VP Duterte cites Malaysia’s educational strategies

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte peers through an electron microscope during her visit to the SEAMEO TROPMED laboratory in Selangor, Malaysia on 13 February 2024. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SEAMEO TROPMED NETWORK MALAYSIA

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said the Philippines wants to learn from Malaysia’s successful educational strategies and is open to forging new areas of cooperation and collaboration with the neighboring country.

Duterte made the remarks during her visit to the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization’s Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network in Selangor on 13 February with the aim of strengthening ties in education, science, and culture between the two countries.

“We are here to explore the initiatives of the Malaysian Ministry of Education and the SEAMEO Centers, notably SEAMEO RECSAM, SEAMEO SEN, and SEAMEO TROPMED Malaysia. Each center’s contributions to shaping inclusive education and tackling unique country-specific as well as regional challenges are invaluable,” she said in her speech, referring to Regional Center for Education in Science and Mathematics and Special Educational Needs.

Duterte congratulated SEAMEO RECSAM for its forward-thinking science and mathematics programs, like the Space Education Hub and the upcoming Makerspace, envisioned to be a hub for creativity and hands-on learning, noting that these efforts are vital in nurturing future scientists and critical thinkers.

“Thank you for your commitment to teaching and learning science and mathematics through practical, experiential education,” she said.

The DepEd chief expressed her gratitude to SEAMEO SEN for championing inclusive education, to ensure every child receives quality learning opportunities.

“We always go back to the heart of our vision, which is the learners and all of them. Inclusivity in education is not just a goal but a fundamental right for every child,” she said.

Duterte thanked SEAMEO SEN for providing training courses, research studies, and technical assistance to SEAMEO member countries.

“I also look forward to learning more about the Inclusive Open Educational Resources initiatives, which is particularly promising for enhancing disability-inclusive educational resources and materials,” she said.

The Vice President also expressed gratitude to SEAMEO TROPMED Malaysia for providing scholarships and trainings in Southeast Asia, particularly on microbiology, parasitology and entomology.

“Your initiatives that weave together education and health are not only timely but essential, addressing the core needs of our society at a moment when the synergy between learning and well-being has never been more pivotal. This approach sets a precedent for how we can build resilient communities prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow,” she said.

“The One Health Initiative by the TROPMED Network exemplifies the critical need to grasp and tackle health matters in the face of emerging societal challenges. Your specialized knowledge not only enhances the well-being of your nation but also casts a positive ripple effect across our entire region. This collaborative effort is a testament to how education and health, when interlinked, can create robust societies equipped for the evolving demands of our global community,” the DepEd chief added.

According to Duterte, SEAMEO offers valuable insights for the Philippines in the implementation of the MATATAG agenda and basic education curriculum.

“Making the curriculum relevant is one of our thrusts, and the lessons on science and math teaching from RECSAM can help us achieve this,” she said.

“Further, we will also learn from SEAMEO SEN’s inclusion programs on how to ensure the well-being of all our learners. TROPMED Malaysia’s initiative will help support the health of our learners and teachers, and establish a safe and healthy learning environment for them,” she added.