State of the Art
A 1985 study on the state of the art of research undertaken by the Philippine Association for Graduate Education (PAGE) as commissioned by the Program for Decentralized Educational Development (PRODED) showed that 287 graduate schools and research centers throughout the country undertook hundreds of researches from 1962 to 1982. These researches were classified into nine (9) research areas and the third most researched area was on “Educational Policy Studies and Program Evaluation”. However, as with all other studies, educational policy and program evaluation studies were found to be local studies and therefore limited in scope. Quantitative data and statistical treatment were considered deficient, thus revealing the generally low level of sophistication in the analysis of data gathered. A review of the recommendations of these studies also showed little impact on educational policies or practices. Particularly the area on educational policy studies and program evaluation was found to have “no far-reaching implications.”
Fernando A. Bernardo, then Deputy Minister of Education, during his report to the Educators Congress in 1985, noticed the poor quality of research in the country when in the MECS (now DECS) itself, out of 1,083 positions, 453 or 42 percent were research items. He also pointed out that because of ministry decisions that were handed down without benefit of research or pilot studies, the MECS had been subjected to “fiascos or embarrassing situations.” Examples that brought all these were failure of the continuous progression scheme, the poor performance of barangay high schools, failure of the MATEA (Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Agriculture) and MATVE (Master of Arts in Teaching Vocational Education) programs, etc.
The point is if national educational programs are implemented without benefit of research or pilot studies, so it follows that the policies that justified or paved the way for the implementation of these programs were formulated without benefit of undergoing thorough analysis and evaluation.
A quick examination of schools policies, or for that matter DECS “policies” which are actually directives, orders or memoranda, will show that these are issued as fast as they are written. In fact, standards and policies can just be changed at the stroke of Secretary’s pen. A trivial but good example is MECS Order No. 28, s. 1984 which amended MECS Order No. 7, s. 1982 (Policies and Standards for Graduate Education), dated May 17, 1984. The question is can the MECS Minister simply by the stroke if his pen amends “policies and standards for graduate education”? If a policy is to be amended, would this not involve those who are supposed to be affected by them? As commonly observed, the involvement here, if any, could go only as far but not beyond study committees or task forces. Work is usually confined to office or paper work after a few review or brainstorming sessions. The committee’s or task force’s recommendations are then submitted to the Education Secretary for action. In most cases, memorandums or directives are already prepared for the Secretary’s signature.
This is no different from making big decisions based on survey data. For example, in the May 27, 1987 memorandum of the DECS Secretary, all tertiary schools in the country were required to submit, within two weeks, data on curricular instructions, students, etc., of each school covering the periods 1982-1987. The purpose of the memo as stated was:
The generated data and information from all tertiary schools in the country are essential especially to the formulation of policy decisions and recommendations specifically in higher education.
The problem is who makes the policy decisions and recommendations?
The issuance of policies or their revocation goes so fast, in fact, that sometimes there is a general feeling that policies are issued as if...