Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 24) — Former head of the Department of Education Bro. Armin Luistro has given his two cents’ worth to how the next Education secretary should deal with the job at hand: Lend one’s ears to education experts.
By that he means that presumptive vice president and incoming Department of Education Secretary Sara Duterte should listen to education experts on the ground to better identify the needs and priorities of the country’s educational system.
“My recommendation is to listen to the education experts on the ground. They will be able to share with the new DepEd secretary that on the ground (where) there are a lot of needs and priorities that are really more important than just the militarization of our schools, so to speak,” Bro. Armin Luistro, who’s now Secretary General of the La Sallian Brothers, told CNN Philippines’ The Final Word on Tuesday night when asked about Duterte’s possible plans on making the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program mandatory in schools.
However, Bro. Luistro said he will not close doors on that matter, especially if it would be directed toward high school students tutoring struggling fellow students.
“But I will not close the door on that, especially if that is ordered towards, let’s say, why not senior high school students teaching, tutoring struggling students? So even that, if you tweak it a little, can actually be an important contribution to the educational needs of the country,” Luistro said.
He also advised to prioritize the needs of schools that are farthest such as remote schools, last-mile schools, and children who are unable to go to school by themselves, citing that if Duterte starts on that, the rest of the educational system will be transformed in no time.
When it comes to hearsays that Duterte might pursue anti-student programs and historical distortion, especially about the martial law period under the new administration, Luistro said Filipinos should give her “some space” and provide an opportunity for teachers and students to express their concerns to her.
“I would give her some space to just get to know, and warm her seat (and) listen to the real needs of teachers and students. I think some of these initial pronouncements can change drastically when one listens to those on the ground, the grassroots, are saying to us. And let’s provide some opportunity for the teachers and the students to dialogue with her.” he said.
Luistro, who has worked under the administration of the late former president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III, shared that he had also been bombarded with several controversies on his first day in the education department.
“I think over time, she’ll be able to recognize that the needs are real. And it’s simple you need to just provide that opportunity where you affirm them. And people most of the time respond to that,” he added.