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Can PHL just adopt Singapore’s curriculum? No, says DepEd chief

Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Tuesday said that while the Philippines aims to further improve its basic education curriculum, it cannot simply copy and adopt the educational program of other excelling countries such as Singapore.

"We look at how they do things but at the same time, we have to consider our own history, our own culture," Briones said after the idea was proposed during her interview on ANC television.

"We also insist on a balanced approach to education because that's part of growing up, otherwise you will have robots," she added.

Briones said that while some parents are enrolling their kids to educational institutions that offer Singaporean methods in Mathematics, the DepEd also holds the "Math Sayaw" competition in schools nationwide where complex Math concepts are sang and danced to by the children.

"Students tend to absorb concepts so much faster when it is integrated into culture," she added.

The Philippines ranked second to the lowest in Math and Science out of the 79 countries that took the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It is also the lowest in reading comprehension.

Singapore, on the other hand, ranked second best in the said assessment, next to China.

The DepEd earlier explained that the Philippines participated in PISA for the first time to establish a baseline in relation to global standards.

Briones underscored that the schools' curriculum must be reviewed and developed every now and then because "knowledge is changing."

"We have to continually review the curriculum in terms of relevant... the pedagogy, the way teachers are teaching their children. We don't have to teach them to get data because they can get data from the Internet. We have to teach them how to process the data," she said.

"We are in a sense leveling up our curriculum in Science and Math but we do not forget the cultural and historical aspects of also being Filipinos," she added.

Improving access to facilities and upskilling the teachers are also crucial in paving the way for quality education, according to Briones. — Dona Magsino/RSJ, GMA News