INNOTECH facilitates FGD on Multigrade Program in Philippine Education
Under the tripartite project of the Department of Education (DepEd), SEAMEO INNOTECH and UNICEF entitled, Technical Support to Multigrade Program in the Philippine Education (TS-MPPE), selected schools divisions multigrade coordinators/focal persons, teachers, and school heads in Luzon participated in a back-to-back two-day focus group discussion (FGD)s held at SEAMEO INNOTECH last 8-9 May 2017 for the Southern Luzon cluster and 11-12 May 2017 for the Northern Luzon cluster. Their contributions during the FGDs will form part of the projects’ invaluable inputs to the DepEd’s policy formulation, program improvement and potential scaling up of MPPE. FGDs for Visayas and Mindanao are set to happen around June and July this year, respectively.
The TS-MPPE project aims to determine the effectiveness of multigrade education as an alternative delivery modality to improve access to quality of education for all learners. In the Philippine public school system, if a class does not meet the minimum required number of enrollees and therefore it is not viable to conduct a class of limited number of pupils, the supposed enrollees are merged into a single class and taught by one teacher. This means that children with different developmental levels, abilities, and needs are mixed in a class and learn together under the guidance of one teacher. According to DepEd, a class with multiple grade levels conducted in one classroom and handled by a single teacher is called a multigrade or multilevel class. The multigrade learning system makes the learning experience inclusive to as many sectors because it is open to all learners who belong to isolated and financially challenged communities, are indigenous peoples, and reside in remote areas, mountains and islands where schools are far apart. Through multigrade teaching, more and more children in underserved communities are gaining access to learning opportunities.
The FGD activity is part of the data gathering phase of the project’s first component, the MPPE program review. This component focuses on assessing multigrade education as a strategy to democratize and widen access to quality education for marginalized communities. Keeping this in mind, the FGD revolved on reviewing the MPPE as a delivery mode and its effectiveness in addressing the learner’s diverse needs. Other data gathering activities under this component include a survey of 161 schools divisions and more than 7,000 multigrade schools, and case study on good practices in multigrade teaching.
Aside from the review of the multigrade education program, the TS-MPPE project also includes the development of a set of quality assurance monitoring and assessment tools on MPPE and capacity building for DepEd MPPE supervisors in using these tools. This tripartite project which started in February 2017, will be carried out for eighteen months and is expected to conclude in August 2018.