Educator. Campus journalism enthusiast. Global citizenship advocate.

by Noemi Baysa

The Department of Education – International Cooperation Office (DepEd-ICO) and the Korea-Philippines Teacher Exchange Programme (KPTEP) Alumni Association conducted on October 30, 2020 the 4th Annual Forum on Teacher Exchange towards Global Citizenship Education with the theme, “GCED in Action: Innovation and Solidarity in Responding to Global Disruption.”

Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is one of the strategic areas of UNESCO’s Education Sector program for the period 2014-2021.  GCED is guided by the Education 2030 Agenda and Framework for Action, notably Target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4 on Education), which calls on countries to “ensure that all learners are provided with the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”

With the objective of promoting GCED and revitalizing teacher education, the forum gathered via Zoom and DepEd-ICO FB Page officials from the Department of Education, representatives from the Korean Ministry of Education, officials from UNESCO, delegates of Korea-Philippines Teacher Exchange Programme from 2012-2019, relevant stakeholders, and GCED advocates.

The three-hour forum featured messages from Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO; Lim Hyun Mook, Director, Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU); Jesus Lorenzo Ruiz Mateo, DepEd Undersecretary for Planning, Human Resource and Organizational Development, and Field Operations; and Margarita Consolacion Ballesteros, Director, DepEd-ICO.

The event also showcased the re-entry application projects of the Top Three Best REAP Implementers chosen from the nominees of the regions who were all part of the Korea-Philippines Teacher Exchange Programme from 2012 to 2019 – Project AETA of Chandler Ibabao from Alem Elementary School in Apayao, PIGEON of Noemi Baysa from Malabon National High School in Malabon City, and Project PLAC of George Borromeo from Schools Division Office of Manila.

Another highlight of the activity was the panel discussion on sustainable development goals, innovation, and solidarity joined by Dr. Shabhaz Khan, Director, UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific; Hon. Bernard Dy, City Mayor, Cauyan City; Dr. Bert Tuga, President, Philippine Normal University; and Dr. Dorothy Tarol, Awardee, 2019 Metrobank Outstanding Filipino.

Mr. Danilo Osorio, President of KPTEP Alumni Association also presented the accomplishments of the organization which include the report on the 103 re-entry application projects of KPTEP alumni from 2012-2019; the participation of teachers in global activities and education forum; and the KPTEP activities for professional development of fellow educators and outreach programs for communities.

Messages from GCED leaders

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO, commended in her keynote address all teachers for their commitment, creativity and resourcefulness in adapting rapidly to help their students to continue learning. She also stressed the vital role of education for global citizenship and sustainable development to help students navigate at these times highlighting that education must guide students to think and act as global citizens to develop a sense of responsibility for our shared humanity and common planet.

The former senator of Italy also revealed that in a big global education meeting UNESCO organized a week ago, Heads of States and governments and Ministers of Education from over 70 countries and international partners who participated committed to protect education and agreed on priority actions to implement over the next year.

She added that the delegates’ commitment to support all teachers and education personnel as frontline workers imply the following:

  1. That they will attend to teachers’ well-being and mental health;
  2. That teachers are listened to, supported and empowered to make the pedagogical choices they deemed necessary in the faces of the crisis; and
  3. That they will invest on teacher-development.

Giannini also congratulated the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and UNESCO APCEIU for launching and supporting the Teacher Exchange Programme and for advocating and advancing Target 4.7. 

Lim Hyun Mook, Director of Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), echoed what he said was a powerful and touching sentiment of DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones stating that GCED can make an impact in the everyday lives of people especially [those] in difficult situations. He also announced that the 3-year GCED curriculum development project is now being carried out by the team of Dr. Bert Tuga at the Philippine Normal University and that at the end of project it is expected that GCED will be reinforced in the national curriculum of the Philippines.

The APCEIU Director also revealed that in anticipation of the pandemic still being around next year, which will affect the Teacher Exchange Programme, APCEUI is now working on a plan of creating an online platform where participating teachers of the program can exchange lessons and materials that will enable not only bilateral exchanges but also multilateral exchanges among participating countries that include Korea, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand and Vietnam. He admitted the challenge the Exchange Teachers’ community is now facing but called on everyone not to be discouraged and to instead work together to overcome the crisis.

Jesus Lorenzo Ruiz Mateo, DepEd Undersecretary for Planning, Human Resource and Organizational Development, and Field Operations, stressed that innovations and solidarity are important words to consider as we combat this crisis. He reminded the viewers about the challenge of the United Nations to address the needs of the children, people, and families thru the SDGs global movement to improve education, environment, gender, equity and health and left the message that the New Normal should be based on equality, social justice and solidarity.

In his closing speech, Usec Mateo reiterated that amidst the pandemic and conflict the essence of GCED must be kept in mind – Growth, Cooperation, Empowerment, and Discernment. He explained that when we do things to make us grow as a person and fill up the gaps and shortcomings that we have in every facet of our lives, we become active and ready to cooperate in intellectual discussion and societal talks because we feel empowered; thus, we have the sense of responsibility to empower others, yet in everything we do and say, discernment should always knock our door first, and respect and courtesy must always present ahead.

Margarita Consolacion Ballesteros, Director of DepEd-ICO, on the other hand, asked the educators to do a self-introspection using CARE – Clarity of mind, Authenticity, Resiliency, and Empathy. She pointed out that when you have clarity of the mind, you’ll know what you want, what to commit to, and where to go; hence, a clear vision. You must also be authentic, connect and reconnect our inner self and strive to move and behave according to our ingrained values and virtues. As educators and prime movers of our society, our task is daunting so we must become resilient, as pliant as the bamboo tree, willing to bend when necessary but never break in adversities. And lastly to have empathy, to take care and look after one another. Instead of building walls and creating your own islands, be sources of creating bridges to connect people and places regardless of color, faith, ethnicity, gender, age, and nationality.

She challenged everyone to become SMART – Strategize to be a better version of themselves; Maximize potential and resources, inner strength and social relationships; Activate their mindset and take care of their mental health; Respond to challenges both external and internal; and Talk and let their lives to be witnesses that they care.


Dr. Shabhaz Khan and the programmes of UNESCO-Jakarta

Dr. Shabhaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, reiterated the celebration of the 75th year of the United Nations highlighting the idea of working together to shape our future. In his presentation, he talked about what they are doing in the region how they are bringing all areas which are related to GCED for sustainable development to come together.

The Director shared that UNESCO-Jakarta supports its five cluster countries – Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Timor-Leste – in achieving SDG 4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. It also focuses on SDG 6 and 15 by protecting, restoring and promoting terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation, and halting biodiversity loss. He also presented the efforts of UNESCO-Jakarta on different areas such as Science Policy and Capacity-building, Disaster Risk Reduction, Social and Human Sciences, Communication and Information, and Culture and Heritage for Sustainable Development.

Mayor Bernard Dy and the First Smarter City in the Philippines

Hon. Bernard Dy, Mayor of Cauayan City is known for transforming his small, highly agricultural and poor city (in terms of income) to become the first Smarter City in the Philippines in March 2015 as recognized by the Department of Science and Technology in acknowledgment of its excellence in the delivery of social services through digital governance. Through the years, Mayor Dy has established partnerships with different stakeholders and agencies to strengthen their efforts on smart cities.

When UN launched the 17 SDGs, Cauayan City took the lead in localizing them to Labimpitong Hamon sa bawat Cauayeños (17 Challenges to Every Citizen of Cauayan). All plans and programs of their local government unit are aligned in the SDGs since Mayor Dy believed that small steps from LGU can greatly contribute in the achievement of the global goals.

Mayor Dy shared that it was through the collaboration among the three pillars of society – the local government unit, private sector, and civil society – that Cauayan City became successful in its endeavor to establish a smarter city. Through a video presentation, the mayor presented the city’s accomplishments in eight different aspects – smarter farming, smarter healthcare, smarter MSMEs, smarter industries, smarter jobs, smarter scientists and engineers, smarter government, and smarter climate change adaptation.

Dr. Bert Tuga and the role of HEIs in the promotion of GCED

Dr. Bert Tuga, President of the Philippine Normal University, the National Center for Teacher Education, addressed three points in the forum.

First, he pointed out that the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) play a crucial role in providing new innovations in education in the form of new programs and services, new or enhanced modalities of delivering existing programs, new technologies, and new solutions to old and emerging issues and problems. HEIs have the manpower and facilities to implement innovations under the spirit of partnership, service and collaboration.

In his second point, he mentioned that there is a need to give emphasis on the teaching of universally accepted values amidst the increasingly diverse environment as figured by digital technology and the rise of social media. He stressed that this is the most relevant time to cultivate or nurture solidarity, respect for diversity and common humanity which are the core values of GCED. He added that the teaching of global digital citizenship should be considered seriously in the curriculum to develop digital competencies and digital ethics among the learners since it is imperative that schools prepare learners to become responsible, ethical and proactive users of digital technology.

In his third point, Dr. Tuga emphasized how PNU is a strong advocate of GCED in the Philippines and in Asia and that prior to the pandemic, the institution has had many efforts integrating GCED in the teacher-education curriculum along with GCED-related training programs involving faculty members of other Teacher Education Institutions and Basic Education teachers. Currently they are working with DepEd and APCEIU in the development and integration of GCED in the basic education curriculum. All efforts will be consolidated and they’d formalize their attempt to integrate GCED in teacher-education curriculum. By doing so, would-be teachers will be equipped with content knowledge and pedagogy in teaching and integrating GCED across all levels and subjects.

Dr. Dorothy Tarol and her commitment to inclusive education

Dr. Dorothy Tarol, a Master Teacher II at SPED Integrated School for Exceptional Children in Iloilo City, has shown resiliency and has bounced back after losing her hearing, believing that she was called by God for a purpose. Being an outstanding Filipino with deafness, Dr. Tarol admitted that her own disability has empowered her since it made her understand the life of persons with disabilities.

Seeing the struggles and sufferings that children with impairment had to go through, she put all her heart to transform them and help them become better persons. She committed herself to help these children whom she called as the lost, the least and the outcast.

Through her Ang Pagbasa, May Pag-asa Program [In Reading, There is Hope], Dr. Tarol served the children with disabilities to invoke confidence among them through education, believing that it will give them hope.

Dr. Tarol selflessly shared in the forum her Ang Pagbasa, May Pag-asa Program, an innovative instructional strategy which was an offshoot of an action research that she has done investigating the effects of Buddy-Mediated Instruction in spelling and socialization skills of kindergarten pupils with prelingually severe to profound hearing loss.

The 2019 Metrobank Outstanding Filipino awardee also noted that the program helped achieve encompassing sustainable development goal, target 4.7 which is to acquire the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, to serve her fellow teachers by sharing the output of her research so that it can be one of the best practices to contribute to the promotion of GCED on collaboration and multi-solidarity and the emergent literacy of the deaf who are diverse and multilingual population.

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