Aquino signs law creating open high school system in PH
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III recently signed a law that creates a "learner-centered and flexible" open high school system in the Philippines.
Republic Act (RA) 10665 or the Open High School System Act seeks to provide more learners access to secondary education through the open learning modality.
According to a copy of the law made public on Tuesday, July 21, open learning is a philosophy of learning that is "learner-centered and flexible, enabling learners to learn at the time, place and pace which satisfies their circumstances and requirements."
The law, which encourages young people to complete their secondary education, comes as the Department of Education (DepEd) works on its "last mile": bringing the schools to where the learners are.
To date, there are already 980 schools under DepEd's Open High School Program. (READ: Gaps remain as PH misses 2015 education goals)
The new open high school system will be open to elementary graduates and high school qualifiers of two tests: the Philippine Educational Placement Test and the Accreditation and Equivalency Test of DepEd's Alternative Learning System.
The vision is to enable the youth to overcome "personal, geographical, socioeconomic and physical constraints" to education. (READ: Luistro: Don't forget far-flung schools)
When the law was still being proposed in Congress, lawmakers saw this system as a means to bring education services to high school students through different means:
- computer-based communications
- other multi-media learning and teaching technologies
These alternative delivery modes will "allow students to study on their own without having to regularly attend classes in conventional classrooms."
Under the new law, DepEd is in charge of authorizing public high schools and other institutions to practice open learning, which should still adopt the standards and learning competencies under the K to 12 curriculum.
The law mandates every DepEd school division to establish centers in authorized mother high schools for learners of the open high school system. It will also hire teachers that will manage the centers on a full-time basis.
Local government units can also help out, especially since qualified, locally-hired teachers will be prioritized in the hiring for the open high school system.
In fact, RA 10665 encourages the adoption of a memorandum of agreement between DepEd and LGUs to "define their respective roles" in the system.
"The DepEd shall encourage and promote partnership with concerned civil society organizations and other service providers in order to sustain an enabling environment for participatory planning, budgeting, and implementation of the OHSS-related programs and projects," the law said.
Private schools can also establish their own privately-funded learning centers, subject to the approval of DepEd. – Jee Y. Geronimo/Rappler.com