship opportunities the educational institutions are offering, according to her.

“#SeniorHighDreams” is one of the newest features of the platform which aims to educate the parents and students about SHS, its tracks and specializations and the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Voucher Program, apart from the comprehensive information on careers and scholarships that it contains, she said.

“Parents will have a bird’s-eye view on senior high through Edukasyon.ph. Our job at Edukasyon.ph is to make sure we bridge the educational information gap and enable more parents and families to make informed decisions on the educational investments for their children,” Henry Motte-Muñoz, the CFO project creator, said in the same statement.

The CFO, which operates under the Office of the President, is the key agency tasked to look after the welfare of Filipino migrants and permanent residents abroad by fostering and strengthening ties with Filipino communities overseas and the motherland.

The Edukasyon.ph project, Nicolas said, was among the undertakings of the commission as it served as a forum for preserving and enhancing the social, economic and cultural ties of Filipinos overseas, and advanced their interests in the country and abroad by formulating policies and developing and implementing programs to promote their well being.

DepEd Bicol Regional Director Ramon Fiel Abcede lauded the CFO project, saying it would significantly help the thousands of OFWs from the region decide for their children’s education at home, particularly with the implementation of the SHS curriculum starting this year.

Although DepEd-Bicol expects a “smooth sailing” of the opening of the curriculum in June this year, Abcede said Edukasyon.ph would still help greatly as a venue between students and their OFW parents in making wise decisions with regard to the choice of school to enroll in and specialization track to take.

The regional education department, he said, was basing its positive expectation on the preparations for the SHS, which it has already completed.

“We have already oriented school officials, organized the implementation teams, launched advocacy programs, conductive consultative conferences with stakeholders, coordinated with other government agencies, benchmarked SHS pilot implementers, formulated action plans and strengthened the Career Guidance Program,” Abcede said.

These were all the most salient points needed prior to the start of the implementation of the new program, he said, stressing that his office was seriously concerned about laying the grounds for the smooth transition that would usher in significant changes in the educational system not only in the region but also in the whole country, in general.

DepEd-Bicol has also conducted a survey among 78,451 students from public schools and 10,710 students from private schools in the region as to their preference for SHS field of specialization.

The survey revealed that 36,027 in public and 5,956 in private schools were so far interested to enroll in academic track; 30,784 (public) and 3,372 (private) wish to be immersed in technical-vocational track, while the remaining 11,640 (public) and 1,382 (private) would be into sports and arts track.

The survey was part of the intensive preparations undertaken for the implementation of the SHS Program in School Year 2016-2017, which is expected to bring about a major enhancement in the basic education program as stipulated in Republic Act 10533 or K to 12 Law.

Under the law, a student may choose a specialization based on his aptitude, interest and school capacity.

It is the choice of the track to undertake that will define the content of the subjects a student will take in Grades 11 and 12.

SHS subjects will fall either under the Core Curriculum or Specific Tracks.

The Core Curriculum will have to be taken by all students that include subjects in Language, Mathematics, Social Sciences, Literature, Communication, Natural Science and Philosophy.

Specific Tracks, on the other hand, fall under Academic, Technical-Vocational-Livelihood, Sports, and Arts and Design.

As stated in the K to 12 Law, a SHS graduate will be ready for higher education, middle-level skills, entrepreneurship or employment.

More importantly, he will be holistically developed with 21st century skills clearly imbibed in his learning and innovation skills, effective communication, information, media and technology skills and life and career skills, Abcede added. (PNA) RMA/FGS/DOC/CBD